Want to Remain Relevant? Think like a Millennial

millennials, smartphones mobile, Maybe it’s because I just had a birthday — never mind which one — but the older I get, the more it seems like young people are taking over. Then again, according to a recent article by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it may not be my imagination.

In the U.S., by 2030, Millennials will likely outnumber Baby Boomers 78 million to 56 million — and they are forming lifelong shopping preferences and habits now. [Currently accounting] for an estimated $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending, this sum will grow dramatically, for only now are the first Millennials reaching peak buying power.

For aesthetic professionals, that buying power is already showing up in cosmetic surgery statistics. According to ASAPS, patients ages 19–34 account for 52.2% of all breast augmentations, 48.8% of all butt augmentations and 47.1% of all rhinoplasties. They still lag patients ages 35–50 for total surgical procedures — 28.1% vs. 40% — but even there the gap is slowly closing.

Given the latter numbers, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d be better off directing your marketing efforts exclusively to those 35- to 50-year-old Gen Xers but you may want to reconsider that approach for two reasons. Those Millennials are not only poised to enter the life-stage that cosmetically inclined Gen Xers are exiting, their approach to technology, marketing and the “purchase journey” is influencing those who came before them and those who will come after. As BCG puts it:

In marketing, as in pop culture, Millennials are leading indicators of large-scale changes in future consumer behavior. They are influencing and accelerating shifts in consumer attitudes, spending habits, and brand perceptions and preferences among Gen-Xers and even Baby Boomers. As a result, this generational transition is ushering in the end of consumer marketing as we have long known it.

Doctor Takeaways

Millennials are the first “mobile-first” generation

As sales of desktop computers stall and smartphone purchases soar, mobile browsing will increasingly become the norm. Millennials, in particular, expect the process to be seamless and will quickly abandon sites that don’t meet their expectations. Work with your webmaster or marketing agency to ensure your practice website is mobile-friendly and test it regularly to ensure it stays that way.

Millennials turn to their peers (and strangers) for personal recommendations

Millennials didn’t invent user reviews but they’ve made them a must-have for brands. According to BazaarVoice, 84% of Millennials say that user-generated content (UGC) influences what they buy and more than half (51%) say they trust recommendations from strangers on company websites vs. 49% who trust recommendations from friends and family. Translation: Reviews build trust, trust encourages inquiries, inquiries increase the odds of turning those inquiries into new business.

Millennials don’t use their smartphones as phones

Millennials may be glued to their phones but ironically they prefer not to use them as, well, phones. In many situations, they’d rather text than talk. Such systems, of course, are rarely secure — obviously they’re better suited to administrative discussions than medical ones — but it should go without saying that being able to communicate with potential patients via their preferred channels can help turn them into actual ones.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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