The medium is just as important as the message when marketing to millennial investors, according to a new report from Cerulli Associates for asset managers that could just as easily apply to financial advisors.
“Younger investors need to be seen separately in marketing, so it is crucial to identify products that are more likely to appeal to them,” according to the report. “However, in marketing, some of the important differences can lie in the medium as much as the offering.”
Social media, including Facebook and Twitter, “is an obvious route for reaching millennials,” but should not be used exclusively, according to the Cerulli report. “Young people spend nearly twice as much time reading print newspapers [as] online and app editions of news brands,” the report notes citing a study from two European universities — one in London, the other in Munich — of British millennials.
(Related: Vanguard Faces Pushback From Other Firms)
Still, when Vanguard wanted to raise its European profile after launching its online platform in the U.K. last May, it spent far more on social media than on traditional marketing, and it was able to mine data on the platform to tailor marketing to those investors.
Vanguard uses the data to help identify which investors are more likely to withdraw money during a market downturn and can then advise those clients not to overreact or direct them towards certain funds.
The report notes throughout that generalizations about millennials can be misleading. For example, although millennials tend to be more comfortable with digital platforms, the Italian robo-advisor MoneyFarm found after it had launched that the typical customer was a man in his 40s rather than a younger millennial.