The Set It and Forget It Mentality of Millennials

The Set It and Forget It Mentality of Millennials


The set it and forget it mentality is becoming increasingly prevalent in the ever-evolving relationship between brands and Millennials. What do I mean by set it and forget it? One of the things we know about Millennials is that they would rather make an investment with their time at the beginning of a relationship with a new brand, then continuously throughout the duration of the relationship. If a brand can promise ongoing value without the hassle of ongoing management, Millennials are sold. This allows them to focus on and pursue the things they are most passionate about in life. This is absolutely critical to Millennials, 79% of whom define themselves more by their personal success than their professional success. Millennials believe that if they involve themselves in a certain degree of setting it at the beginning of a relationship, the brand will honor its promise and allow the Millennial to then responsibly forget it. As long as the brand continues to deliver throughout the course of the relationship, the responsible forgetfulness will continue to proliferate. It is also critical to note that this entire relationship is facilitated through technology with little to no human interaction. Millennials are two to three times as likely to trust their data to technology, particularly if that technology is recommended by a friend.


Now consider Baby Boomers, whose expectation is quite literally antithetical to that of the Millennial generation. Boomers expect and demand ongoing brand / consumer interplay for the duration of the relationship. The human connection is paramount to their experience. The interface is real-time and in person, at the very least it’s a phone call. In a forgettable scene from the movie Boiler Room, Jamie Kennedy’s character says, “If the stock falls she’ll call you everyday and God forbid the stock goes up, she’ll call you every fifteen minutes.” Substitute “she” for Boomers and the message is tantamount. Boomers believe that constant contact is not only their right, but their responsibility. Conversely, Millennials believe that trusting others to do their job allows them the freedom to take on other responsibilities. They would rather provide the setup and then stand back.


         Using financial planning as an example, Boomers expect ongoing reports at regular intervals. They want to be able to manage the planners who are managing their money – even if they personally have no financial experience to speak of. Still, it is critical for Boomers to be able to call up their financial planner whenever they see fit. Millennials just aren’t at all interested in this. They trust companies like Wealthfront to deliver on their promise, if that promise speaks to them in a personalized and authentic way. Wealthfront exemplifies the set it and forget it mentality. Wealthfront “builds and manages your personalized, globally diversified investment portfolio, as the world’s largest and fastest growing, automated investment service.” This company requires your data input upfront to provide a personalized financial plan that they then, in a completely automated fashion, execute over a period of time determined by you. Wealthfront can quite literally make or manage millions of your dollars without you ever having to communicate with a live individual – a scenario most Boomers would characterize as nightmarish.

Wealthfront-copy _1_Billion_in_2_5_Years_-_Wealthfront_Knowledge_Center

The typical private wealth manager will take a 1% to 1.5% management fee on the portfolio. Wealthfront takes a .25% fee. Currently Wealthfront manages over 2 billion in assets. They have done this in three and half years which is faster than Charles Schwab. So clearly this model is working and causing all kinds of disruption in the financial industry. Marc Andreesen says, “The disruption happens when software eliminates an expensive middleman with no discernible loss of quality.” If there is no discernible loss of quality, and companies like Wealthfront save you not only money, but time… To quote Marc Cuban, this is a reasonable ROT, or return on time. Cuban understands that time is one of the most valuable commodities.


My point is that maybe Millennials are really on to something here. They do understand their time is valuable. Who doesn’t? But unlike Boomers, Millennials are willing to do something about it. They actively practice set it and forget it. This is their mentality and their mantra. Why try to intervene in an area where they have no expertise? Even when planners are involved, Boomers still spend countless hours educating themselves on playing the stock market; Millennials spend a handful of hours researching an automated technology to play the stock market for them. Because this costs less and provides better ROT, it certainly would seem like Millennials are getting the better deal. Or are they just being lazy? Too trusting?

Good? Bad? Right? Wrong? Or perhaps too soon to tell? If Millennials continue to set it and forget it, then companies will continue to automate business models in an attempt to deliver the same returns with no discernible loss of quality. If this happens at scale, the services industry will never again be the same. One thing is for sure, the table is set for a generation lobbying for responsible forgetfulness, and who knows where that may lead?



