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Dial Toll-free (and Other Things Millennials Don't Understand)

August 1, 2017

What do those words mean to you?

The answer depends, very simply, on how old you are.

If you’re older than forty, you probably clearly remember long distance charges on non-international phone calls. You probably also remember physically dialing a phone – that little round dial with holes for numbers 1 through 0 (with letters associated with each number) that you actually put your finger in and moved.

If you’re younger than forty, dialing a phone means pushing buttons and long-distance charges aren’t something you think – or ever thought – about.

Weird Al Yankovic sang about phone books and yanking phone cords out of the wall, Jim Croce let the operator keep the dime, and the Turtles thought a dime was a great investment for calling someone you love.

phone evolution.jpg

What about asking someone to tape a show? Who uses tape anymore? (Actually, my wife – when she taught a high school video production class, she would break open a tape open to explain the concept of linearity to a digital population of students.)

I could go on, but you’re probably getting my point: as the millennial generation rapidly gains purchasing power (the oldest are 36 this year), you need to ensure you aren’t still speaking the older generations' language.

It’s a pretty simple concept: you can’t appeal to someone who doesn’t even know what you’re talking about.

I’m not suggesting you communicate in text abbreviations. (And I can’t be the only person who thinks an emoji movie just sounds dumb.) Proper language, spelling, punctuation, etc. makes you professional and relatable – as long as the words, phrases, and idioms you use are relevant and age appropriate.

So here’s a quick exercise. Go through your website/most frequently used sales materials and start highlighting phrases or words that came from the last century. Can you replace them with something more relevant to this century while still delivering the same message?

After that, find a college student (or get one as an intern) and have them read and listen to every piece of content you use. Have them score it for relevance and understandability. Have them look for phrases that make you seem out of date (or worse – just old).

And if you need help, you can dial us toll-free at 888-717-1715! wink.jpg

marketing to millennials

Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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