By Anthony O’Brien for Professional Planner, 21 May 2018

Millennials are about to surpass baby boomers as America’s most significant living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In Australia, it’s fair to say we’re headed in the same direction as the US. We also know the digital generation buy and consume products very differently to older generations, and have more disposable income according to the ABS.

Given the next generation’s burgeoning buying power and the imminent transfer of wealth expected from older to younger generations, the so called Millennial age cohort has become a lucrative client prospect for financial advisors.

For those marketing to Millennial clients, it’s important to ask whether what you’re doing is likely to resonate or is even in the right ballpark.

The digital generation doesn’t respond to advertising

For starters, I’ve read some research indicating that only 1 per cent of Millennials are influenced by advertising. The contemporary young adult is sceptical of marketing, making it challenging for businesses to cut-through to them.

However, it’s not a losing battle if you have the right strategy. For example, a recent Forbes magazine article found that 62 per cent of millennials will be loyal to a brand that engages them on social networks. Significantly, your products and services won’t influence this loyalty, a confounding development for sales specialist schooled in the methods of the past.

Rather Gen Ys need to understand what your brand represents and whether its values are compatible with theirs. This paradigm shift can be confronting for those traditional businesses unfamiliar with these conversations or who are reticent to make this information publicly available

Transparency is king

People are crucial to your business. Therefore, be sure that your customers receive the personal touch. This means they should see a compatible team of people passionate about meeting their needs. Furthermore, the conversation with Millennial customers shouldn’t just focus on money making either. Talk about your community involvement and the causes you and your employees support.
Also, seek out relevant topics to Millennials. Despite having higher average incomes than my generation, Gen Ys still face trials such as home ownership. Most planners have specific advice services to address these unique challenges – and if don’t have these strategies, get some under your belt fast. That said, steer clear of selling Millennials hard. Try and educate and build trust first.

Be social

As we discovered earlier, social media is critical to communicating with the digital generation. If you don’t have a content strategy for social media, you need to invest the time in building one.

Finding the right communications style is critical too. Millennials are comfortable with less formal communication – indeed they expect it.

You also need to decide how to manage social media interactions within the business. This activity means having an internal policy that sets practical guidelines so that your whole team can get involved in amplifying your content.

View your marketing with a new lens

There are always challenges involved in marketing to young adults. With every generation comes a new set of nuances to be absorbed.

That said, you don’t need to turn your marketing strategy upside down. However, you do need to evaluate your current activities through a different lens. The trouble is many owners are so close to their business that taking a step back is difficult. That’s why it’s always advisable to get external help. A fresh pair of eyes and an unobstructed view is valuable.