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Millennials are the Future of Your Society – Whether You Like it or Not…

millennials 1

We all spend a good bit of time – and rightly so – thinking about the future of our individual societies and the fraternal system.  It all boils down to this: we’ve got to attract more new (and ideally younger) consumers to become fraternal members – people that purchase insurance, utilize member benefits, and support community service activities – than the current members that are passing away (or whose policies are fully paid).  And that means appealing to millennials – one of the most sought after and misunderstood demographic sectors in the history of marketing.

What do we know about the generation of young adults born after 1980?  They are the most educated generation this country has ever known.  Partly as a result of that education, many of them are burdened with enormous debt from college loans.  Think of being 22 years old and having a $100,000 mortgage – but no equity in a home that you may eventually own?  Think that affects your purchasing power?  You bet.  Even with the economic recovery, these folks are having a tough time finding jobs.  This may be the first generation to live an “altered” American Dream: many think they’ll be lucky to do as well as their parents, while few expect to actually be able to “do a little better” than mom and dad.

millennials- 2Research indicates that all these factors are contributing to millennials seeking “happiness” rather targeted income levels.  They want careers that make them happy – allowing them to make a difference in their communities – and they are more willing to purchase products and services from companies that make others happy.  Anyone think that sounds like the fraternal business model?

So that’s the good news.  There is a whole new crop of consumers in this country who – for a variety of external and internal environmental factors – should be right in our sweet spot.  The bad news is that we’ve got to act fast to get them because other financial services providers (have you noticed the “giving back” and “mutuality” messages coming through just about every bank and insurance company ad you’ve seen in the last six months) think they’ve discovered the “secret formula” for attracting newer, younger consumers, too.

Over the past few months, the Alliance has been conducting research on millennials and I’ll be using my blog to share tidbits of this information with you over the coming weeks.  A full rollout of the results – along with suggestions as to how you can put this information to work in your societies – will take place at the upcoming Mid-Year Meetings, starting with the Fraternal and Communications Section Meeting in early April. (Click here for complete details or to register.) I hope to see many of you at the Mid-Years.  But more importantly, I hope you’ll appreciate the value of the research that the Alliance is providing members and use it to help your organizations become sustainable businesses for many more generations to come.

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