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NAA Student Housing Wrap-Up: Marketing to the Wired and Inspired Generation

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indexSo, you think you know Millennials? Think again.

The G5 conference crew just returned from the 2013 NAA Student Housing Conference, where keynote speaker Michael Wood of youth research firm TRU Insights shared several research-based revelations about the always-on generation. Some of the findings were surprising.

Millennials are a far cry from the rebel yell of Generation X. Events like 9/11, the Great Recession and an understanding of global warming have made them long for stability and strong relationships over excess, recklessness and overspending. They are more frugal, seeking value and financial security. In fact, 67 percent of 20-somethings and 63 percent of teens would prefer to have a secure life that's not exciting over an exciting life that's not secure.

Millennials are also the most environmentally conscious generation thus far, and promote diversity and inclusivity. In short, they’re not the “wild youth” of generations past.

So, how do you manage the digital experience for the wired and inspired generation? Here are a few tips:

Manage your online reputation. Millennials want to know they’re making prudent decisions, and are looking at online reviews as a source of validation and security when they pick a place to live. Now that reviews are now appearing side by side with your listing on search engines, you could lose a significant number of leads if you’re not taking ownership of what’s being said about your properties online.

Think responsive.  Millennials expect a seamless, smooth experience with your website every time they visit it, from whatever device they’re using. They’re also looking for the same information in the same place. Responsive design websites ensure that the experience is consistent and user-friendly on every device. This positive digital experience should be a reflection (if not a preview) of the enjoyable experience they will have living at your property.

Be authentic. Millennials value relationships and authenticity. They also need to trust you. Make sure your website communicates an authentic and valuable relationship. Consider leveraging your presence on social media sites like Google+, Twitter and Facebook to engage residents in transparent discussions about your properties. Listen and respond to expressed concerns with practical solutions. If you’re involved in social causes, invite your residents to join you and change the world together.

Millenials are 800 million strong, and they’re a generation with a purpose. They’re not just wired – they’re inspired. If you want to capture these residents, make sure you’re inspiring them at every digital touchpoint.

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