Triple Bottom Line: What You Need To Know About Millennials

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“Kids these days…..” It’s a sentiment that is often passed around. Youth of today are often stereotyped as “lazy, entitled, and self-centered”. It is often stereotyped that some don’t have the drive of previous generations. Some think they are too idealistic, that their goals are impossible.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that maybe the problems aren’t with them. Maybe, as a group, millennials are just misunderstood. Millennials aren’t the same as previous generations. They were raised to think very holistically. With that upbringing came the awareness that every decision has an impact on the world in some way. Everything is an experience. Every decision makes an impact. Especially, when it comes to investing and consuming.

What do the members of the millennial generation really care about?

The truth is, they care about a lot of things. They want wealth, just like their parents and grandparents before them. Millennials also want to be stewards of the environment; protecting it, and bringing ecosystems back to full-strength. They want society to be fair and equal. The generation wants balance in what is known as the:

Triple Bottom Line

So, what is the “Triple Bottom Line” anyways? Triple Bottom Line (TBL) refers to an accounting framework that takes into account social, environmental, and economic performances instead of simply focusing on financial performance.

Previous generations were largely unaware of the severe impacts their activities were having on the environment. As a result, the environment was paid very little concern. Decisions were short-sighted and investments often were made in environmentally harmful industries. While investing in these industries is likely to pay off financially, the non-financial impacts of these investments have been extremely harmful. Thanks to environmental awareness, younger generations know that some industries (like oil and gas) have hugely harmful impacts on the world. With this knowledge, some are less likely to invest in something that, while making them a profit, will severely harm the environment.

Millennials also care about the social implications of investments and business decisions. They grew up in a turbulent time, seeing people lose their homes, jobs and savings in the 2008 recession. They saw the social impact that decisions by big bankers had on the average person. Millennials care about the social impact of decisions as well.

The youth of today have learned from their parents and grandparents missteps, with many thinking in a more holistic sense. Do you want to sell a millennial an investment portfolio (or convince them to use your business)? You will have to show them that your environmental and social performance is just as important to your company as your financial performance.

Environmental Performance

To have a chance at really attracting young clients to your advisory practice, you will need to demonstrate that you understand and are able to empathize with them. Many young people today believe sustainability is a core business concern. If you want to attract millennials to your business, you could make sustainability a part of your brand.

Millennials would pay slightly more for eco-friendly products (Pew Research), and that logic should carry over to investments. If you can show millennials that you wish to make a positive difference in the environment, you can align yourself with their interests, wants, and needs. This method of alignment is much easier (and more effective) than simply by promoting pure wealth. “Green” investment packages, with no oil, gas, automotive, or tobacco investments, should be quite attractive to some millennials.

A major issue that has to do with branding your environmental efforts has to do with “greenwashing”. If you claim to offer environmentally friendly products, or investment packages, but simply repurpose another product and claim it to be green, millennials will notice. The group has grown up in a time of unprecedented environmental awareness, and it will damage your brand’s reputation if you are perceived as greenwashing.

One way to use causes to help attract millennials to your business is through content and branding. It may help to share your views on being inclusive, open-minded and environmentally conscious. If you genuinely believe in doing right by your clients, this branding should come easily, positioning their core concerns as a part of your business.

Social Performance

A major critique of millennials is the sentiment that “they are all special snowflakes”. The generation cares about others. They want people to be treated the way they want to be treated and called what they want to be called. They want people to not be discriminated against based on who they are.

Millennials really care about cause-related initiatives. They will respond positively when a company takes interest in a social or environmental cause, with 75% of millennials saying it’s important that a company gives back to society. Millennials have surpassed simply wanting help in supporting causes and are starting to demand that others, especially companies, do their part. If you do your part, you will be rewarded.

