Top Five Reasons to Give Up on Millennials

 

Thank you, Deloitte’s, for a ‘just when I thought I’d seen/heard everything’ moment. Please give it up for the ‘MilleXZials’ – an amalgamation of Gen Z (ages 14-20), millennials (21-34) and Gen X (35-51). Apparently, their ‘mobile consumption behaviours’ – and, I’d venture, many other of their consumption behaviours – are pretty much the same.

Being older than all of these amalgamated whippersnappers and, yet, probably possessed of the very same consumption behaviours, I think Messrs Deloitte have missed a trick here. ‘MilleXZials-boom!’ would have been so much better. The point is that ‘milleXZials’ are everyone.

As, on a slightly smaller scale, are Millennials. Here are five reasons why we should ditch the lazy catch-all that is ‘millennial’ and get on with understanding the needs of a micro-segmented audience.

Millennials are not a distinct group

Only in that they were all born between 1980 and 2000. Stating the obvious, the oldest are 38 and the youngest are 18. Socially, economically, politically, ideologically, technologically – they’re different shades on a very broad spectrum. They cannot be influenced, communicated with or sold to with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Millennial is not a synonym for ‘the youth of today’

Because while some of them are, others – very clearly – aren’t. (Recently I read the phrase ‘Millennials, and their older siblings…’ Hell’s teeth, I’m the older sibling of a top-of-the-range Millennial. Talk about broad generalisations.)

Millennials are not ‘the workforce of tomorrow’

Saw a presentation recently entitled ‘Boomers vs Millennials: are you ready for the shift in your workforce’? End-of-generation Millennials are 38 years old. They’ll have already been in the workplace 16 years, supposing they endured higher education. They’re your boss. A quarter of Millennials have been in the workplace for 10 years or more.

Millennials do not all want the same things

Whether that’s world peace, corporate purpose, recyclable coffee containers or a sushi bar in the workplace. To imply that they do is to lose focus and render any communication strategy so broad-brush as to be wholly ineffectual.

Millennials are not disadvantaged compared to the previous generation

They can’t all afford houses because house prices have risen out of all proportion to the price of anything else, and society’s rules vis a vis home ownership have changed. That being said, there are jobs to be had, and jobs in ‘new’ industry sectors (think internet, social media, fintech, bioscience) pay comparatively well. Millennials live as well, if not better, than previous generations. Even if ‘millennial unrest’ was a thing, it isn’t.

Dump Broad Groupings – Embrace Nano-Targeting

Millennials was the first socio-economic group that wasn’t.  (And there will be no more that are.) Regardless of any other influences – and there are myriad others, obviously – the incredibly rapid growth and implementation of new technologies alone has seen to that.

The internet, as we know it, became a thing around about 1995. Thus, Millennials born in 1980 grew up with dial-up and cables. Millennials born in 1995 grew up with smartphones and broadband. Facebook was founded in 2004 – early Millennials would have been all over it. Later Millennial has probably closed his or her account. Early Millennials are sporting FitBits and confuse automated call centres with AI. Sharp-end Millennials are already thinking about having payment chips implanted in their hands.

For the last time – ‘Millennials do this, and Millennials think that’ – it’s lazy, and it’s unimaginative. Millennials don’t exist.

Diageo recently made a song and dance about micro-targeting – given the current rate of technological development, evolution, implementation and utilisation (and its effect on society) expect to have to coin a new term for a new group every month or so.

It’s not micro, it’s nano.

Social networking ‘dehumanising’ – who knew?

I’m a little bit cross today, gentle blog trotters, and – although it’s unlike me to burden you with my problems – I’m going to tell you why.

First off, you should know that I employ the services of an accountant, for the simple reason that I am not an accountant myself, and I cannot be doing with all this numbery business. What I didn’t cop on to was that, in the eyes of the law (quis aliem facit, facit per se), if you employ an accountant to do your numbers, you are effectively doing them yourself. It’s a great gig (for accountants), as – in the (obviously) highly improbable scenario that they should f*ck it all up – they are not responsible. Nope. You are. Because – get this – you should have checked their work. Which, to my mind, kinda implies that everyone should be qualified as an accountant. Either that, or accountancy is such a piece of piss that anyone can do it, in which case, why are we paying the horrible f*ckers so much money? Eh?

Anyway, long story short, yadayada, my accountant f*cked up, I got hit with a £700 penalty by the revenue. Accountant ‘fesses up. Accountant agrees that I am in no way to blame and says that accountant will pay the 700 notes. Payment day was last week. Accountant now refusing to take my calls. Hence I am cross. And poor.

