Stop Ignoring Millennials: They’re The Future of Your Company

Stop Ignoring Millennials- They’re The Future of Your Company

By Lauren Hong

Post originally published in Advisor Perspectives

Millennials are bucking trends day-in and day-out. As of 2013, they’re officially the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. As a financial advisor, you cannot ignore them. Here’s how to include millennials in your marketing plan.

First, take the time to understand the generation better so that you can tailor your marketing message in a way that speaks directly to them.

Who are the millennials?

Millennials were born between 1982 and 2004, making them anywhere from 11 to 33 years old today.

Millennials have a few notable traits that significantly set them apart from the generations that came before them:

  • They’ve broken from tradition when it comes to families. Millennials aren’t in any rush; they’re marrying and starting families later. Of the 18-33-year old population, 26% are married. According to research from Pew shared on Huffington Post, 36% of Generation X and 48% of Baby Boomers were married during that same age range.
  • They’re burdened with massive education debt. Easily qualified as the most educated generation – in part due to extreme costs, but also largely due to the Great Recession that killed the job market and encouraged graduate school – millennials are finding themselves with lingering debt.
  • They’re less likely to be homeowners at a “young” age. Not forgoing homeownership altogether, millennials are waiting longer to make the move. The White House reports three factors at play here: the job market, continued education and delayed marriage.
  • They’ve fundamentally shifted the way we communicate. Not only are millennials majorly influenced by technology, but they’re also the ones influencing the way technology develops – both as users and creators. Millennials were pioneers in social media and digital communication, turning the advertising and marketing world up on its head. They’ve given an entirely new importance to the terms “networking” and “communities.”

Millennials are a fascinating generation. Often assumed to be narcissistic, millennials simply grew up in a time of abundant choices, and they’re making the most of them. Why does this matter to you as a financial advisor? This passion-seeking, selfie-taking generation is, quite literally, the future of your company.

Adapting to the social media generation.

Now that you have a better understanding of who millennials are, it’s time to start a conversation with them.

Not quite sure how to begin? Try these tips:

  1. Engage them. Don’t tell them what to do, but engage them and ask for their opinion. Social media is the best place to start a conversation. Go on Twitter or Facebook and pose questions such as “Do you find it hard to save for retirement and pay off student loans at the same time?”
  2. Talk about their values. Millennials are typically not homeowners, so they usually don’t care about estate planning. Instead, try talking with them about a new app for managing their finances. Then they will be more likely to listen because they highly value technology and efficiency.
  3. Add value to their life. Millennials typically push away from tradition. They like to pave their own way. However, they are always keen to hear helpful tips to make their journey a bit smoother. Give them tips that can help them to pursue their passions. You might suggest tax write-offs when starting their new business or funding options for startups.

Once you understand millennials, you’ll realize it’s time to get a little uncomfortable in your marketing.

Marketing that matches millennials.

Direct mail and billboards aren’t the way to a millennial’s heart. Your digital strategy is more important than ever before.

Start with your website. Is it modern, easy to navigate and responsive to mobile devices? These three points are non-negotiable.

Switch up your channels. Millennials might not be receiving a daily newspaper on their doorstep, but you better believe they’re checking in on their favorite blogs daily and refreshing their Twitter feed every chance they get. Speak to them in their language. Be realistic. Choose 1-3 social media platforms, create a sustainable plan and do it well.

Support a cause. Social causes rank among the top priorities of millennials. In fact, Crain’s Chicago Business lists corporate social responsibility as the millennials’ “new religion.” Give millennials a cause to get behind, and their loyalty to your brand will skyrocket.

Marketing to millennials takes a mindset shift. Once you embrace that, you can have a lot of fun. The best time to get started? Now. After all, millennials are growing up, and who better to serve their financial futures than you and your business?