Millennials will appreciate your commitment to environmental and social responsibility. After learning that a company is socially or environmentally responsible:

  • 83% are likely to trust the company more
  • 79% are likely to purchase that company’s products
  • 74% are more likely to pay attention to that company’s message because it has deep commitment to a cause

An excellent example of a company using positive social influence to sell their product is Toms (a shoe company). Toms does their part in giving back to society, giving a child in need a free pair of shoes for every shoe sold. This is a core aspect of the company and a contributor to its rapid growth. Millennials want  the world to be a better place. By offering investment opportunities that focus on socially responsible industries, companies and bonds, you may be able to sway a millennial to invest with you. Maybe for every dollar you make in fees (from a certain package) a portion gets donated to a village in need. Maybe you have your own idea to make social responsibility a core part of your investment options. As long as you are genuine about the cause, social responsibility should come easy.

Economic Performance

There is a reason why economic performance is the last (and very much least) of the three categories. Every business tries to have a competitively priced offering with a well developed business case. This will not help differentiate you from your competitors. You still need strong financial arguments, because very few people will willingly take a very bad deal simply because of the quality of environmental and social benefits.

At the end of the day, these millennials want a financially successful future. They want to own homes. Millennials want to be able to take long vacations and travel the world. They will need a strong financial portfolio with fair prices to achieve these goals. In this category, millennials are not much different from previous generations.

So, in order to cater to the youth of today (and tomorrow) you will have to think about aspects of your business that are non-financial. One way to connect with a millennial is through content marketing. Discuss your own passion for a cause on your blog, or create another form of content that speaks to their needs or interests. This may intrigue a young investor, motivating them to start a conversation with you about that topic.  Offer environmentally friendly investment options, and show that you and your business care about making the world a cleaner place. Then, write, speak, dance and sing about those topics, posting the resulting content to your blog.

By making business decisions that have minimal adverse social impacts, and being conscious to social issues, will help open a discussion with youth. Simply offering better prices or rates has been the end-all be-all tactic of attracting new clients. That time is coming to the end. Modern youth don’t simply make decisions based on the 4Ps (price, product, promotion, place). There is a social decision-making model in place that is revolutionizing business.

Attracting Millennials

To attract millennials, you will need to demonstrate a strong commitment to social, environmental and, economic success. Your content strategy should involve creating content about subjects that millennials value, are interested in, and that relate to their financial challenges. For example, you could create content on getting out out student debt, or educate them on financially literacy. 

Speak in the currency they value; learn about their goals and passions, where they are in life and what they want to do with their life. They value experiences over all else, so develop alternative strategies to attract their business. As a financial advisor, your topic is wealth and management. However, you can place it in the context of what Millennials value — experiences, or the experiences that they will miss out on should they fail to manage their money. Instead of writing about retirement planning or to buying a house, you could write about saving for a vacation or starting a non-profit.

Tie experiences back to social and environmental responsibility and you will be in a great position to build trusting relationships with millennials.

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What do you think about our reasons to consider the triple bottom line in your advisory firm? Do you agree with the sentiment that youth of today are fundamentally different from previous generations? Will the kids in school today be fundamentally different from the millennials? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @VeridayHQ. Remember, soon the youth will inherit the world’s wealth. It’s time to cater to them.

Outbound Vs. Inbound Marketing for Financial Advisors

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Marketing is a necessary task for any business.  However, there are seemingly infinite ways to go about it given the current digital landscape. You might find yourself wondering, “how should I go about marketing my Advisory business?

Referrals used to be the bread and butter marketing tool to spread the word about your financial service offerings. Do a good job for one client, they tell two friends or family members and boom, off to the races. Today that method, while still sometimes effective, can’t be leaned on as heavily as before due to the many factors and channels that consumers are using to make decisions in today’s digital world.

So, what should you do? Plaster your name all over local benches? Take out ads in the paper? Make a commercial? Use one of the many digital marketing channels available at your disposal? How should you go about getting the word out about your business?

