Monday, January 28, 2013

Beware, Millenial on Board!

Recently, I attended a regional retreat in Chicago. Chapter leaders from the American Marketing Association met to review best practices and share ideas about advancing the profession, connect with others and generally learning from each other. It was during a lunch break that I met Emily. She is an account manager from and advertising firm in Iowa.

The Iowa chapter researched travel options and decided to try the MegaBus. The cost per person was just $39 and has a convenient and a routine departure from Des Moines at 8:00 a.m. The trip was advertised to be a civilized 6 hour 20 minutes. So Emily was among the four Iowa chapter leaders who travelled from Des Moines to Chicago via MegaBus.

Emily’s account of the trip had me laughing almost from the start. Her story started with the planning and preparation for their chapter trip and meeting up at the bus terminal in Des Moines. She and her chapter colleagues were underwhelmed by the experience. The bus was too hot and crowded. Emily responded as many Millenials would, by tweeting, “OMG, this is a bus trip from hell. It’s hot. Every seat is filled – no room to stretch. 6 hours and 20 minutes to Chicago.” A few hours into the trip, Emily wondered how fast they were moving. So again in step with how a Millenial might respond, she downloaded an App. The App allowed her to determine the bus was only traveling between 49-52 miles an hour. She tweeted again, “I can’t believe this. I will NOT recommend MegaBus to anyone…Ever!”

Emily and her colleagues arrived in Chicago, albeit behind schedule, and as they thought about the adventure, they joked and shared amusement and a little bit of dread about the return trip. Generational differences present particularly as the digital age changes how we communicate and how we respond to the world around us. Emily’s story is a good illustration. MegaBus, on the face of things, offered a reasonable value ($39 for a trip of 350 miles). However, they might need to look after a few details related to customer satisfaction. Emily belongs to a generation born after 1982. If you are running a bus line and expect to transport Millenials, you better be ready for immediate and brutally honest customer reactions.

The reality is something to think about. How will you plan your marketing in the face of instant communication and feedback?

No comments: