Millennials, McDonald's, and Miley Cyrus

Peter Maxwell Sessions

Date

Aug 25, 2017

Millennials in the workplace can be quite challenging. Wikipedia defines a millennial as a “person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century”. They’re typically known for being gifted with technology and inept with social skills. As the transfer of wealth and responsibility is beginning to shift from baby boomers to millennials, they’ve been the focus of many discussions. I’m currently in my mid 30’s so some might consider me a millennial. Anytime someone refers to me as a millennial, I quickly relate one of the following stories with the hopes to disqualify myself from the label,

  1. I didn’t grow up having a cell phone. When I was done with my extra-curricular activities I would make a collect call home from a payphone. My family would pick up the phone and hear something resembling “You have a collect call from: I’m done with football I'll be by the gym come pick me up now”.
  2. I remember having to make sure everyone in the house wasn’t using the phone before signing into my AOL account. I remember sitting in patience as I listened to the dial-up ringtone play. I would watch the “running man icon” anxiously as I was being connected to the internet and finally being elated when I heard “You’ve got Mail!”
  3. Lastly, I remember being devastated at Blockbuster video when only the cover case of the movie I wanted to rent was remaining on the shelve. As a last ditch effort, I would typically rummage through the recently returned bin to test my luck, even if it meant I had to rewind the VHS myself.

So whether I should be considered a millennial or not is up for debate. I think recent skits like the one featuring Miley Cyrus on SNL have me jaded about the title of a millennial CLICK HERE. Despite how you might feel about millennials, there is one thing of which I'm certain: Consumers are progressively using more and more technology to influence how they spend their disposable income. If you want to stay competitive as an organization then you need to evolve just like your consumers. You need to be thinking about the millennial generation. Selecting and deploying technology for an organization can be a time consuming and a costly endeavor. I address how to get started in a previous post entitled “How Brad Pitt and Clint Eastwood Leverage Technology” CLICK HERE. In this post, I want to address the mindset one must have to leverage technology like a millennial.

Price versus Value

I willingly hand over money each month for things like Netflix, Ring, and Spotify. In preparation for this article, I decided to add up all the technology based bills I pay on a monthly basis. Although I won't share the exact number I came up with, I will share that it was in the hundreds. I was quite surprised by how much I was spending on technology. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would soon be spending hundreds of dollars a month on technology that didn’t exist yet, I wouldn’t have believed you. So why don’t I have an issue paying these bills now? The answer is quite simple; PRICE IS ONLY AN ISSUE IN THE ABSENCE OF VALUE.

It is easy to look at new technology and only see the bill. If the price is all you are looking for then it is the only thing you will see. Before you start looking at the cost of technology, I highly recommend that you consider what value it will bring to your company.

If you have a clear understanding of the impact greater efficiency will have on your business, then new technology won't be so painful. What makes your business unique? If your company’s competitive advantage is customer service, explore ways to add value to your customer service experience. Don't let your competitors beat you where it really counts. If technology can help you improve your business where it matters the most then ask yourself “What is it costing me by not leveraging technology?” If technology can bring more value than it costs, then you shouldn’t hesitate.

McDonald’s is still paving the way

Let’s take McDonald's for example; They’re yet again setting an example for the franchise industry. In an article posted on Business Insider on Jun. 23, 2017 by Author Hayley Peterson, it was announced that “...the company is rolling out kiosks, which allow customers to order and pay for their food, in thousands of stores.” This use of technology is expected to “...speed up the ordering process and give people more control over customizing their food, while reducing opportunities for human error.” The article also states that “analysts expect the kiosks will help boost McDonald's sales, in part because they will help increase efficiency in restaurants.” Although these kiosks will add additional operating costs that the organization didn’t previously incur, they’re also gaining efficiency and a boost in sales that they didn't have before as well. Getting your food quick and easy has always been the backbone of the McDonald's experience. Technology is now allowing them to stay true to their roots. Increased sales and efficiency will more than make up for the cost of implementing the kiosks themselves.

Summary

My dad used to tell me “If you want to catch a fish then you have to get your line in the water. Choose your water wisely tho, because knowing which pond to fish matters more than your line!” Consumers are increasingly choosing to swim in ponds that are filled with technology. Consumers are progressively using more and more technology to influence how they spend their disposable income. Make sure your business is paying attention to the pond it is fishing in. PRICE IS ONLY AN ISSUE IN THE ABSENCE OF VALUE. Although your business might be spending more than ever before on new tech tools, you really can’t afford to ignore technology.

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