Millennial expert offers advice to Carson City Chamber of Commerce members |

Millennial expert offers advice to Carson City Chamber of Commerce members

Millennials are in debt, value experiences over possessions and use their cell phones. A lot.

That’s a few of the key attributes to remember about the generation of people born between roughly 1982 and 2004 if your company wants to sell to or employ them, said Mike Brooks, founder and president,, a business trends consultant.

“Millennials can be looked at as the shiny new object,” said Brooks, speaking at the Carson City of Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon Wednesday at the Gold Dust West. “Everyone is chasing the shiny object.”

Right now, Brooks said it might be smarter to stick with targeting boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, who still command 70 percent of all disposable income, as well as Generation X, the generation in between Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Millennials, on the other hand, are a trillion dollars in debt and 18 percent of their income on average goes to student loan payments.

But Brooks said keep an eye on them because they also will spend $10 trillion over their lifetimes.

“How do you reach Millennials?” said Brooks. “Social media.”

He said Millennials don’t use email much, except for important things like college and job applications.

And their tastes in social media vary. Brooks said younger Millennials have gravitated to Instagram, a photo sharing site, and Snapchat, an image messaging application, and no longer use Facebook.

What message appeals to Millennials?

“They prefer experiences over stuff,” said Brooks. “They love to travel, they love to go to restaurants, they love to be in groups, they love connection, love to be together.”

Millennials also are price conscious, he said, and value quality over quantity and want to buy from local businesses and companies that contribute more to society than new products.

Toms Shoes is a popular example of the latter, he said.

“When you buy a pair of shoes from them a kid in the third world gets a pair of shoes too,” said Brooks.

It’s important to employ Millennials if you want to keep up with fast-changing trends.

But don’t be surprised when they conduct business differently.

“I once worked for a company and the CEO came to me and said ‘They’re all on their phones, we have to stop this,’” said Brooks.

Brooks said Millennials communicate via text messaging, even to interact with clients, and employers should measure results rather than monitor methods.

Still, Millennials aren’t the easiest employees to keep because they change jobs every few years in search of new skills to learn, Brooks said.

“In summary, debt is a drag for Millennials. We have an entire generation mired in debt and starting out life that way,” he said. “And the big thing is they want experiences, not stuff.”