Did you know that Millennials are now the largest generation on Earth? There are 80 million in the U.S. alone. Not only that, but 82% of new parents are Millennials. This fact is vital to your marketing plans because this generation is unique in so many ways.
It’s no secret that they are called digital natives or that they prefer to communicate by text rather than phone call. As a childcare center, getting the attention of Millennial parents means understanding who they are and what they're looking for.
Of course, many childcare business owners and staff are Millennials, too. Do you understand your own generation?
Who Are the Millennials?
Millennials are those individuals born between 1981 and 1996. That means that they are between 23 and 38 years old in 2019. Reportedly by 2025, they will make up three-quarters of the U.S. workforce. Here are a few more tidbits:
- Millennials are the most educated group in history. 61% attended college, compared to 46% of Baby Boomers.
- They are the most likely generation to say that technology makes life easier, brings people together, and supports the efficient use of time.
- More Millennials co-parent; dads are more active than ever before in their children’s lives.
- Millennials read an average of five reviews before visiting a store or other place of business.
That last bullet point contains crucial information for the success of your childcare center.
What Do Millennials Value?
Millennials are competitive. It’s not that Gen X and the Baby Boomers weren’t competitive, but earlier generations did not have the internet and social media to create FOMO (fear of missing out).
Beyond the competitiveness, Millennials also value transparency and respect for their family's unique nature. Their parenting choices, about which they are incredibly anxious, are not to be questioned or criticized. In other words, no parent-shaming (to use recent social media parlance).
Millennials are also vocal about their desire for genderless choices in everything from clothing and toys to experiences. Nothing is pink and blue for this group. They expect their children to be creative, adventurous, independent, compassionate, educated, and purposeful. They value experiences over possessions and are passing that attitude to their children.
Gen Y, or Gen Me, as they are sometimes called, are redefining parenting and the concept of “me time.” As children, this cohort ruled the roost while growing up. They were the boss while mom and dad answered all their needs. All grown up, they don’t want to cede control, and they will not defer their own interests in favor of their children’s.
Millennial Parenting Issues
One of the biggest problems faced by both Millennials and childcare centers is information overload. For parents, there is simply too much information available about everything, including parenting and childcare. For childcare businesses, making themselves visible amid all that information is a considerable challenge.
One peculiarity of Gen Y is the cross-reaction between co-parenting and their competitive natures. Parents are split into the “fun” parent and the “default” parent. The default parent is the one who deals with the daily requirements of childrearing, including staying home with a sick child, dealing with calls from school, and coordinating childcare.
Nearly two-thirds of Dads claim the role of “fun” parent, leaving Mom the default position. Along with this dichotomy is the difference in response to marketing messaging.
- Mom still shoulders all the responsibility without praise. Mom has to listen to everyone praise Dad for doing all the parenting work she has always done.
- Dad is annoyed at being portrayed by the media as incompetent in the childrearing sphere with Mom shown as the genius and savior.
- Parents have contradictory responses to who shoulders most of the responsibility of childrearing.
- Mom wants messages acknowledging her stress and that offer opportunities to be the “fun” parent more often. She wants brands that give her the tools to express and manage her life but also that help her disconnect.
- Dad responds to messaging that reflect the confidence he feels in his childcare skills and celebrates the “fun” part of parenting.
Understanding the Millennial worldview and everyday practice is essential for marketing your childcare center to them successfully.
The Millennial-Ready Childcare Center
As you may expect, Gen Y is not into tradition, including traditional business hours. They want care available outside 6 AM and 6 PM. They also want childcare to get their children to school as much as they expect it to let them get to work on time.
As an educated group, they want a curriculum that emphasizes learning customized for important milestones. They see childcare as a temporary solution that they have to reconsider at every developmental stage.
Millennials want a choice of payment options. In this area, you have two significant differentiators to offer:
- Online bill pay is critical to Gen Y parents. The convenience factor keeps your business competitive.
- They want to pay any way they want. They prefer automated payment reminder notifications via email or text, they want auto-pay options, they want mobile payment, and they want easy access via a parent portal to their billing and payment information for updating.
This cohort wants all communication to go through their smartphones, but they much prefer text over talking. Electronic versions of any communication may be the only way to get them the information. Some examples include:
- Daily highlights and accomplishments
Finally, a key focus for Millennials is access to online reviews and testimonials. Crowdsourcing is a very Gen Y thing to do, and that includes seeking parenting information and childcare recommendations.
Marketing Childcare to Millennials
Provide customized, personally relevant information at every stage in your marketing funnel. Make your center visible in every possible way.
- Request reviews from current parents on social media and online review sites.
- Get your business on lists companies use childcare availability as part of their recruiting programs for hiring talent.
- Maintain a social media presence and make sure your business appears on Google Maps.
- Send appropriate email marketing materials to current and prospective clients.
- Use the right keywords in your web copy and content.
- Don’t neglect your community marketing and parent referral programs.
Millennials look for uniqueness, value, and trust in their chosen childcare situations.
EZChildTrack provides tools so you can give everything Millennial parents could want. From a parent portal with online bill pay and real-time updates on the activities of their children to providing unique classes through calendar-based enrollment, our childcare management solution has everything you need to market your childcare center to today’s parents.