Marketing to Millennials: Convenience vs. Concern

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Posted by Ashley Slade - 12 February, 2018

There are many lessons we learned throughout our childhood that were simple, basic, and meant to lay the foundation for life-long safety.

Look both ways before you cross the street, wear your seatbelt, keep your fingers away from electrical outlets, and what many can remember as the cardinal rule – don’t talk to strangers. The “stranger danger” outlook took on many forms: don’t get in their car, don’t accept food from them, don’t answer the door or enter their home. The list could go on. Does it concern anyone that some of the most highly and effectively marketed applications blatantly defy every aspect of the “stranger danger” concept?

Thanks to modern technology services, such as Uber and Airbnb, which continue to rise and be popular among millennials, by allowing consumers to simplify their lives at more affordable rates. But have you ever stopped to think about what makes millennials flock to these brands? Read on as we examine some of the ways these two popular companies continue to provide customer convenience, while also evaluating some of the concerns consumers have.

 

Uber

Averaging approximately 40 million rides per month, it is safe to say Uber has become a mega success since its launch in 2009. What could be more convenient than confirming a ride within a matter of minutes through the ease of clicking a button? Uber has proven to be a no-brainer, especially for the modern-day millennial who values a brand's convenience. Through the simplicity of the company’s app, prices are determined upfront, transactions are completed effortlessly, and receipts and ride history are all stored in one place.

With rates typically averaging less than those of a taxi company, it makes sense that many have jumped in on the trend and continue to utilize Uber. Millennials have also chosen to forego purchasing or leasing cars in recent years and opt for public transportation and an affordable ride with a quick click, Uber saves them money on costs such as insurance, maintenance, gas, etc.

Many companies look to increase profits and continue to expand by offering additional products and services. Uber quickly jumped onboard and offers different options for riders such as limos or SUVs to accommodate larger groups. UberPOOL and UberEATS are other services the company provides, letting riders to share a trip with other passengers headed in the same direction with the perk of splitting the fare or allowing app-holders the option of ordering food delivery through the service respectively.

But as the saying goes, “every rose has its thorn.” Many companies have their downfalls, and though Uber has many positive features that have attracted 50 million users as of November 2017, some view the service as a risky choice. After all, you are throwing the “stranger danger” lesson out the window by getting in a stranger’s car.

Safety concerns are the number one reason that those who have not used the app might be hesitant to do so, though Uber rides are not much different than taxi cab services. Users can track their trip through a map on their app, so they can see the route they are scheduled to take. There is also an option to share their location, so friends and family members can know when to expect the rider. 

The rating feature of the app is something that also appeals to millennials. When a trip is completed, riders and drivers can rate one another based on the ride experience.

Although the company does run DMV and criminal background checks, claims of misconduct have been made against drivers found to have criminal backgrounds. But rest-assured, the app allows users to identify their driver and previous ratings prior to getting in the vehicle. Uber drivers who do not maintain a rating of 4.6 are at risk of losing driving privileges for the company.

 

Airbnb

When it comes to encountering a stranger’s house, as a child, the closest you would come, was knocking on the door to sell Girl Scout cookies or once a year for trick-or-treating. That is why some find the idea of renting or leasing a room out of a stranger’s house, apartment or condo for a reduced price, so nerve racking, or to some, intriguing. Airbnb is an online marketplace that provides users with an alternative for travel lodging arrangements. Depending on the destination, renting a home is a more practical choice when it comes to pricing and convenience.

The company recently revamped their website to be more user-friendly and visually appealing to viewers. Less-cluttered homepages, larger images, and easier-to-navigate screens are some of the things the company focused on when optimizing their mobile-use, which is great when trying to reach the phone loving millennials, and accounts for an estimated 20% of their business. 

Airbnb provides convenience when it comes to reviewing the ratings of the housing options they offer, showcasing the cleanliness and location of the property, communication with the host and accuracy of the listing. Much like Uber, the rating feature also allows users to leave personalized reviews regarding their experience, and likewise lets the host review their guests. When deciding where to stay on an upcoming vacation, reviews are the second most important factor for millennials, taking a backseat only to the attractions the destination has to offer. Fear not, millennial readers. Airbnb also features search options for tourists staying in different areas! Cooking classes, wine tastings, and taco tours galore! There is something for everyone.

Finally, when it comes to convenience offered – affordable rates for those making a quick solo business trip or groups of people looking for a communal space. The company reveals a complete breakdown of rates – ranging from the price of the space (be it room or entire house), to the cleaning fees, commission rate, etc. We’ve discussed how transparency in a company is important to building their brand, so with no hidden fees, it’s no wonder the company continues to be successful.

With over 17 million guests having used Airbnb, the company can brag that most of their reviews are positive, and users continue to return based on past experiences. But it shouldn’t be too surprising that the company has had their share of unpleasant situations – let’s be honest, there is always some degree of danger when it comes to anything online. Low and behold, the “stranger danger” mentality strikes again!

Claims of misconduct, theft, last-minute cancellations, and deplorable living conditions by hosts have been reported by customers who have experienced the short-end of the stick. It might not be the best option for those traveling solo due to safety concerns, without doing your homework first. Luckily for customers, they can count on millennials to leave an honest review, advising potential travelers of pros and cons (including any safety concerns) prior to booking a trip.

Airbnb now has a Trust and Safety team that is available for guests and hosts 24/7, highlighting the safety of users as their top priority. For hosts and guests in the United States, background checks are conducted. The company also stresses the importance of guests reading reviews prior to booking, as well as getting in contact with their hosts prior to their visit.

 

Convenience is key

Consumer concerns will always be present, regardless of the products and services your brand provides. But if your company takes the time to address the concerns and build trust among your audience, you are more likely to leave customers feeling more confident in your brand. Uber and Airbnb have had their fair share of troubles when it comes to issues surrounding their brand, but both quickly stepped in to offer solutions and alleviate concerns.

Providing customers with convenient experiences is the number one way companies can expect to earn repeat business. Companies that are proactive and constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience come across as more appealing to consumers. Making your websites and mobile apps user friendly and easy to navigate will hold the audience’s attention longer. If you offer the user the option of customizing a product, or tailoring a search based on their preferences, you are able to offer a more valuable experience as well.

Does your company offer convenience? Do you provide your audience with an easy and affordable experience? Does your brand promote trust?

Topics: millennials, User Experience, marketing


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