Marketing to the Generations: How to Connect with Millennials

Posted by Emily Lange Rodecker on August 8, 2014


Millennials are an increasingly sought-after group when it comes to financial services. According to a report by Nielson, the Millennial generation, or Generation Y as they’re also known, consists of 77 million individuals born between 1977 and 1995 – that’s close to 24% of the population. And while they may not have the affluence of the Baby Boomers just yet, their burgeoning careers and bank accounts make millennials a prime audience for the financial services sector. In the first of this series on connecting with different generations, we will talk about what makes Millennials tick.

81% of millennials check Twitter at least once a day. And while recent research shows that a big reason they’re so active on social media is to stave off boredom, it’s not all adorable kitten videos and hilarious gifs. They’re using social media to access all kinds of information; from restaurant recommendations and travel tips to – you guessed it – how to manage and improve their finances. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Facebook looked at how recent college graduates use the social network post graduation, and found that both male and female grads use Facebook to stay up to date on financial services.

It’s no surprise -- Millennials are the most educated generation, with 23% holding a bachelor’s degree and 39% still in school. As these scholastic 20-and 30-somethings continue their educations, they’re often racking up quite a bit of student loans. So knowing how to manage their current and future incomes is a major concern for Millennials. Because information is at their fingertips, many Millennials feel they can handle their financial services themselves. In fact, younger Millennials are 41% less likely to use a financial advisor, older millennials are 34% less likely to use one.

So how do you reach out to this demographic to help them understand that a financial advisor or more advanced financial services would be to their benefit?

Social Media

They’re not called the social generation for nothin’. This demographic created social media, and have grown up using it. It’s as much a part of their lives as brushing their teeth or putting on deodorant (or so we hope…). Make sure you and your work are present on the social channels your audience uses most. Interact with your client base, share information that shows you know what you’re talking about, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of your target audience. They like being heard, and seeing their ideas and suggestions used.

Traditional marketing is lost on Millennials –they have grown up with so much visual overwhelm that it takes a lot more than a flashy banner ad, TV spot, or radio jingle to catch their attention. Cross-platform campaigns that speak more to reaching them on a customer service level than a hard-selling approach will have much more of an impact.

Keep It Simple

The immediacy addiction means getting and holding Millennials attention isn’t easy. So don’t weigh them down with drawn out explanations or flower words. Just stay short and to the point – making it as simple as possible to digest the information you’re wanting to get across.

ryansfaceDon’t expect Millennials to follow the same financial planning processes of their elder predecessors. Where face-to-face meetings on a regular basis might have worked for your baby boomer clients, email exchanges, texts, and short screen sharing calls are the preferred method of contact for millennials. The faster they read and comprehend your message, the sooner they can act on it and share it with their peers. - Ryan Bell, CEO Gremln


Technology and Timing

Thanks to smartphones and growing up with faster and faster Internet connections, Millennials expect immediate access to information. They rely on Internet searches to provide in depth information at a moment’s notice – and rarely make a purchasing decision without their online due diligence: seeing what friends have said about certain products and services, and comparing that against general reviews and online conversations. They expect authenticity, immediate attention, and personal connections with brands and services, yes – but they also expect to be able to access all this through their smartphones and the internet or in person at the bank. If you can reach them where they are, when they want you – you’re that much more likely to inspire the millennial customers to be advocates and brand ambassadors for your company.

Trust is a big factor. Coming of age at a time when banks have had a lot of negative media attention has caused Millennials to be extremely wary of big banks and those in the financial sector. Showing that you care about your customers – and are willing to bridge a connection – can make a big difference. The more you are willing to show your personal side, and expand your outreach to include the technology and media that Millennials use on a regular basis – the more likely you are to show your value to this next generation of potential customers.

Topics: financial services, Marketing, Millenials, social media, Social Media, social media for banking, Social Media for Banking, twitter

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