In this article, I will discuss two contrasting methods of marketing that will get your name out there; who the audience for each is, how the message will get in front of the audience and how the audience will likely respond to each message, as well as how that affects your business.

Outbound VS. Inbound Marketing

It’s a simple question that can confuse and confound those outside the marketing department. In reality, it simply refers to traditional marketing methods, such as broadcasting, print, direct mail and telemarketing. Everyone has been exposed to these methods, either through an ad on TV, fliers stuffed in your mailbox, or annoying phone calls while you’re eating dinner.

Why do we call traditional marketing “Outbound”? The term was intended to mirror “Inbound Marketing”, which is the process of tailoring marketing efforts to attract qualified prospects to your business and giving them an experience that turns them into promoters of your brand. Major techniques in inbound marketing are content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). The major difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that inbound marketing is generally targeted at consumers who are already interested or have an awareness, in some way or another. Outbound marketing is less targeted and casts its net on a wide group of people in an attempt to get them interested. “Outbound” marketing is sometimes referred to as “interruption” marketing because whatever people are doing (watching a TV show, reading the paper, watching the road while driving) is interrupted by the marketing message (commercial, a full-page ad in the paper, billboards).

Why Inbound Marketing Works

Inbound Marketing will continue to be effective in 2017 for a plethora of reasons; from the fact it can effectively target specific segments of the demographics, to the value it brings to potential customers pre-purchase, to the convenience and cost savings for the company.

Inbound marketing costs 62% less than a traditional marketing campaign and generates 3 times the traffic of a traditional (outbound) marketing campaign. It makes sense though, writing a blog post or a few Tweets is far less expensive than purchasing ad space. A domain name costs only a small amount per year and the long-term costs associated with maintaining social media feeds, a blog, website or other assets that are common in inbound marketing are quite low compared with various forms of advertising. Even advertisements online (Google Adwords for example) would cost far less than TV ad time.

The lower costs, and the agility of inbound marketing means that you may personalize the message to its target market to a near infinite extent. For example writing a blog post about how investing would work in the Harry Potter universe (to attract wizards and fans of wizardry), or what Batman’s portfolio would look like (to attract Gotham billionaire Bruce Wayne) at very little cost and in very little time compared to traditional forms of marketing. Inbound marketing allows hyper-targeting, tailoring your message to a specific audience in a way that will feel personal and convey that you can speak to and meet their specific needs and challenges.

Convincing people to trust you with their assets is hard. No matter what medium you use. Selling your financial service to people online, and showing them that you can meet their needs and benefit them is even harder. While inbound marketing generally costs less than outbound marketing, the challenge of appearing to be a legitimate solution to someone’s problem can be much more difficult online.

By sending a hyper-specific message to somebody who already recognizes that they have the need for a specific financial service, inbound marketing generally ensures that all marketing efforts are put in front of people who will actually consider your message, increasing your chances of attracting an MVP customer that can help grow your business.

So why is outbound marketing dying?

There are many reasons why outbound marketing is losing its lustre, from it’s interruptive nature to the slow, inflexible, and often costly process of creating an outbound campaign.

A commercial break in the middle of your favorite TV show, an unexpected cold-call (which always seem to be at the most inconvenient time), spam mail with offers you aren’t interested in coming into your home and bringing clutter with it. People are growing tired of the interruptions and will do what is needed to avoid the interruptions.

Over 200 million people worldwide use ad-blockers when browsing the internet, which renders banner, sidebar and pop-up ads ineffective for a large part of the target audience. The trend of blocking ads is not limited to browsing the internet. More and more people are using PVR’s or services like Netflix, Shomi or Hulu to avoid watching TV ads. Outbound marketing has annoyed people into avoiding as many ads as they can.

