What do you think of when you hear the word ‘millennial’? This term, while simply a descriptor for those born between 1980 and 2000, has garnered some negative connotations. And for financial advisors, millennials can be elusive, with the Financial Times reporting that only 6% of 18 – 34 year olds took financial advice in 2017.i
Knowledge is power, so who makes up this demographic, what motivates them and how do you reach them?
Who are the millennials?
While a 20 year old is considered a millennial, so is a 39 year old. While the 1980 – 2000 date range appears to be the most widely accepted timespan for defining millennials, other sources suggest the generation starts from 1977 and ends at 1996. Regardless of the specific dates, the millennial group encompasses huge variances in life experiences and milestones, with wide ranging needs for financial advice.
According to Millennial Marketing, 53% of US millennial households have children.ii While a younger millennial may be studying or entering the workforce, an older millennial is more likely to be juggling work, family life, paying off a mortgage and perhaps even thinking more deeply about retirement.
Challenging your assumptions
Forbes honed in on the negative assumptions often made about millennials: “Older generations stereotype millennials as being lazy, entitled, not focused and narcissistic … [but] millennials have a lot of pride in that they have faced massive amounts of adversity with a poor economy,” said an interviewee.iii
Consider what your own pre-conceptions of millennials are, challenging yourself to delve deeper and keep an open mind.
Reaching this demographic
If you’re not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’re missing out on the perfect opportunity to reach millennials. 90.4% of millennials are active social media users, compared to just 48.2% of baby boomers.iv
Searching online for information before asking for help is the norm for this generation, who grew up with technology and are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of tech than other generations.v Strengthen your SEO by adding key terms to your website and social feeds and including descriptors for any videos you post to improve your reach. Videos are a great way to attract and retain this audience. As millennials consume information in a different way, they’re more likely to be engaged with interactive content.
Word of mouth is also key, something Facebook utilises with their ‘Recommendation’ feature – an easy way for people to get information without having to pick up the phone (jokingly referred to as a millenial’s worst nightmare!).
Millennial Marketing reports that 70% of millennials feel a responsibility to share feedback with companies after a good or bad experience, so this is a demographic confident about communicating their needs and wants.vi
Understanding their buying habits
Forbes found that compared to older generations, millennials spend more per annum on groceries and eating out, petrol, their mobile phone and electronics, clothing and hobbies. They reported that while it’s not uncommon for millennials to have less than $1000 (US) in savings, they also have less credit card debt and are making fewer car purchases than other generations.vii
Understanding what millennials are spending their money on shows what their priorities are, which helps you focus financial advice on what is most important to them; this should inform the content you create and the conversations you have with your millennial customers.