3 Things That Need to Happen in Pharma for Customer-Centricity to Work


3 Things That Need to Happen in Pharma for Customer-Centricity to Work

Anyone who’s recently been to a conference, summit, pitch, health Meetup, or simply uses the internet, has surely heard of this thing we call customer-centricity. Essentially, it just means putting our customer at the center of the equation. For FMCG, Consumer Electronics and Retail this would seem like old hat, but for health, forever late to the party, it’s proved to be a bit of a revelation, one of which we are taking some serious ownership. You would have thought we’d invented it but alas… The catch-22 here is that, if our customer i.e. the patient or HCP is at the center of the equation, where does that leave the brand? See what I’m getting at? Brand-centricity has been a staple in health strategy for as long as there has been such a thing. To convince a brand that their customers are now at the epicenter is easier said than done. And therein lies the problem.

Many brand marketers are talking about customer-centricity like they really want to like it. It’s similar to America’s relationship with kale. In theory we love it, but in practice we just can’t quite figure out what to do with it. For brand marketers, maybe they don’t have the blueprint, maybe operationally their organizations make it difficult. Or maybe they just don’t understand it, although I’d really like to believe that they do. It’s just, for all this talk, there seems to be very little substantial action. But I’m still encouraged.

Social listening is now being utilized at the majority of top Pharma companies. Social insights are being used for planning, market research is pulling in data from social platforms, and health strategies are at least, taking into consideration what’s happening in the social sphere. It’s the execution that’s lacking. For a company to truly be customer-centric, then an actual customer needs to be able to connect with that company directly, authentically, and immediately.

1. Connect Directly: this is difficult and understandably so. In a regulated environment, to open up a direct and possibly public communication channel between brand and customer, could be a liability for all the reasons you already know, not the least of which is an AE. To address this, brands need to have insight into the platforms they are engaging on and they need to understand the technology that can plug into those platforms. This could mean a pre-moderation tool, an alert system, triage plan, etc. The point is that it can be done and it has been done already. But it isn’t easy. Customer-centricity presents a complete overhaul to the way we currently do business. It shouldn’t be easy. But it will be incredibly rewarding, not to mention inevitable. It’s up to you if you want to address this now proactively, or reactively in the future.

2. Connect Authentically: by this I mean making a real connection. I’m sure at this point you’ve tried everything under the sun to connect with your customers, making it seem authentic without rocking the regulatory boat. I’ve seen and participated in experiences that used canned responses, drop-down lists, quizzes, radio boxes, even connect the dots on an iPad. Although these are certainly steps in the right direction, as well as good ancillary engagement tools, they will never replace the desire that a customer has for making a direct connection. We could have another conversation about Millennials and their desire for automation and efficiency, but research still shows that if they have an issue, they want to connect with a real person. I didn’t say “talk”. They love the “click-here-to-chat-with-a-live-representative” button on say, a Verizon website, but the ability to actually make the connection isn’t going away any time soon.

3. Connect Immediately: The standard, multi week review times for MLR aren’t going to cut it here. If an environment is created that allows a customer to ask a question, only for the customer to then have to wait fourteen days for a response, then the entire interaction is nullified. Operationally there needs to be some level of internal restructuring that allows for the right regulatory bodies to review response content in a timely fashion. Even the few social Pharma experiences that have been created aren’t setup to facilitate a true ongoing dialogue. It’s fantastic that they’ve come as far as they have with a desire to push the boundaries, but they are still very “one and done”. We need to take it a step further in order to be at a point where we can say yes to customer-centricity…and mean it.

Customer-centricity is more than a fad, it’s a model that embraces the rapid changes in society and the emergence of the fickle, opinionated, hyper-connected, cord-cutting, over-sharing, tech-savvy, instant-gratification loving, Millennial generation. Just as other industries have adopted customer-centric models to appeal to this generation (not to mention Boomers who are also extremely relevant to the conversation), isn’t it high time Pharma followed suit, instead of just paying lip service?

For more information on customer-centricity and it’s role in regulated environments, please reach out to and we’d be more than happy to talk it out.