19 Jul Why you shouldn’t ignore Millennials
They’re young, they’re sharp, and they present a huge opportunity for advisors…..
Let’s face it, the majority of the financial service industry is starting to get up there in age. This fact was painfully brought to my attention by one of my coaching clients who told me he was having a challenge getting in front of “older” prospects. When I asked him to define “older” for me his response was – “You know, like 35!”. While I stand in my conviction that 35 is NOT old — nor is 45, 55, 65, etc., it did bring to light the fact that most of the financial services industry – even young advisors – is focused almost entirely on doing business with Boomers and Gen Xers. While this is an excellent strategy, we’re bypassing quite an opportunity.
While Millennials (currently at ages 18 – 34) have been labeled by Time magazine as the “Me Me Me Generation,” due to their perceived sense of narcissism and entitlement, this generation also possesses some extremely valuable qualities. They are entrepreneurial in spirit, and desire to leave their mark on the world. They are well informed and extremely tech savvy. They have a desire to build community, and are continually seeking information, much of this online. And, perhaps most importantly for advisors, a number of them are making some serious money — with even more poised to do so in the very near future.
Why then do advisors largely ignore this demographic? If you want to tap into this market, here are the things to consider:
Think in terms of “community” instead of “life stage”
Millennials are very different from previous generations, and because of this are often misunderstood. “Adulthood” doesn’t look quite the same as it did in generations past. These individuals grew up with far more choices and options than the rest of us, and due to that, there is no single path to being a grown-up. Due to the economy and other contributing factors, getting a job, getting married, and buying a house all look different to Millennials. It is not as simply as it once was in following that narrow path to adulthood — nor do Millennials want to. They want to do things differently, to forge their own way. It is important to realize this when working with this group.
Instead of speaking to different “life stages” as we often do (just got married, just had a baby, changed jobs, etc.), think in terms of “community.” What social causes are they drawn to that you also connect with? What activities or hobbies do they enjoy? What are their interests outside of their career?
I find my younger advisor clients are great at doing this, and subsequently get a lot of business from the relationships they build when they aren’t even trying. The key is to connect with Millennials on a truly genuine level, around something you both have a passion for.
Create & share relevant content
LinkedIn’s “Affluent Millennial Opportunity” study found 81% of affluent Millennials use social media to obtain information about financial products and services, compared to just 44 percent of Gen Xers. They are a population who solve problems by researching them online, and that make posting, tweeting and retweeting a critical part of each day. If you work with Millennials, you have to….let me repeat, HAVE TO create and share content they find relevant and engaging. Carve out time each day to do this.
Focus on engagement
More than prior generations, Millennials rely heavily on recommendations from their friends and peers, which means not only do you need to educate and engage, you also need to focus on building fans or brand ambassadors, who recommend and refer you, and who proactively share with others the value you can bring them.
You can educate and share until your heart’s content, but if you don’t engage your audience and to get them talking (positively) about you online and off, you will become nothing more than mere noise in their already crowded digital world.
Don’t ignore mobile marketing
Millennials live and breathe by their smartphone. While most firms aren’t ready to launch a big mobile marketing campaign (although the ones who have are seeing tremendous success), there are some basics to tackle.
Is your website optimized for mobile? Do your landing pages load quickly, or are too many graphics slowing down the load time? Do you have a call-to-action, allowing visitors to your site to easily connect and engage with you?
Millennials are a unique and potentially prosperous generation to an advisors’ practice. It’s time to bring them into the mix!