Millennials, who were born between 1980 and 2000, are now in the midst of significant life changes, such as graduating, buying a first home, getting married and having children. They have also come of age during a time of swift technological change and economic disruption. They prefer doing things electronically, are innovators and are always looking for the next best product or solution in the marketplace.
For these reasons, what better time than now for financial institutions (FIs) to engage this influential group of consumers?
Although marketing to Millennials seems like a no brainer, FIs need to be strategic in their efforts. Tactics that work for older generations will most likely not yield the same results with Millenials. For example, because most Millenials carry high levels of student debt, certain financial products and services, such as mortgage loans, often come across as irrelevant. However, products like Apple Pay and EMV chip cards tend to appeal more to this audience – because innovative and mobile technologies are important to them.
What are some easy ways community-based FIs can increase engagement with this generation? Based on results from its study of Millennials’ attitudes and perceptions about banking, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) recommends these strategies:
- Create an Entrepreneur Advisory Board. Such a board is one way to actively engage, influence and take advice from the local entrepreneur community. With Millennials being the generation that most wants and intends to start their own business, a best practice would be to ensure Millennial entrepreneurs are represented.
- Make Millennials Feel like VIPs. ICBA’s study revealed Millennials, more than any other generation, feel as though FIs treat them like a number. This presents a tremendous opportunity for community FIs to distinguish themselves by showcasing how they treat each consumer as an individual, valued customer or member.
- Adapt to Millennials’ Communication Preferences. The ICBA study found Millennials are highly-visual learners and communicators. They have been conditioned to skip blocks of text and instead look for videos, photos and bullet points. They also naturally communicate through screens, such as smartphone or tablet screens. Keep these things in mind as you plan your Millennial marketing and communications strategies.