There has been a lot of noise about millennials lately. How to hire, how to keep, how to market to them, what they like, what they don’t like. Ready or not, their influence as consumers and as employees is growing in power. According to Forbes, there are millions of millennials in America, and they represent about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power. So how are they, as consumers, affecting the estimated $15 trillion dollar commercial real estate (CRE) industry? How can CRE make sure it’s not just reaching millennials but actually grabbing their (sometimes short) attention?
First, who are millennials? There are hundreds of definitions out there, but many have overlapping themes. A millennial is someone born between the 1980’s to the early 2000’s who grew up as technology began to explode and pervade daily life. This resulted in some defining characteristics of millennials as consumers. And to be fully candid, I am one.
1) Millennials go to the internet first, typically on their phones. SDL released a study that says millennials touch our smartphone 45 times a day and that five out of six millennials connect with brands via social media. Millennials discover the bulk of their information online as “customizable news feed sites [like Twitter] surpass traditional news sites and e-mail for content discovery.”
2) Millennials value transparency. As millennials grew up with the internet, we became the first generation to have unlimited access to information. Encyclopedia Britannicas were relegated to the back of the library and term papers were written based on free search results from Google and Wikipedia. This has shaped and molded our desire and demand for authenticity, honesty, and transparency from our employers as well as the brands we interact with.
3) Millennials expect things on-demand and in real-time. I had a roommate who never went to the grocery store. Never. Food was either Favored or grabbed from the nearby restaurants. He ordered toilet paper and other necessities from Amazon. When Amazon Prime came online, he was one of the first to sign up. The day Amazon PrimeNow was launched in Austin, I saw tears of joy in his eyes. Toilet paper can now be delivered in two hours, but that still isn’t fast enough for my friend.
4) Millennials want information in easy-to-digest formats. A big impact that technology, especially mobile, has on millennials is how we read, learn, and digest information. Vibe Concepts talks about how millennials have the propensity to digest information in bite-sized portions by scrolling through feeds on our phones. Listicles (yes, that’s now a word) and other visual representations are the order of the day, according to Vibe.
So how can CRE set themselves up to attract and connect with the millennials who are becoming the decision makers and consumers of their buildings. How do millennials want to find and process information when it comes to commercial real estate?
1) You have to be found on the internet. Your brand, your buildings, your brokers need to be on the internet. And you have to be found across multiple channels on the internet. How do you do that?
2) Embrace transparency through open-data. Open-data can be a scary word in this industry. Let’s be clear that there is certain commercial real estate information – proprietary information – that deserves to stay hidden. But basic availability information needs to make it out of closed data systems. Guess what Google and millennials have in common? They both want transparency and data they can find. With an open-data platform like RealMassive, it’s not necessary for millennials to come directly to our site to find commercial real estate. We help your spaces make it out to more places because we believe in the power of open-data, so when that millennial CEO of a growing startup is googling for commercial space, he finds your space or your broker page not just on the first page of results, but channels like Twitter or in a local newsletter like StartupDigest.
3) Make changes in real-time. Real-time has definitely become a buzzword over the past few years. It’s touched almost every industry, as well as become an expectation of millennials consumers. As millennials continue to command greater purchasing power, we are going to demand real-time information. Quarterly reports will have to become a thing of the past as using numbers from end of Q2 while you’re multiple weeks into Q3 will not impress millennials. When a brokerage firm takes back control of their listings from third-party data platforms, they can and should update listings as changes happen. As data is shared faster than ever, having control and making changes ensures millennials are seeing the most accurate, real-time listings, something they’ll appreciate.
4) Format your availabilities, brokers, and brand to grab millennial attention. For some fast general tips, take a look at “How to Optimize Your Listing in 5 Easy Steps” from marketing pro and RealMassive CXM, Brittany Omansky. If trying to better connect with a millennial audience, how should you optimize? Animoto gathered data about the power of video marketing and found that 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product then read about it. A further study found that 80% of millennials consider video content when researching a purchase decision. Drone footage is a great way to showcase your property to millennials in a quick, visual way. Take a look at the video for 3900 San Clemente or check out the Aerial Media package we offer here. Remember how millennials like listicles? RealMassive is constantly finding new, unique ways to showcase our partner’s data like our snapshots that grab millennial attention. These can be shared across social media as well!
Are your buildings and brokers optimally set up to command millennial attention? RealMassive is THE open marketplace for real-time access, added exposure, and dynamic insights. Let us know if you would like to learn more about adding your listings and brokers!
Or, are you a millennial in the CRE industry? Be sure to check out CRE / Tech Intersect on Thursday (3/10) – the industry’s leading symposium on emerging and innovative technologies!