Why Millennials Are Winning in Business

I’ve caught myself over the past few months becoming more and more angry with every phone call I have to answer. Why? Because robocalls and telemarketing has gotten out of control. I’ve even shared my frustration via my social media channels in true Millennial fashion with hopes that at least ONE sales person will see the post, take it to heart, and STOP CALLING ME for #&%$ sake. (Yes, this is starting off as a rant, but I swear there will be a point to it all… keep reading =P!) (8 minute read)

Each and every time I receive a robocall or telemarketing call (usually from someone with an accent indicating they are located in an entirely different country), not only do I block that number preventing that number from ever calling me again, but I also start to deeply reflect on the possible conversation had between the “higher-ups” who decided that old school telemarketing was DEFINITELY the most effective approach to market their product or service in 2018.

Yes, this article has started out very bitter, but let’s be honest… we are all tired of the endless robo and telemarketing calls. Am I wrong? Just keep reading…

If you think about it, marketers/entrepreneurs can learn a think or two from “The Wolf of Wall Street” staring Leonardo DiCaprio. Essentially, the movie depicts what happens when the desire for entrepreneurial success is not supported by concern for the greater good of the customer. After it’s all said and done, the success of DiCaprio’s character, Jordan Beltfort, suffered due to his lack of disregard for his user’s experience. If he would have put his entrepreneurial passions towards the greater good, he could have provided lasting value for both himself and his customers. But instead, he was too hungry to make a sale, regardless of if it was right for his customer/user or not.

I know, I know… the title mentioned Millennials winning at business… I’m sure you’re wondering when we are going to get to that. Well, here ya go…

Over the past few years, more and more companies who are either founded by Millennials or whose target audience is Millennial-focused have found success by providing a better customer/user experience than their competitors. Whether that better experience is making their customer feel good about their purchase, ensuring a stress-free shopping experience, or simply communicating with their customers their preferred way, it’s clear that in 2018… not everything is about money and sales… and Millennials understand that.

Smart companies and entrepreneurs understand the value of an experience. If your target audience is over 50 years old, odds are, they are probably more likely to answer their phone and actually hear what a sales person has to say. But as an almost 30-year-old, if you call me, the odds of me answering the phone are about a 1 in 10 chance (just ask my mom). However, if you shoot me an email or text, my response time is about 99% quicker… and I’ll actually read your message and hear what you have to say. Plus, those companies that call me instead of emailing me end up on my “I will never do business with them… I hate them” list.

Below are a few things you can learn from lovers of user experience (a.k.a. Millennials) and from a master of business like Jordan Belfort:

Know Your Target Audience

If you’ve ever seen “The Wolf of Wall Street,” you will know that Jordan Belfort’s success was built on one big idea… stocks. But, he didn’t focus on selling ALL stocks. Belfort focused on the wealthiest 1% and sold the types of stocks those people would be interested in… which just happened to be shares of companies. This tactic shows the importance of specialization and knowing your audience. By identifying his ideal customer (and not trying to appeal to everyone), Belfort made a fortune.

JetBlue is a great example of a company who really know their target audience… and it shows… because their company is CRUSHING IT. Generally, JetBlue flyers are lower-budget travelers who want a great experience, but yet… also be affordable. These flyers are typically a younger audience. So, rather than JetBlue setting up robocalls to encourage people to use their services, they reach out to their target audience via social media due to their customers expecting a quick response rate from the company. They also use terminology like “Flying Like a Boss” that makes their users feel at home. This in return provides an excellent user experience.

Lesson Learned: Don’t market a sugar dish to a 25 year-old, and don’t market a trendy pair of sunglasses to a 90-year-old. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

Create a Solution

Throughout my Masters program at the University of Georgia, we had a common slogan, “Make Something Work, Then Make Something Work Better.” Period. That simple. Millennials with the entrepreneur spirit understand slogan more than anyone. Just because something has already “been thought of,” doesn’t mean that it can be made better… prime example: Facebook.

MySpace was targeted at the same audience, had robust capability, and was to market long before Facebook. By almost all ways we look at modern start-ups, MySpace was the early winner and should have gone on to great glory. But things didn’t turn out that way. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg made something work better.

Facebook could have died, but, the brilliance of Mark Zuckerberg, his dedication to user experience (in true Millennial fashion), and his willingness to allow Facebook to go wherever the market wanted it (Farmville and other social games – why not? Different ways to find potential friends – go for it), Facebook kept pushing the platform to do anything users wanted.

Millennials understand that customers want a great experience and want to feel good about the product or service they are supporting. That’s why companies like Facebook, Google, Lyft, Apple and Yeti have been son successful… and quite frankly their success driven by Millennials (in my opinion at least).