Anyway, today’s post is about a piece in the FT this morning, which I cannot post a link to because I do not wish to register with the paper and therefore cannot view its content. And no, Mr FT, I’m not going to buy a copy of the paper either, so, in both ways, you lose. That’s the thing about the internet, d’you see, you can’t eat it. What I mean is, that you can’t have it and eat it. It’s free. So you can’t post your content and then expect people to pay for it, either on-line or in the crinkly newsprint. No. What they’ll do is ignore you.

Anyway, in the FT. The headline ‘Sean Parker Unveils Facebook Video Site’. Apparentky he’s launching some  video chat site to counter the ‘dehumanisation’ of social networking. Sean Parker is the President of Facebook (no, all you foursquareys, that’s not like being the Mayor of the Copacabana Club in Leighton Buzzard), which, given that, with its many hundreds of millions of slaves users, the ‘book is the (I think) third largest nation by population on earth, is somehow quite appropriate. Anyway, Seanio has obviously come quite late to the party and realised that spending half your life in front of a computer or glued to the tiny, twinkling screen of your handheld of choice, is – or could be – quite isolating of the human condition, rendering one – yes – almost dehuman.

Anyway, he seems to think that videochat will solve it. Poor deluded soul. I also hear he’s thinking of opening a chain of ‘meeting places’ – where the dehumans can go and interact in real time. Places with smells and sounds and warmth and three dimensions. And, probably, coffee. I came up with a name, which they’re free to use, if they like. Try this. (Ready?) “Facebucks”.

See what I did? It sounds a bit like ‘Facebook’ and a bit like ‘Starbucks’, but, in melding the two, you’ve got the unwritten promise that you too, yes, you, the retail investor, can make some easy money out of social networks…er….when they…mmm…..d’you know….when they…er…like….float?

On second thoughts, how about Faceb*ll*cks?

 

Nothing Motivates Like Money – Sorry

Came across this article down the back of the internet – ws so incensed by the horsesh*t quotient, that I had to share with you, dearest blog trotters.

You see, I’m a believer in internal comms as a motivator. I believe in praise where it’s due, I believe in duvet days, I believe in doughnut Fridays, I believe that staff meetings should be entertaining and I believe that the booze should never run out at the Christmas party (and that what goes on tour stays on tour). (Yes, Microsoft, I’m talking to you.)

But I do not believe that any of this substitutes for cold, hard cash. Wonga in an envelope. The chink of change, the rustle of non-sequential, used tenners. And thus, I am afraid, any staff motivation philosophy that kicks off with ‘don’t show ’em the money (even if you have it)’ is misguided at best and cynical, petty, small-minded and mean at worst.

And no, wandering up to a random employee and inviting them to lunch with you is not motivating. It is stalking. It will result in uncomfortable silence, which is not how I enjoy my lunchtimes.

And the idea that asking – ‘was that the best way to approach the problem? Why not? Have you any ideas on what you could have done differently?’ – will somehow not be perceived as criticism or correction is just hippy-dippy nonsense.

Oooh – it makes me cross. I’d actually suggest that blindly implementing the nine things recommended here will have the opposite effect to that desired.

Especially number nine – ‘share the rewards’. But without giving anyone any money, obviously. What planet?

A Response From Orange, Mobile Network Provider of This Parish

So, Blog Snorkellers all, I got my mobile network problems sorted and am now up and running with email onna go. Amazing how quickly these things get sorted when you loop in the senior personnel of a company.

In fairness to Everything Everywhere – I sent an email to their CEO, CMO and Chief Performance Officer late on a Wednesday evening and by Thursday midday, everything had been rectified. I got an email from the CMO and a ‘phone call from the office of the CEO. It became the sort of experience that, as a loyal customer of ten years’ standing, I would have expected from the off. (Well, I don’t actually expect a ‘phone call from the CEO’s office, every time I renew my contract, but I do expect easy and quick.)

But I guess you can see where I’m going with this. Why does it take several hundred words of borderline crazy rantiness, delivered directly to the C-Suite, to get a result?

This is the digital age. This is the age where anyone can broadcast their thoughts and opinions far and wide, easily and instantaneously. As my faithful few followers will know, I’m not a fan of social media – but I do recognise that where it comes into its own is during a crisis, either as a response, or as a crisis creator.

Customer service is key. No matter how good your corporate reputation, no matter how loyal your customers, they can be turned against you almost immediately by one person’s bad experience. In days gone by, you could let it slip occasionally, safe in the knowledge that – as long as no-one died, and you didn’t annoy a journalist (or a journalist’s friend) – no-one would find out.

No more. The bigger you are, the more important it becomes that you get it right every time.

A learning, I think.

A Letter to Orange, Mobile Network Provider of This Parish

Here, dearest Blog Trotters mine, is a letter sent, via the medium of  ‘e’ mail, to the CEO, CMO and (oh but yes) the Chief Performance Officer of Everything Everywhere, the company formed through the alliance of Orange and T-Mobile. I’ll let you know whether I get a response.

