I'm going to preface this with a caveat: this blog has been written by a proud millennial. You've undoubtedly read too many thought pieces on this terrible, spoilt, self-obsessed (blah blah blah) generation and maybe the baby boomers are right.
But frankly, millenials are the generation that will move us to an everything-connected society and they're important.
And I’m not going to mention Snapchat once in this. You’re safe.
The importance of a naturally connected generation
So far, very few IoT use cases / products have been an entirely new concept. Usually, we’re looking at an existing idea being made smarter – control your home from your phone! Check on your plants from afar! Make your phone, car, and home speakers seamlessly transition from one to another!
Using your phone as a remote control for life is not a new feeling for millennials – we’re the first generation to have experienced life before and after the move to digital and let me tell you, we’re all for the after.
My friends and I are the type of people who don’t memorise routes from A-B because we know Citymapper and Google Maps have us covered when we’re on the move. I use apps to look after my money, manage my social life, track my exercise and sleep, order my weekly shop... So adopting existing technologies into our phone-bubbles is nothing that needs to be learnt, the way it may be for older generations. We’re the easiest demographic to target for new IoT-led services.
Born in the cloud
We want everything fast. We expect everything fast. Because why wouldn’t it be?
If there’s an issue with your product or delivery, we expect it to be under complete control of your customer service team. If you can’t resolve the issue remotely, then quite frankly we’re seeing a flaw in your service.
Only solution? Your product or service better be as connected as I am. And with that expectation already set, we’re going to adopt the connected products and services over the unconnected.
Don’t worry, there’s definitely an upside to our expectation of connected products and instant results: whilst Twitter has become a place for open customer complaints, it’s also become the place we rave and support the brands we love.
If millennials are already expecting all their current services to be connected, they’re probably your best bet for targeting your new connected service.
"Generation Rent" vs "X as a Service"
With the costs of living ever-increasing, most millennials have never experienced an ‘ownership’ mindset older generations have, from home-owning to even possessing your own car being a distant dream. We’re the kids who helped form and boom the sharing / rental economy (Uber, Airbnb, Zipcar, Borrow My Doggy) because the market has evolved to meet our demand and needs, and trust me – if it’s available "as a service" then we’ll never bother budgeting to buy our own.
Offering anything as a service naturally lends itself to IoT – so EV charging points, car club sharing, smart home hubs, and the list goes on. (I’m sure you already know the possibilities are endless in IoT!)
Co-creation and constant input
"With millenials, a new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it’s finished by the customers.
Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you.
Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge.”
- Alex Castellarnau, VP UX, Dropbox
Millennials should be considered a product manager’s friend: we’re used to constantly changing products. Want to throw out your whole app and start from scratch? Change how you deliver your service?
Bit extreme, but call us beta users and we’ll get it. We’re using your new tech intuitively, we’re accustomed and attuned to updates.
Plus, when we spot a bottleneck or mild irritation, we’re not shy about using our online personas to feed back to you.
(Your brand is easily accessible on social media, right?)
Please DM us for the fastest response!— Citrix ShareFile (@sharefile) July 27, 2017
This sort of unfiltered, real time feedback is invaluable. And when you’re rolling out a new service, it’s crucial to stay tuned to what your users are saying.
So enough dismissing the spoilt, self-obsessed generation. How are you going to make the most of millennials in your trials, targeting and roll out?