How To Market To Millennial Financial Clients

As client demographics change and the population ages, it is necessary for financial firms to effectively identify and engage new key client groups. One of the most important of these, if not the most important, are millennials. Many firms struggle to attract and effectively retain clients from this specific group. In this article, we will identify exactly what millennials want and expect from their financial institutions, along with how firms can engage and hold onto millennial clients for generations to come.

Why Do Financial and Investment Firms Need to Focus on Millennials?

To many financial firms, millennials aren’t an important group to target since many are still young and the perception is that they just don’t have the asset base to make it worthwhile. However, they are set to become the largest living generation in the United States and inherit the greatest transfer of wealth in history.(1) Millennials have finally established themselves in the economy and they have, or will soon have, financial assets to take care of. While millennials are becoming more and more educated with increasing financial responsibility, the time to market to them is now. 48% of millennials feel the need to switch financial advisors because they feel they are not understood or their needs are not being met, and even more alarming is 66% of heirs fire their parents’ financial advisors immediately after they obtain their inheritance.(2,3) This means there’s a large market for millennial financial clients which is good news for financial firms looking to bring in more clients, especially as their current book ages.

What do Millennials Want?

To appeal to this clientele, it is critical to identify what exactly it is they want and expect from financial service firms, as well as to establish how your firm can stand out from the competition when marketing to this demographic. Four of the biggest issues for millennials when it comes to financial firms are:

  •          Trust in the financial services sector
  •          Outdated digital technology
  •          Misalignment with personal values
  •          Lack of adequate financial plans

Trust Issues with Financial Firms

One of the biggest points of contention millennials have with financial firms is that they often do not trust financial institutions or the people who work for them. Transparency issues lie with financial firms not clearly stating the prices and fees of their services or hiding the stipulations that come with them. Millennials are used to searching the web and accessing information at the touch of their fingertips, so it doesn’t bode well for firms to hide their prices and terms in convoluted technical terminology. One of the easiest ways to attract the interest of millennials is to be upfront about the fees and services offered without using confusing financial language. The easier it is for millennials to understand what a firm is offering, the more likely it is that they will be interested and look back to that firm for financial guidance. Being able to clarify services into straightforward and concise information is an easy way to garner millennial interest.

To see more tips on how to build trust across your brand, click here.

The Digital Age and Heightened Expectations

Another issue millennials have with financial firms is that they feel many are out of touch with the current digital age. Millennials came of age during the internet explosion, and this has directly impacted how they interact and communicate. Because they have grown up surrounded by the latest technology, everything is expected to be in app form or through some robust digital “experience”. Apps are no longer considered a luxury for financial institutions but rather a necessity. In a typical month, millennials log into their primary financial account using a mobile app 8.5 times versus 3.1 times for non-millennials.(4) There’s no question that millennials look to mobile apps as necessary tools when it comes to managing their finances. [insert graphic of mobile phone with apps] Firms looking to attract and retain millennials must prioritize and streamline their digital applications because just having a website is simply not enough for app-oriented millennials. Firms need to have a strong online and app presence to signal that they are not out of touch with the current digital trends. Keeping up with the digital times is one of the more critical components to ensuring millennial client satisfaction.

‘Millennials log into their primary financial account using a mobile app 8.5 times versus 3.1 times for non-millennials’

Environmental and Social Justice Matters

While certainly not each and every person in the demographic, but, in general, millennials adhere to a very strict set of personal values that transfer to their everyday lives including their financial relationships and partnerships. There’s growing concern about social and environmental issues and it’s important to them that the institutions they choose to do business with care about some of those same issues too. Nearly 67% of millennials are concerned with the current state of the world and 75% are unwilling to compromise their personal values.(5)  [insert graphic for statistics] But, what does this really mean? It means that financial and investment firms should consider ways in which they can be more socially and environmentally responsible to cultivate the interest of millennial clients. Millennials are more likely to conduct business with a firm that has values that align with their own. Interest in social and environmental issues shows that financial firms are not entirely driven by profit motive and margins but that they understand and share common values with their millennial clients.

‘Nearly 67% of millennials are concerned with the current state of the world and 75% are unwilling to compromise’ their personal values

Marketing for Financial Planning for Millennials

Millennials also have different priorities when it comes to planning as compared to the past generations, and this can have a big effect on marketing strategies. When marketing to millennials, it is important to adjust your expectations and plans to suit their needs instead of trying to push for services they aren’t interested in. This means they may not want or need all the comprehensive planning that is normally offered to older clients. A financial firm can instead give their millennial clients the option to pick and choose which services they want instead of trying to market using a set package. This type of planning lets millennial clients know that the firm is adjusting their services to create a personalized plan, which makes them feel valued and more likely to go back for further financial assistance.

By identifying what millennials want and how that differs from older generation clientele, firms can effectively attract, win, and retain millennial financial clients. Addressing their wants and needs and creating an individualized approach, rather than using a one size fits all marketing technique will yield much better results. Read more about identifying and reaching target audiences in investment here. Offering high quality services and plans are not enough to attract millennials. Instead, financial firms must up their game when it comes to marketing to millennial clients.

We understand how complex the world of marketing for financial and investment services can be, especially when it comes to marketing to a niche client segment, such as millennials. To learn more about how MBC Strategic can improve your financial and investment marketing and branding, please reach out to our team and we’d be happy to start a discussion.





[5] Deloitte, Millennials and wealth management: Trends and challenges of the new clientele, June 2015.