In 2019, millennials (the folks born between 1985 and 1996) are slated to outnumber Baby Boomers, becoming the largest generation in the US history. While their love for avocado toast is no big secret, they are also some of the most dominant and dynamic consumers. With a population of around 71 million and spending muscle of a whopping $200 billion, American millennials are a formidable force to reckon with in the marketplace.
Despite this, banks and top-tier credit unions are yet to find the winning formula when it comes to marketing their services to millennials. Perhaps they focused way too long on Baby Boomers and put millennials on the backburner. And to make matters worse, fintech startups seem to strike a chord with millennials, giving banks a run for their money.
Which begs the question: how can banks get a handle on their marketing to millennials? To appeal to millennials, banks have to go back to the drawing board and rethink their one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. If they don’t, banks will certainly lose their grip on this vital generational customer base.
In this article, we are going to walk you through a few insights and tips that banks can use to take their millennial marketing to the next level.
Tap Into Social Media
Millennials have an affinity for digital channels, and social media is their playground. They don’t just log onto their social media accounts to read comments and post photos; millennials also engage with their favorite brands and look for financial advice & buying inspiration. In fact, 62 percent of millennials say that they’re more likely to become loyal to a brand that engages with them on social media platforms.
The trouble is that most banks don’t know how to use social media to build brand loyalty and market their services. And a recent study confirms it: 87 percent of online users think banks are annoying, unhelpful, and downright boring when it comes to their social media use. Here are a few tips for marketing to millennials on social media:
- Create relevant content that resonates with them, whether posts, articles, photos, video, etc.
- Use live video to interact and build rapport – millennials love up close interactions
- Leverage the power of micro-influencers – these could be industry thought leaders, social media users with a huge following, and other personalities
- Nurture relationships, not sales – millennials value experience more than anything else. So, focus your social media marketing to building trust and credibility through valuable and genuine customer contact, personalized services, and outreach.
- Build conversations (and buzz) around your brand – leverage user-generated content and hashtags to get millennials speaking about your brand and services. Micro-influencers can also come in especially useful here.
- Take your customer service to social media – respond timely to complaints, service requests, and acknowledge feedback.
Leverage the Power of Voice Search
Voice search has been touted as the next big thing in digital marketing, and with good reason. In the era of the Internet of Things, voice assistants will continue to take center-stage. In fact, according to HealthcareWeekly, 40 percent of adult Americans use voice search on a daily basis. Moreover, it’s projected that 60 million Americans will use voice-enabled gadgets at least once every month to search for something online in 2019. Of more importance to banks, however, is that millennials account for 34 percent of regular users of voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Voice, and Cortana.
With that, it’s clear that banks have to stay on top of their voice search marketing strategies. They have to produce and optimize their content for voice search. More crucially, banks have to create Alexa skills to conveniently help customers to gain access to important banking information and services.
Focus on Debt Management
Let’s be candid; most millennials are wrestling with debt, including hefty mortgages, credit card debt, student loans, and whatnot. It doesn’t help that most of them joined the workforce when the financial crisis was at its peak. While this isn’t true for every millennial, it is a crucial clue for banks to center their marketing campaigns on offering nifty solutions for debt payoff and control.
They should also focus their marketing on wealth management, savings, budgeting, and wise spending … the things millennials actually care about. And there are studies to back this claim. For example, a recent survey conducted by the FINRA Foundation revealed that 46 percent of millennials believe that they are in too much debt and could use solutions that’d help them reduce and manage it.
Keep a Strong Online/Digital Presence
Again, millennials have a strong preference for all things digital. They shop online. They seek financial advice online. They socialize online. So, why not follow their lead?
Did you know that 27 percent of millennials say that they’ve not been to a local bank branch, but only used their bank’s online services, in the last 12 months? That’s a huge wake-up call for banks. As such, banks have to create a full suite of digital banking services to complement their marketing efforts, banking apps, digital portfolio & debt management, and so forth.
Since millennials don’t fancy human interaction, banks can also:
- Offer digital customer services platforms, including chatbots, live chat, social tools, etc
- Provide self-service digital solutions
- Create strong and rich FAQ pages
- Enrich their websites with relevant information and make them easy to navigate
Generate Educational Content
Besides experience, Millennials are also after value and relevance. That’s why you need to stay on top of your content, including blogs, articles, on-site video, and so on. After all, content marketing is significantly affordable. In fact, according to Digital Authority, marketing through content costs up to 41 percent less per lead than paid search. The trick is to keep your content educational and in line with what millennials are concerned about. Don’t forget to stay true to your bank’s core principles and promises.
An American millennial spends more than 5 hours on mobile devices. What’s more, millennials account for 43 percent of all mobile users. So, if banks want to win over millennials, they have to spruce up their websites to enhance mobile use. That means your mobile experience should offer the same, if not better, functionality and ease of use.
Marketing your banking services to millennials don’t have to be daunting. It’s crucial to stay true to your brand’s image and promises. But, more importantly, offer value and rich experience by engaging them online, focusing on their touch-button issues, and going mobile.