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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
teri.lanza@informa.com

Making Friends With Millennials, Your Next Big Self-Storage Market

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We’ve all heard the terms: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, etc. They refer to populations of a certain generation. Me? I’m part of Generation X. My nephew and some of my friends’ kids, however, are Millennials (also known as Generation Y). There’s no hard date range to define this group, but demographers generally agree its members were born between 1977 and 1997, making them 19 to 39 years old this year.

Why should you care? Because this cohort has now surpassed even the Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, based on estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. They number approximately 75.4 million, with many of them drawn to urban centers where living and storage space are at a premium. That makes them a ripe target market for self-storage operators!

The next question is, do you know how to reach and successfully communicate with this audience? This will be key to your operation’s revenue growth over the next several decades as Millennials discover and mature into their professions, and make decisions about their lifestyle and income.

Like any group, Millennials have common qualities. Some have come under debate, but following are a few of the more universally accepted characteristics:

  • Millennials tend to be very confident. In fact, they rate high on personality tests in narcissism and demonstrate a strong sense of entitlement. There’s a reason this group is also referred to as the Me Generation! That can no-doubt lead to frustrating customer-service interactions; but at the same time, knowing this in advance gives you an edge in approaching these consumers.
  • Millennials consider wealth an important attribute, more so than Baby Boomers and even Gen Xers. On one hand, this might mean they strive toward better-paying careers and will have more disposable income, which bodes well for self-storage. They might be less willing to part with those dollars, however.
  • They are tech-savvy multi-taskers, managing many responsibilities at once. They’re also easily distracted by and intensely connected via their mobile devices and social media, so any marketing program aimed at this group must include platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. And your website MUST be mobile-friendly.
  • They desire instant gratification, so make sure you can deliver with online rentals, self-service kiosks and any other technology-related advantage that will make your rental process fast, easy and immediate.
  • Millennials require constant praise and encouragement, so consider ways to weave this into your self-storage sales presentation.
  • They desire and appreciate transparency and honesty. Your willingness to be forthright in your business dealings (again, think social media) will go a long way toward attracting this group. 

To learn more about what makes Millennials tick and how you can successfully tap into this huge market of potential renters, listen to our new podcast, “How Self-Storage Operators Can Market to Millennials.” In this free audio, Cheli Rosa, director of marketing for online-auction company StorageStuff.Bid, discusses how these customers differ from others and how you can better connect with and make more money from them.

The five-minute podcast is a teaser for a matching but more in-depth seminar Cheli will present at the next Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas, April 10-13. During her live session (10 a.m. on April 12), Cheli will reveal yet more characteristics of the Millennial mindset, disclosing what drives their buying decisions, how to establish relationships with these prospects, and how they can actually help your business.

Do you already have some experience in marketing to and doing business with Millennials? Any words of wisdom to impart? Please share your advice by clicking on the “Comments” link below.

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