“Banking solutions for millennials”: a label of doom
Elevator pitches matter.
Most sales opportunities emerge in real life situations, not on stage with your five minutes plus Q&A secured. It is important to be able to describe what game your company is playing in, what problem it solves, who it is for and how it is different, in broad strokes and few sentences.
It matters because it’s a filtering mechanism and allows people to know whether to move on or stay to hear more. If you bore them, go on too long, wax lyrical about your uniqueness before you tether yourself to a market or problem statement you will lose them even if there is a fit there.
Don’t make the client work for it. Especially as you never know who is a legit customer and where opportunity may lie. So make it easy for a potential customer to self-select, to say hey that sounds like something I or my business could use, tell me more.
To that effect, labels are useful as heuristic tools. Pick the right ones as sign posts to guide interested parties to the detail. You are not reducing your business to buzzwords, you are just helping people decide if what you do is of interest. It’s a time saver and an opportunity builder, believe me.
I once brought a company in to meet my then CTO.
He was impressed and jokingly asked “where did you find these guys?”.
I was on a date (true story), the date bumped into a friend, we exchanged pleasantries. The friend’s seven-word description of what he did using the right labels did the trick. He had my attention, he got the meeting, he got the business.
Work on your elevator pitch. Pick words that describe and sign post. But pick carefully and make sure you use buzzwords but are not reduced to them.
Who the hell are these millennials who need help saving $50 per month
In fact, they seem to be proliferating rather than petering off. I see more of those now than I did five years ago and, hate to break it to y’all, there is a new generation coming through the ranks. The oldest millennials are nearing 40 (which is the new 20 I will have you know) and the solutions I see are not targeting the very real socio-economic realities that millennials actually do face: from an inaccessible housing market in most established economies, to a pension system in transition leaving them making blind choices with highly constrained options, to the proverbial tables being turned but advantages not necessarily shifting with them.
Where are the solutions for these guys?
Say what you really mean
Solutions for millennials usually mean one of three things.
The most insidious one is “not me”. Solutions for other people.
That’s reassuring. Not.
Millennials don’t call themselves that. Especially as it’s increasingly used as a derogatory term to describe an entitled generation.
I personally don’t trust any label that ties character to demographics anyway. Even more so when it has become an unhelpful part of the modern derision lexicon. And I find that, whatever the age of the entrepreneur peddling solutions for millennials, they are solving problems for other people. Younger people, poorer people, foreign people.
Even the millennials talk about millennials at arms length.
And that otherness bothers me, it bothers me in your elevator pitch because it screams “poor market fit and bad design”.
The less insidious but equally unhelpful use of the word millennials is to mean “young people” writ large.
People my age (we are Xennials and proud of it because belonging to a micro generation feels more special) often use it to mean anyone younger than us, which is only party true as there is another generation with its own label and traits coming through the ranks, taking up jobs and entering the fray. The millennials are no longer your youngest employees and colleagues. Move on already.
The third meaning the word occasionally takes is to signify a digital native. People who have never seen a telex machine or actual carbon copies. People who didn’t have to learn how to use the internet because there was never a time without it. People who have no attachment to analogue processes and expect the world to be digital first.
That last part matters the most but this group encompasses millennials, generation Z, a good chunk of generation X-ers and most Xennials excluding my husband; even a good number of baby boomers, proving that when you were born has a big impact on what was available when you grew up, but doesn’t determine how you think now you are done growing up. Fancy that.
Plus, if you are designing services for digital natives, soon enough that will be everyone. Solutions for everyone are warm and fuzzy, but not exactly a market niche.
If you come to me peddling a banking solution for millennials, what I expect to see is a solution of immense sophistication when it comes to segmentation and targeting financial products to a generation reaching maturity without security despite the prolonged peace and relative collective prosperity.
If that is not what you are selling, scrap the label of doom and go work on your elevator pitch, your product-market fit and your business model.
You are welcome.
By Leda Glyptis
Leda Glyptis is FinTech Futures’ resident thought provocateur – she leads, writes on, lives and breathes transformation and digital disruption.
Leda is a lapsed academic and long-term resident of the banking ecosystem, inhabiting both start-ups and banks over the years. She is a roaming banker and all-weather geek.
All opinions are her own. You can’t have them – but you are welcome to debate and comment!