Not Great Expectations

Welcome to my world. I’m not going to lie – overall it’s pretty awesome. It’s fun, weird, creative, but also at times incredibly annoying. For example, do you want to know what I hear ALL DAY LONG? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.

“Millennials have an unrealistic sense of entitlement”

“Millennials feel entitled to anything and everything”

“Trophy kids”

So admittedly I hear more than this all day, like how we don’t spend money on wine (bull) and how we’re just not “mature” enough to understand how wine is marketed (I throw up a little everytime I hear variations on this theme) – but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about entitlement and expectations.

Now, if you are the parent of a millennial and you want to wax poetic to me about how your kids have a sense of entitlement, go for it. If you are in HR and want to vent to me about the generation’s unrealistic expectations in our careers, have at it.

It’s fine. You’re talking about your children or your employees.

HOWEVER.

If you are marketing wine and you are talking about this demographic, you are talking about potential consumers. Potential CUSTOMERS. You are not talking about the fruit of your loins or an employee. You’re talking about a person whose money you would like to have in your pocket. We are no longer talking about ENTITLEMENT. We are talking about EXPECTATIONS.

Which brings me to my next point.

EVERYBODY is talking about how millennials expect special treatment. Let me break this down for you, wine industry. In two easy to digest layers.

1) Go find the person that’s in charge of your wine club. Seriously. Find ‘em? Good. Now ask them if your wine club members expect special treatment. They will either a) laugh in your face b) dismiss you with a quick yes and get back to that newsletter they’ve been working on or c) they will think that you are asking them a trick question. If you are their boss, it will almost certainly be c). The reason I’ve asked you to do this little experiment is to show you that EVERY customer you have expects special treatment. You are not a diner in Queens – people do not expect to give you their money and be treated poorly – or vice versa. This goes for any customer of any age.

 

2) Let’s say that millennials are  NOT your customers – they aren’t in your wine club. You WANT them, but if they expect special treatment from you is it really worth all the extra effort just to get them in the door? I won’t answer that for you in this post (read the rest of the blog for the answer), but what I CAN say is this:

CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, millennials do not expect special treatment from you, wine industry. In fact, millennials don’t really expect much. In my experience, millennials expect you to be dismissive of them, they expect you to be somewhat snobbish, they expect you to pretty much act like every other US winery, in other words. And congratulations, you’re doing a great job so far.

Just like any consumer, if millennials don’t like you, we just won’t by your stuff. We’re not begging for you to change and we CERTAINLY don’t expect you to. There’s plenty of other wine out there to purchase. And we’re buying it. The person that’s begging you to change is ME. Personally myself, Leah Hennessy of Millennier, who also happens to be a millennial, I EXPECT YOU TO CHANGE if you want to make some cash off of this generation. Learn about us. Respect us as consumers and as wine drinkers. Learn to communicate with us. I, personally, expect you to give millennials special treatment because consumers deserve special treatment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you don’t want us as consumers, then don’t worry about changing.

The expectations that we SHOULD be talking about are those of the wine industry. Marketers EXPECT the same old marketing tactics that have been in use for the last 40 years to still be effective on a new generation of wine drinkers. They EXPECT that simply by starting a facebook page that every millennial will crawl out of the woodwork to buy their wine. They EXPECT that 70 million people with a proven dislike for wine’s “attitude” will just “grow into it.” And finally (and my favorite) they EXPECT to not change a thing, not change the way they communicate, not change the way they view an entire generation and they EXPECT to make money off of millennials in return.

Let’s think about that. Whose expectations really need to change?