(Still have no email on my B’Berry, by the way.) (I knew you’d be concerned.)

“Dear Olaf, Pippa and Ralf
Having been, finally, beaten by your impenetrable ‘customer service’ network (a completely new and totally unexpected definition of the term ‘customer service’ that I’d not encountered before), I am really, really hoping that you will be able to solve my Orange problem for me. (Congratulations on the company name, by the way – genuinely visionary and grandiose. If only it wasn’t the complete opposite of my experience to date.)
A long story short – as I’m sure you’ve all got better things to do (I know I have) – I’ve been a genuinely loyal customer of Orange for over 10 years and, to date, while it’s been (with hindsight) a bit pricey and I don’t like being sold insurance that I don’t need, I’ve been happy with it. Never even considered moving. Over the last four days, however, all of that has changed – rarely have I felt so powerless in the face of complete corporate ineptitude. Seriously, guys, whoever designed your call handling systems, the automated responses and the customer-facing website functionality should be tracked down and punished, in a cruel and unusual way. And so should the person who sold you the idea of outsourcing your call centres (I’m guessing that they are outsourced) – as the systems don’t work and even if they did, the call centre staff don’t have the knowledge to do anything with the account data the system is supposed to provide. I suspect it’s cost-cutting and lack of forward planning – but, whatever the cause, it’s frustrating and it will lose you business.
So – I’ve got an upgrade to a new Blackberry device. There was a slight delivery snafu, but it arrived. I’d been told to ring a number to activate the SIM. Did that on Sunday – the rather irritating call centre chap told me I should have done it online (incidentally, when I DID try to do it on line, the service didn’t work), but then said he’d be able to sort it out. Monday morning – not done, so I called again. Monday afternoon, nothing happening, called again, assured that a supervisor would be activating my SIM. Late Monday afternoon, call again, recorded message tells me that a problem precludes me being connected to an operator, and I should call back. Monday evening, nothing doing, call again, put on hold for 20 minutes, then cut off. (Meanwhile, and while I’m on a roll, why do I have to go through umpteen ‘if you want this, press that’ prompts, every time I ‘phone, when I still end up with the same lacklustre call centre staff, all of whom (without exception) have to contact someone else to address my query? And what, in the name of all that’s holy, is a ‘magic number’?)
Tuesday morning – hallelujah – SIM activated. Attempt to connect to my internet email accounts. Wah-wah and, indeed, oops. Either I’ve got a purely enterprise device, not allowing (as I’m sure you know) connection to internet mail accounts, or I’m being stupid. Let’s take the latter option – it’s been known. I visit your Orange website – again, do you know how difficult and painful it is to find things on that site? Couldn’t find anything helpful. Today I braved your call centres again, looking for a resolution to the problem – who knows (not me) maybe Orange can tweak the B’Berry enterprise software and provide me, remotely, with a consumer-facing device. Suffice it to say, your operative either couldn’t, or didn’t, address the issue. Nor did she call me back when she said she was going to.
So, here I am, with device, without email. Perhaps unfortunately, I tend to rely on email to keep me in touch with career and business opportunities, so I’m a little stifled right now. Two questions:
How has Orange come to this? It was brilliant – now it’s rubbish. Is this the Everything Everywhere influence?
Can you sort this out for me – or do I, and with regret, take my business elsewhere? I know I’m just one punter, but on the basis of my recent experience, I won’t be the last.
Perhaps a little less spend on marketing and a little more on nuts and bolts and getting the experience right.
All the best
The Wordmonger
PS And, lest I be accused of not making enough effort (sigh), yes, I have emailed Orange, via the same difficult website, twice, once asking advice and once complaining. No response to date. I know it says ‘a response within 48 hours’ – but, really, 48 hours? In today’s social media-driven world? Time for reflection, I think.
PPS I know I wrote, earlier, ‘long story short’ – but, well, hey……….”

So Terribly Wrong

Not, not me. Although it appears that I HAVE actually been wrong – there was I, giving it large with the old ‘that Facebook, right, doesn’t make any money, right’ while all the time the odious Zuckerberg is busy turning in halftime revenues of $1.6bn and incomes of 500m of the same splendid currency over the same period. Numbers such as these, ladies and gents, while not actually being handed in by someone from the ‘Book itself, are not really to be sniffed at. Read about it here at The Huffington Post. Thank you, Huffers.

No, no. What’s wrong (on a veritable Dante of levels) is how Horrible Mark and his evil creation have managed to achieve these numbers – it’s through getting so many users that they cannot fail to get at least some of the large global advertisers (Diageo – are you listening?) to spend at least some of their enormous advertising budgets with the Facemeister. Proving, once and for all, that you can fool some of the people, some of the time and they’re the ones you should concentrate on.

But then. Look at the numbers, would you – here they are! (Thanks MediaBistro!)

