Editor's Note: Mind the Gap

There has been a lot of talk these days about millennials. At the recent AMSP/NAPL/NAQP 2014 Annual Conference, Bridgeworks’ Scott Zimmer, generational expert and resident Gen Xer, delivered a keynote presentation titled “Bridging the Generation Gap”. During his presentation, Zimmer explored the characteristics, communication styles, and motivations of four generations: traditionalists, boomers, gen xers, and millennials.

You might wonder what this has to do with your business and why it matters. The bottom line is this: It is critical to learn how to communicate with and understand a new breed of electronic-age customers.

Case in point: In support of National Small Business Week, FedEx Office commissioned a nationwide “Signs of Success” survey, designed specifically with the small business owner in mind. One specific focus was on how different generations, from millennial to gen x and baby boomers, used signs to promote their business.

Here are five key findings from the study you should consider:

  1. When it comes to signage design, 64 percent of millennial small business owners (age 18-34) value creativity, unlike their baby boomer counterparts who focus on simplicity.
  2. Millennials prefer modern designs by 47 percent, compared to 29 percent of gen x and 17 percent of baby boomer small business owners, indicating how differences in age groups can translate onto a small business’ sign or banner.
  3. Regardless of age, 91 percent of small business owners agree that readable graphics are important, and 37 percent favor bright and colorful graphics to drive more customers into their business.
  4. 46 percent of millennial respondents turn to the experts for guidance to create their signs.
  5. Six of 10 small business owners surveyed said signage is a strong reflection of their product or service, further showcasing how a cleverly crafted design can serve as an effective marketing tool.

Are you prepared to communicate and work with millenials and other generations? It could have a direct impact on your bottom line—for the good or bad.