Have you ever seen the Facebook page “Millennials of New York”? I’ve had one visit and that was enough for me. It was around the time Prince passed away. They featured a stock-photo perfect face; the kind you find in all adverts targeting youths with messages of freedom and happiness etc. The caption below flaunted something like: “Prince is dead? The queen must be so sad!”
Yup. It didn’t matter that the page had more than 200,000 likes, I was out. So much so that I’ve spent many hours rejecting any definition of the millennial generation including my birth year.
More frightful for me: Are we really trying to design the future of finance based on what we bucket as the characteristics of this generation? It feels like our vision of the future should be set a little further and based more on what we imagine the future expectations of our customers to be.
Let me elaborate: My mum is not a millennial. I can’t tell you exactly which generation she belongs to because I’d really like to live, thank you. Let’s just say an older one. During a recent call, we started discussing a large life purchase. The type that results in heaps of admin and time spent. I related to her what I saw as the quickest and easiest way to do it from what I believed was her point of view: lines, bank branches – the whole shebang. To which she promptly replied: “Can’t I just do it from my phone?” I meekly mumbled “Yes, mum.” and was never really asked for my advice again.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the danger of attributing quite restrictive characteristics to one generation alone. In a stroke of clarity I once called the effect “generational crossover” but I believe it’s much more than that: individuals have the ability to adapt to the world around them and learn from those who have tried it before.
With this in mind, focusing the design of your business on the perceived characteristics of one generation may actually isolate potentially profitable customers from accessing your services or products. Instead, developing your solution with a more inclusive generation focus could add to the sustainability of your operations.
So, dearly beloved, I believe we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing called fintech and how it can meet the expectations of the customer of the future – not only chase the perceived needs of emerging generations.
This article was written by Sashreka Pillay, Financial Innovation Consultant at Matchi.biz
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