New Study Finds Mil­len­ni­als Are Ac­tu­ally Ob­sessed With Email

ForbesWeekly - - NEWS - BY WES GAY, FORBES CON­TRIB­U­TOR FOL­LOW WES GAY AT www.forbes.com/sites/wes­gay

Com­pa­nies spend bil­lions of dol­lars ev­ery year in mar­ket­ing to mil­len­ni­als. This gen­er­a­tion rep­re­sents hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in an­nual spend­ing power, and the mas­sive size means it has for­ever shaped the Amer­i­can work­place.

Com­pa­nies who want to win this gen­er­a­tion must know how to com­mu­ni­cate to them well, but many strug­gle to do it ef­fec­tively. They turn to new trends like Face­book Mes­sen­ger bots and view them as a way to “fi­nally” con­nect with this gen­er­a­tion of con­sumers.

Yet con­nect­ing with mil­len­ni­als is as sim­ple as email. In Adobe’s lat­est re­port, the Adobe Email Con­sumer Sur­vey, they dis­cov­ered some in­ter­est­ing trends re­gard­ing email and to­day’s con­sumers. While the data cov­ers all gen­er­a­tions, they dis­cov­ered some trends that are par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing for business lead­ers trying to reach mil­len­ni­als.

Why is this im­por­tant for busi­nesses of all sizes? Reach­ing this gen­er­a­tion is crit­i­cal for the long-term suc­cess of ev­ery com­pany. Con­nect­ing with mil­len­ni­als re­quires a strat­egy that works, one that’s proven to con­sis­tently en­gage peo­ple in a way they pre­fer. This sur­vey re­in­forces a truth that has been proven right count­less times: email is an over­whelm­ingly pow­er­ful way to win this gen­er­a­tion.

Here are five in­sights com­pa­nies can use to bet­ter con­nect with con­sumers and em­ploy­ees:

1. Mil­len­ni­als pre­fer to be reached by email for work.

The sur­vey cov­ered mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels, like email, meet­ings, and even IM plat­forms like Slack, when ask­ing how peo­ple like to com­mu­ni­cate at work. A sur­pris­ing one-third of mil­len­ni­als pre­fer email for work com­mu­ni­ca­tion, as op­posed to phone calls, IM, and video. What was more sur­pris­ing was the level of pref­er­ence of email over tools like Slack. While this chan­nel is in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in the work­place, it still falls far be­hind email in work­place pref­er­ence.

2. This gen­er­a­tion is ob­sessed.

Mil­len­ni­als are, sur­pris­ingly, ob­sessed with email. More than half of mil­len­ni­als ages 18 to 24 check their email while still in bed in the morn­ing, and 43% of mil­len­ni­als ages 25 to 34 re­port do­ing the same thing. Mil­len­ni­als are also the least likely to not check email un­til they get into the of­fice. Mil­len­ni­als ages 25 to 34 are far more likely than ev­ery other age group to check email dur­ing other sit­u­a­tions like watch­ing TV or even on va­ca­tion. There is more con­ver­sa­tion about the chase for work/ life bal­ance among the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion, but it seems many still seem to strug­gle with their in­box in this pur­suit.

3. Email can be an­noy­ing.

Thirty-four per­cent of re­spon­dents say they are most an­noyed by brand emails when they send prod­ucts or ser­vices that are ir­rel­e­vant to them. Mil­len­ni­als are a tech­no­log­i­cally savvy gen­er­a­tion, so we know that things like an­a­lyt­ics and data track­ing are hap­pen­ing to us when we surf on­line. Get­ting ir­rel­e­vant and un­help­ful con­tent from a brand is a trig­ger that they’re not pay­ing at­ten­tion. That is the sin­gle most an­noy­ing thing of emails, al­most dou­ble the an­noy­ance of get­ting your name wrong.

4. Email isn’t a mag­i­cal fix.

Less than one-third of all mar­ket­ing emails are opened by mil­len­ni­als. While email is an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful tool, it’s not just a box to check off in your mar­ket­ing strat­egy. When I work with brands ev­ery day on com­mu­ni­cat­ing a clear mes­sage, we spend a lot of time craft­ing the emails. Be­cause email is so im­por­tant, we must work really hard to cre­ate and com­mu­ni­cate a clear mes­sage about how the prod­uct or ser­vices im­pacts the life of the reader. If brands want to use email ef­fec­tively, they must make sure the con­tent is both help­ful and rel­e­vant.

5. More mil­len­ni­als are check­ing their email on desk­top than mo­bile.

Per­haps the most sur­pris­ing stat for me to read was the num­ber of mil­len­ni­als who checked their email on their desk­top over their smart­phone. Just over half of mil­len­ni­als say their com­puter is the pri­mary de­vice for check­ing email, with the smart­phone fall­ing be­low the half­way point. This trend seems to point back to the work/ life bal­ance con­ver­sa­tion. Mo­bile is a great way to see email mes­sages, but more peo­ple pre­fer to process and act on emails from their com­puter.

These are just some of the stats found in the 46-page sur­vey avail­able from Adobe Un­der­stand­ing the power of email in 2017 is cru­cial for busi­nesses who want to win mil­len­ni­als, both as con­sumers and as em­ploy­ees. This is not sim­ply some­thing to avoid or some­thing to just put in a bul­let list. Rather, this is a crit­i­cal tool for grow­ing and scal­ing any business.

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