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These are the 8 things you need to know about marketing to millennials

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According to survey results shared on Forbes.com recently, a mere five percent of affluent millennials said they would prefer to mostly or only consult with an advisor about making financial decisions.

Following are eight strategies to connect with millennials and position yourself to become their trusted advisor.

talkWatch and talk with millennials. I’ve observed my millennial kids with their friends. They witnessed the recession in 2008 and some watched their parents or buddies’ parents struggle with it, and I think they are therefore conscious of the need not to spend foolishly or incur massive credit card debt, and have an interest – at a younger age than their parents – in retirement and saving money. You may be in a better position than you think to engage with millennials, so get started.

adaptAdapt your communication style. Be concise and be yourself. Flex to the millennial style; don’t mimic it. Recognize that they have distinct communication preferences. Just as boomers may not welcome a text or an email, the millennials I know would not sit down for a 90-minute meeting unless they thought it was not a meeting and that instead, they were going to be helped somehow.

herdUnderstand the herd mentality. I’ve noticed that Gen Yers like to go places together. In my day, when you went to the movies, you went with your date; now, 20 millennials may go together. Some may be dates and some may just be friends, but they roll as a group. Perhaps they’re most comfortable in a group environment. Regardless, I believe they still want to be respected as individuals.

educationTake an educational approach. From what I’ve seen, millennials don’t like sales pressure. If I were targeting millennials, I might say, “Hey, how about letting me buy lunch for you and some of your friends; I would just like to share some education with you – no pressure, no expectations, only a quick tutorial aimed at helping you be a smarter consumer.” I think that’s a more appropriate approach than, “Let me show you the internal rate of return you may get or how much cash you may accumulate.”

social mediaEnhance your social presence. If you’re talking with boomers, you might establish your credibility by sharing how long you’ve been in the industry, the type of customers you serve, recognition you’ve earned, etc., but to the millennials I know, those facts are irrelevant. Leverage your participation on social channels to build credibility with Gen Yers. Supplement your social presence with a website, but be sure it’s well designed and up to date.

volunteerShow your social consciousness. To foster mutually respectful relationships, align yourself with a community service or charitable cause, or with an environmental or social issue. As another recent article on Forbes.com points out, millennials are more likely than non-millennials to integrate their beliefs and causes into their choice of companies to support, their purchases and their day-to-day interactions.

free wifiOffer easy access to free Wi-Fi. I can relate to the need for this, having recently traveled internationally. Millennials seem to flock to locations with free Wi-Fi, so ensure it’s readily available where you’re meeting.

hire youthHire some millennial staff. Millennials value their peers. If you want to develop clients in the Gen Y group, consider employing and mentoring millennials. Our industry could use their energy and fresh perspectives.

In summary, I believe successfully connecting with and serving millennials hinges on tailoring your approach. Every Gen Yer is different, but the millennials I know respond well to the people and solutions they think are best suited to them, regardless of who or what came before.

Your parents may have kept their first color TV for 12 years, but the millennial market is on its sixth generation of iPhone and some of these prospects may be on their fourth jobs. Strive to be their first and last financial advisor by meeting them where they are and helping them move toward where they want to be.

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