The Curation Economy
Millennials. How to work with them, how to inspire them and more importantly how to sell to them? Many companies have struggled to sell, hire, inspire and otherwise succeed with them, and for my On-Demand companies the road was no different at the beginning. But after some important pivots we were able find our stride and succeed with millennials in the United States. The Millennials Series deals with some of the core principles of succeeding with them and feel free to apply these lessons to your company, product or service.
A recent article came out in POLITICO about how millennials were starting to pay for news services like the New York Times, POLITICO, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic had become a significant trend. One of the reasons they credited for the transition were services like Netflix and Spotify accustoming millennials to monthly pay services. The POLITICO writers made attempts in the article to credit political issues for the increase in subscriptions, but it has little if any causality in my opinion given the trends.
What they missed is a clear trend in how Millennials purchase and consume products and services. Millennials like to mix-and-matching their services via apps and websites to meet their specific needs in every segment of their life. Music, videos, reading and exercise classes are just some of the services millennials are customizing on a mass scale.
The full album buy is dead, tv series are binge watch instead of doled out over a few months one episode at a time and travel lodging is no longer about booking a hotel it’s about booking an experience.
Whenever millennials are provided the opportunity to curate their experiences, they will take it most of the time. But only when the value proposition is made clear to them and they feel at the center of the process. Previous generations just wanted to have option A, B and every so often C with standard features, prices and expectations. But this is a method of the past. Companies that offer stale, non-customizable services and products are a dying breed. The Millennial Era is the Era of Curation and your company needs to adapt to that.
When you take a look at the most successful companies serving millennials you will find some core traits shared among all of them: broad customization and an approachable base fee. Uber lets you select from basic shared cars to high end luxury Escalades. Airbnb lets customers choose from a shared room to an entire castle. What’s important is the entry price to participate is low and it’s easy to move up the ladder with add-ons.
I was at an event with Airbnb founder Brian Chesky where he was discussing the changing demands of Airbnb's consumer base and how they were addressing the needs of the millennial consumers. One of the main points he focused on what the ability of users to curate their Airbnb experience from the app with special events, excursions and experiences that can be easily added to any reservation for a fee. Users have flocked to the extra services on Airbnb pushing up the final price by upwards of 20-50% or more. Why? Because they can customize their experience. There is a guy who will take you for a hike with his pack of wolves who made $11,000 in 2016 and is on track to make over $200,000 in 2017 just from people booking excursions via Airbnb with him.
While the examples of curation from Airbnb, Uber, Spotify, Amazon and other companies can go on forever, the main point is this: Providing your millennial customers the ability to customize their services, products and purchase in general is critical. It’s so critical that I believe it’s the bare minimum a company should do when designing their customer purchasing experience.
There are plenty of companies who are getting away doing things the old-fashioned way, but they are sowing the seeds of their own demise.
Now that you know what millennials are demanding, are you allowing them to curate their purchases?