According to a recent study by Accenture, more than $30 trillion will transfer from the Baby Boomer generation to Generations X and Y in the coming years. While this windfall is great news for financial planners and advisers, it must be met with a new approach to the stewards of these financial resources.
Marketers, take note: Learning how the next generation saves holds the key to how they spend. Not all of that wealth will be squirrelled away into savings.
This new generation of investors has expectations of financial planning that are not the same as their parents. This results from a different outlook on how they lead their lives and how they interact with the world around them. In the research and interviews I’ve conducted with members of Gens X and Y, I found that their expectations are further influenced by:
• Witnessing entire industries and jobs disappear;
• Seeing and often experiencing their parents’ financial struggles;
• Easy access to information to make informed decisions;
• Grim job prospects; and the fact that
• The safest places to place their money have below inflation returns.
The financial planner sitting behind the big oak desk in the wood-paneled office that educates clients in pursuit of golden years’ retirement isn’t relatable (or even plausible) for today’s Generation X or Y worker.
So how do you reach these generations and influence their financial decision-making? Here are some tips for creating your content strategy:
Emphasize Near-Term Experiences And Goals
Instead of talking about “the golden years” or “how much money they will need in retirement,” emphasize the ability to do what they want to do when they want to do it. The freedom to make near-term choices is far more important than the far-off goal of retirement.
And the ability to retire isn’t that appealing. Few Millennials in our study believe that they will ever retire; they know that they will likely change jobs multiple times throughout their career, and they want the flexibility to take time to do “something fun” while they are young.
Parents Do Matter
Millennials are comfortable talking with their parents to help them make financial decisions. Equipping parents with easy-to-share-and-consume content can be an effective approach and will help get the conversation started, which is the biggest obstacle between these generations. Parents are used to keeping financial matters private.
Building branded campaigns that focus on building a bridge between parents and their children can be the easiest way to reduce the likelihood the money will be moved when the assets change hands later.
Emphasize Small Changes In Behavior
Instead of scare tactics around the amount needed to retire or even the power of long-term compound interest, show these generations how their behaviors today can let them accomplish something that they want in the near term. A practical guide toward an attainable goal with elements of gamification is a successful approach.
Remember, Millennials are used to instant everything. Planning for a secure financial future sometime down the road will be a hard sell. Tap into their always-on approach to the world for better engagement and marketing success.
Discuss Social Impact
These generations, especially Millennials, are concerned with social impact. They want to know how the money they are investing is making the world a better place. This can be direct impact or with organizations that “do no harm.”
Social impact can also mean saving money and securing their own personal future in a way that will allow them to make a personal social impact, for example, with a second career that lets them give back in a meaningful way.
Meet Them Where They Are
Understanding what content appeals to this digitally native generation and providing what they expect is the key to engaging and maintaining a conversation with this important group of investors.
Craft a multichannel marketing strategy that meets individual needs across the spectrum. Allow individuals to express what they care about, and pay close attention to preferred channels, which change as quickly as the technology does. Spend some time talking with younger investors, even if they aren’t one of your most profitable customer segments today. Evaluate their behaviors and deep dive what they tell you about their preferred type of communications and channels.
If you are just now considering SMS, you are already behind. The speed with which your enterprise can pivot to meet these needs is likely slower than new technology is introduced. You need to implement technology that allows you to collect, use, and easily open channels as your marketing strategies progress.