Could This One Rising Trend be the Future of Millennial Commerce?

Title: Could This One Rising Trend Be The Future of Millennial Commerce?

“The future of work lies in empowering Millennial talent.” –Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough

Millennials have talent beyond trophy-worthy participation — and it can help your commerce business

Think of it this way. Millennials have had an Instagram account since they were 12, learned how to code in between band practice in high school, and spent their extra dollars on a Canon t6i rather than collecting baseball cards. As a result of this lifelong arms race to produce the most “like”-able profile pic in existence, Millennials are extremely proficient at creating high quality content.

Further, Millennials are extremely social beings and digital natives. They are constantly on social media and building a network of highly engaged individuals with similar interests, aspirations, and goals.

Often, two of the most time consuming and expensive aspects of growing a business are consistently curating high quality content (articles, images, and videos) and building a following of loyal, engaged fans. When you acquire a Millennial as an affiliate for your brand, you bypass both of these time-consuming, money-eating obstacles entirely.

An affiliate is able to enjoy the flexible work hours they desire, the entrepreneurial role they crave, and the ability to make a living selling products they love. In exchange, your company can enjoy a steady stream of high-quality user-generated content and exposure to a vast array of micro-niches within your target demographic.

The end of the 9 to 5

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 20 million Americans actively choose part-time work to deliberately secure work-life balance and gain more flexible work hours — and this number is expected to rise significantly over the next 6–8 years.

Experts agree that the Millennial generation is more collaborative than ever and has a strong desire for remote work options. Additionally, Millennial workers are constantly connected via social media and excel at using technology in innovative ways to get work done more effectively and efficiently.

“To remain innovative, impactful, and financially competitive, companies will have to go outside their corporate comfort zone to design roles for a purpose-driven Millennial workforce. “ — Poswolsky

So why affiliate marketing?

According to the 2016 National Harriss Poll Survey, 82% of Americans “say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase decision” and 67% say they’re “more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member shared it via social media or email.” Further, 95% of Americans between the ages of 18 -34 say they “would like some sort of incentive (money, product or service, loyalty points, early access, swag) for sharing a product via social media or email.”

This means that within your target demographic, there is an entire audience of individuals that are 1) looking for recommendations on products to buy, and 2) willing to recommend your product to their network in exchange for cash.

Over 4 BILLION dollars (yes, with a “B”) were invested in the affiliate marketing space in the last year alone. Custora predicted that affiliate reps will affect 14% of all ecommerce sales in 2017, and Greg Shepard (CEO of Ebay Enterprise Marketing Solutions) said in a recent article that “…affiliate marketing is no longer just a curious sideshow. It’s now an integral, front-and-center component of every brand’s marketing mix.

With affiliate marketing attracting billions of dollars in recent investment and growing at such a rapid pace, it’s clear that it’s not only alive and well — it’s entirely changing the tide of how commerce is done.

It’s all about the timing

Bill Gross, CEO of IdeaLab, in his famous TED Talk “The single biggest reason why startups succeed”, found that, after examining all the various reasons why a startup business fails or succeeds, the number one factor was timing. “Timing accounted for 42% of the difference between success and failure. Team and execution came in second, and the idea, the differentiability of the idea, the uniqueness of the idea, that actually came in third.”

Think about companies like AirBNB and Uber. Why have these been so successful? According to Gross, it’s because they got the timing right:

“That company was famously passed on by many investors because people thought, ‘No one’s going to rent out a space in their home to a stranger.’ Of course, people proved that wrong. But one of the reasons it succeeded, aside from a good business model, a good idea, great execution, is the timing. That company came out right during the height of the recession when people really needed extra money, and that maybe helped people overcome their objection to renting out their own home to a stranger. Same thing with Uber…..the timing was so perfect for their need to get drivers into the system.”

The time for affiliate marketing is now

Based on these numbers, stats, and trends, now more than ever is the tipping point for affiliate marketing. Millennials possess the highly engaged social network and content creation skills that commerce companies need to grow their business. In exchange, affiliate marketing offers the flexibility and entrepreneurial-esqueness that Millennials so deeply crave. At a time when companies like Uber and AirBNB rein and the tide is shifting towards more “work from home” –ers, there’s no reason why commerce businesses can’t follow suit and ride the Millennial tide to see rapid revenue growth. Plus, technology has become so advanced that commerce companies can sign up a new affiliate in 30 seconds or less, connecting them to a fully integrated backoffice that enables them to start selling your product to their following that same day.