Marketing to Millennials

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You Are Here:Marketing to Millennials

I recently presented to a room full of IT directors on the new demographic they need to be addressing. Millennials adopt technology faster than my dog stealing steak off the BBQ. Since I work in this space I try my best to use these technologies and at least understand what they do. I have accounts on all major Social Networking sites including Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, Friendster, LinkedIn. I also have IM accounts with MSN, Yahoo, Google; email accounts with Google, Hotmail and Yahoo; a microblogging account on Twitter; 3 real blogging accounts on Blogger. This stuff is amazing. Much of it might not appear to have any immediate benefit however forcing myself to work with each for a minimum of a week really opens my eyes. At a Microsoft Vista launch someone in the audience asked if SharePoint would be the next OS. The response…direct from the Microsoft president was…quite likely. SharePoint is Microsoft’s Enterprise CMS (Content Management System). They’ve even added social networking plugs allowing a user to have friends lists with real-time updated presence, collaboration, voip (with vendor integration), etc. The same way you can add new applications to other social networking sites, SharePoint allows you to add Outlook Web Access. This allows a single customizable interface to provide all the communications services you might need including robust file sharing, IM, voice, etc. RSS feeds provide real-time information for newly added documents, business process status, and other user’s information.
I often think it strange that today we power on a computer and after booting, the PC still doesn’t have a single usable application (I’m talking the majority of users here). We still need to double-click to open an email client, login to messaging services, open a web browser to surf the net. It seems to me a better approach is to hide all of this and autoboot into a SharePoint homepage. Imagine all those vertical markets like hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, government, education, etc where you want to limit the applications running on the PC. In fact you can even run all this on a linux platform since it’s all web based. Now you can customize a portal for any application or vertical and fully control what services that user has access to. From a single point of entry they can see status of colleagues, launch a voice call from a directory, post a broadcast message that could get pushed to mobile phones and IM clients, access shared and private file spaces, and much more.
This is powerful technology that the Millennials are already using. I’ve seen numerous reports with different numbers but one I use is 1 in 6 Millennials visits a social networking site every day. They’re used to the look and feel and customizable environment. Forget the business drivers for technology convergence, the young consumer market will push this into our businesses.
So watch out…you might laugh now but it won’t be long before we’re micro-blogging our way to doctor’s appointments and insurance quotes; elearning with collaboration and AV conferencing; and keeping our community updated regardless of whether they are using an IM client, social networking homepage, mobile phone or fully customized business front end.

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