In marketing and sales, there’s a concept known as the “starving crowd.” In other words, it’s much easier to sell to someone who is desperate for a solution. In the “Wolf of Wall Street,” movie, Belfort says, “At a certain point, one of the questions I always ask is, ‘What is your greatest headache right now?'”

Lesson Learned: Create more products/solutions that solve problems. If your customer isn’t in need of your product/service, it’s not going to be as easy to make the sell. The more you understand your customer’s pain/need, the easier it will be to sell your product that just happens to solve their problems.

Don’t Give Up

If you’ve seen the “Wolf of Wall Street” (and after all of these references to the movie, I’m sure you will at least Google it and consider watching it), it’s very clear that Belfort didn’t lack persistence.

In the movie, Belfort began his entrepreneurship endeavors as the owner of a meat delivery service. However, like with most businesses, he expanded too quickly, ran up debts, and eventually bankrupted the company. Most people would have given up on their entrepreneurial ambitions, but as Belfort said:

“People tend to give up. If you have persistence, you will come out ahead of most people. More importantly, you will live. When you do something, you might fail. But that’s not because you’re a failure. Because you have not learned enough. Do it differently each time. One day, you will do it right. Failure is your friend.”

Another great example of persistence is Uber (and actually, if you think about it, Uber actually could be our champion for every single topic cover thus far… creating a solution AND knowing their audience).

In the eightish years Uber has been around, they have managed to create all sorts of problems. From receiving (the first of many) a cease-and-desist letter causing the company to re-brand, to a wrongful death lawsuit, a class-action lawsuit, allegations of operating illegally, protests, allegations of sabotage, accusations of sexism and misogyny, privacy complaints, safety issues, and more, Uber has still managed to be a major disruptor in transportation and continues to grow. Not only is Uber expected to generate US $10 billion in revenue by the end of the year, but the company is also undertaking a slew of new initiatives.

But how? …perseverance. Well, that and extraordinary USER EXPERIENCE (are you noticing a theme yet?).

Lesson Learned: The proof is in the pudding: never give up. Tomorrow is the day you will (hopefully) succeed.


Like with most entrepreneurs, they have the talent and drive to potentially succeed… otherwise, starting a business would be insane. But, similar to “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort, many entrepreneurs’ make a huge mistake: they don’t care enough about providing the greatest benefit or advantage to their customers.

If you care more about the amount of money you make, rather than how your customers/users benefit from your product or service, you’re doomed to fail.

The more self-serving you become, the less people want to help you.

According to Fred Dews, Managing Editor for New Digital Products, Millennials are changing the game of entrepreneurship and it’s being felt in all sectors of America’s economy. Millennials are changing consumer markets and forcing corporations to change their workplace practices, which includes how they communicate and interact with their users.

Millennials will comprise more than one in three of adult Americans by 2020, account for more than $1 trillion in U.S. consumer spending., 87.5% of Millennials disagreed with the statement that “money is the best measure of success, and 19% of Millennials agreed with the statement, “most people can be trusted (compared to 31% of Gen Xers, 37% of the Silent Generation, and 40% of Boomers). Because of these typical traits among Millennials, you will soon see that the generation’s size and unity of belief will cause seismic shifts in the nation’s financial sector, shaking it to its very foundations and leading to major changes in the nation’s board rooms. As Millennials, which 89% have expressed a stronger likelihood that they would buy from companies that supported solutions to specific social issues, become CEOs (or determine the fate of those who are) they will change the purpose and priorities of companies in order to bring their strategies into alignment with the generation’s values and beliefs.

Like the lesson learned from “The Wolf of Wall Street,” things can go wrong very quick when we forget that the purpose of business is to provide value for our customers/users.

Simply put, Millennials are winning at business because they are forcing companies to communicate the way the user wants to be communicated with (which is providing more users with a better experience) and forcing companies to focus more on doing good in the world than worrying about the bottom dollar. The business world isn’t what it used to be… that’s a good thing… and those pesky Millennials (that everyone loves to hate) are a major contributing player.

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  • https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2014/06/02/11-facts-about-the-millennial-generation/
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2011/01/14/why-facebook-beat-myspace/#53aedaa6147e
  • https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33749/7-companies-that-totally-get-their-buyer-personas.aspx
  • https://www.zoho.com/general/blog/5-sales-lessons-from-the-wolf-of-wall-street.html
  • https://predictableprofits.com/5-marketing-lessons-wolf-wall-street-avoid-mistakes/
  • https://foundr.com/7-major-companies-that-nearly-failed/


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