Yes, that’s right – 800m users. Just think about it. What’s the population of the world – what, around 7bn? Thus – and I know you can do maths – more than 10% of the population of the Earth are registered users of Facebook. Given the great swathes of the world that haven’t got internet access, that means that practically everyone you know (except me) is a slave to the ‘Book. How long before someone coins the phrase ‘the Good ‘Book’?

So, you’ve a heady mixture of 800m users and quite possibly 1bn greenbacks of income for this financial year. You’ve also got, therefore, a valuation of as much as $80bn for the ‘Book when it floats – supposedly in 2012.

Those of you with memories will remember Goldman Sachs, busy doing God’s Work (thanks Mr Blankfein), and the bank that took a position in Facebook and started up a Facebook investment vehicle (that their very own private equity arm would not invest in  and that they were only allowed to sell outside the States – where’s Britney Spears when you need a burst of Toxic pop?).

The same Goldman Sachs you’d hope would be handling the flotation of Facebook. The same Goldman Sachs whose shares have fallen 43% this year. Have they been Zucked?

Chips and Beans

Chips and beans – staple foodstuffs – the very foundation of a robust and balanced diet. Every day, three times a day, if I had a choice. (Sorry, dearest blog trotters, I find myself a little lacking in the breakfast department and – quite frankly – I could suck a frozen dog.)

But this post isn’t about me and my almost unmanageable craving for fried food, no, it’s about ideas. And it touches on what I believe to be a potential communication trend for 2011, so, if’n’ your in the field of communications, you might want to stick around to the end.

I’ve touched on the topic before – there’s this debate that rages on in the communications background (and when I say comms, I mean advertising, marketing, PR and corporate communications because, unlike so many others, I AM inclusive and I embrace both sides of the line and, yea, through it as well – I am, truly, a renaissance communicator) which occasionally surfaces almost, but not totally, completely unlike a small volcanic eruption – and the debate is – who owns the idea?

Obviously, the answer is – who gives a shit who owns the idea? If the idea is a great one, we should all embrace it and use it as a great theme for our part of the business mix. Unfortunately, too many companies trammelled by ‘not invented here’ syndrome, meaning many good ideas smothered at birth. I’ve had my fair share.

So how genuinely marvellous to see a totally fantastic idea (I cannot tell you how much I am in awe of this idea), being used across a business – increasing sales, making consumers feel warm inside, evoking memories, generating laughter and, I’d wager, bringing the home team together in an internal-communications-stylee. Yes, blog snorkellers, it really is that good. And it’s for beans. Baked beans. Heinz baked beans to be exact.

Here it is in all its glory, presented through the medium of film. (Obviously, I’d prefer it if it were presented through the medium of insane industrial mime, but you cannot have everything, as me old mam used to say. Still does, in fact.)

So, the idea – for you lazy, lazy slackers who cannot be bothered wid da clickety – is a resealable jar of baked beans. A screw-top jar. Why is it so good? Let me count the ways (and sorry if I miss some):

  • We’ve all had that ‘not used all the beans in the tin moment’. What do you do with the ones that are left?
  • It is a childhood memory for everyone. Newborn babies know about leftover beans, at a genetic level
  • It is humorous
  • It is a money-spinner – a screw-top jar of beans is going to be more costly than a tin
  • It makes the workforce feel proud

It, genuinely, is a work of genius. Have I said this before? It works across every piece of the business melange. And no, it is not important who had the idea, it is important what everyone does with the idea. This could be a communications trend for 2011 – everyone working together – through-the-linery – accepting that the brilliant concept can come from anywhere. Chances of it happening?

Briefly, then, chips. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked for a restaurant chain. I had an extremely creative PR agency. We needed some local media coverage, because we couldn’t afford to advertise or offer local discounts.

(PR purists, look away now.)

We made up a story – the story being that this restaurant chain were launching something called a ‘Pincher’s Portion’ of chips. This  was – supposedly – a half-portion of chips that you could order for your girlfriend to stop her eating yours (after having flatly denied that she actually wanted any). This is very resonant – every bloke in the entire world – at a subatomic level – knows how frustrating – and true – this scenario can be.

It was brilliant – the coverage was beyond our wildest dreams. And better, the NPD department looked at the idea, worked out how they could implement it, and made it a reality. A half-portion of chips at three-quarters of the price of a full one. Money spinner. Again, doesn’t matter who had the idea – a good idea can benefit everyone.

Finally, riding on the tube the other day, I saw a big poster advertising MacDonalds. It featured a packet of chips. With fingers. And the slogan ‘pick packet’. It minded me of the Pinchers Portion and also of the fact that no-one has a monopoly on ideas. At any one time, different people all over the shop are having the same idea. Embrace the idea – once again, it doesn’t matter who had the idea – it’s what you do with it that counts.

I am really, really hungry.