To Recruit Millennials, Understand Them as Customers

By David Nour

In the January issue of Construction Today, Anne Edwards-Cotter challenged our industry to reach out to young people and introduce them to careers in construction. I submit the place to begin is to understand them as customers before approaching them as future employees. Understand the Millennial Mindset Millennials don’t buy — or buy in — like previous generations did. For that reason we must deeply understand the Millennial mindset. Your survival depends on catering to the next generation, whose buying experience is driven by three factors:

  1. Brand affinity: Facts and attributes they discover in the news and social media.
  2. Marketing campaigns: Advertising, marketing, and sponsorships that reinforce the brand affinity.
  3. Value proposition: Pain relievers or gain creators deliverED through products and services.

Millennials are technology-dependent. They expect realtime access 24/7. They are accustomed to to customizING their experiences and purchases. Millennials are asking: Is your offering designed around how I roll? Are you accessible? Will you simplify my life? Your future depends on optimizing your construction-industry business to meet Millennials’ expectations.

The Customer Journey Is an Infinite Loop

Fundamentally, customers pass through six stages in an infinite loop. First comes awareness, typically through recommendations, and some sort of online search. That leads to discovery, resulting in a list of options. Then buyers go through evaluation: Given who I am, my past experiences, my current circumstances, my future aspirations, which of these options is best? This journey leads to a purchase, which in turn leads to usage. As purchasers use the solution, they also come back to evaluation. Either, “that failed, try again,” or “Okay, what do I need next to enhance my experience?” Like the infinity symbol, they keep tracing a loop leading to purchase, followed by a loop leading to wanting more, with  the evaluation at the center of the journey. If and when all this goes well, then buyers share those positive sentiments with others. And that is the key to igniting passion for the construction industry in the Millennial generation.

Embracing Construction Careers

What do Millennials need to know, feel, or experience to embrace construction careers? The answer rests on the buying experience. You have to create experiences that lead to brand affinity: “Hey, this is a really cool, look at the stuff I can do in construction!” Market with on-site recruiting trips to high schools, and informal or formal mentoring programs. Design a value proposition that reflects the pain relievers or gain creators of tomorrow’s job seekers. These three factors give Millennials a new lens to perceive what they could accomplish, a glimpse into how construction could fit their career aspirations. Our challenge is fundamentally to sell individuals on great careers in the construction industry; to succeed we must understand our buyers. When we prepare for Millennials as customers we’ll find it much easier to develop them as our future workforce.

Takeaways

1. Optimize your construction industry company for Millennials as customers before approaching them as future employees.

2. The customer journey is an infinite loop of awareness, discovery, evaluation, purchase, usage, and again, evaluation. Create outstanding loops to ignite Millennials’ passion for the construction industry.

3. Millennials will more readily buy into construction careers when the brand, marketing, and value proposition of the industry meets their mindset.

David Nour is an enterprise growth strategist and the thought leader on Relationship Economics® —the quantifiable value of business relationships. He is the author of several books including the best selling "Relationship Economics— Revised" (Wiley), "ConnectAbility" (McGraw-Hill), "The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital" (Praeger) and "Return on Impact — Leadership Strategies for the age of Connected Relationships" (ASAE). Learn more at www.NourGroup.com. David may be reached at [email protected].

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact [email protected] or [email protected].  

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