Another issue with outbound marketing is the fact that these measures are often slow and inflexible. TV commercials, print ads in major publications, and billboards all take significant time to develop and arrange for them to be released to the public. This means that it is very difficult (and expensive) to have an ad that is current and based off what prospective clients want. Inbound marketing efforts such as Social media, content marketing and SEO are much more agile, meaning campaigns and marketing efforts can be real-time and relevant, with more flexibility and timeliness, all at a much lower cost.

In addition to the difficulties mentioned above, there are issues in outbound marketing involving putting your message in front of the appropriate target at a reasonable price. There are still a few mediums with high viewership for a specific market segment (such as ESPN for sports fans) but many segments do not have such an outlet. This means that to market your product to your target market you must cast a wider net, perhaps by making a commercial and playing it during a show with massive viewership, hoping that some of your target market is watching. These efforts are very costly and generally return a very low ROI.

If we were trying to attract clients to our financial advisory firm we could put an ad on the back cover of our local newspaper, potentially paying tens of thousands of dollars for that ad space. The issue is that although some targets may see the ad, it still got in front of many people who wanted nothing to do with it and are not at all interested. This can be a wasteful process. We could spend far less money designing a top notch website, paying for a domain name and using SEO to ensure that every single person who Googles “Financial Advisors in (Where you live)” will see our website, and our thought leadership content. Simply put, inbound marketing is far more effective at matching your value proposition to a target customer.

Today, if people want something, they Google it, Bing it, or Yahoo search it. They understand there is a market for whatever they are looking for, from financial services to a new furnace. People today don’t want to be sold something. They want to buy it themselves.

Not today, but soon

How does this affect you? That depends entirely on how you want your business to grow into the future. Are you satisfied with an aging client base, who will soon begin to retire, divest and live the easy life? Would you rather have a client base full of millennials just getting into the workforce, still needing to buy a house, plan for a family and work for many years to come?

Generally speaking the older someone is the more likely they are to be influenced by outbound marketing. Younger generations want personalized, unobtrusive marketing efforts. For your practice to thrive and survive in the future you will need to meet the needs and expectations of those generations.

Why you need to recruit milleninials

For your business to thrive you need clients who are still in the Wealth Accumulation stage of the Financial Planning Life Cycle (as shown above). At this time most Baby-Boomers are moving through the “Children in College” phase and into the “Empty Nester” phase. Roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day and that will continue for the next 15 years.

To maintain relevance in such a competitive industry, financial advisors must work twice as hard to cater to the future, even if that means moving away from word-of-mouth referrals that has been the gold standard for your entire career.  It may mean moving towards having a strong digital presence that draws in targets who have already identified a need that you might be able to help with.

Another reason to focus your marketing efforts on inbound tactics is that studies show 70% of internet users would prefer to learn about products via content instead of advertisements. Roughly half the world’s population uses the internet, with that figure even higher in developed nations. With the increase of internet users with adblock technology installed and the population steadily migrating away from traditional forms of media and towards digital media, nearly every industry is going to have to get serious about their content marketing, use of social media and their ability to personalize messages.

What does this mean?

For financial advisors and financial service providers, inbound marketing can be the next generations referral system. Instead of attracting one client and building through their network, establish your own network. Create engaging, informative content that can help solve consumer’s challenges and put it out into the world so those looking can find it, and more importantly find you.

This means you need to create your own social network, create engaging content, teach people things about finance through creative, engaging, educational content. Have them come to see you as a thought leader and when it’s time for their purchase decision, it’s likely they will choose the most experienced, capable financial advisor in their social network, which thanks to your efforts educating and engaging them is YOU.

Don’t be left behind in the new generation of digital marketing. Establish your name and build your social network. The only way to thrive in the future of of financial services is to show the world just how good you are – online!

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What’s your most successful method of attracting people to your practice? Do you still rely on referrals? Are you a LinkedIn giant or is your website the go-to place to learn about finance? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ #OutboundIsOut

3 ways RIAs can attract new clients for long-term success

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This post was authored by Jen Micklow and originally appeared here on FinancialServicesMarketing.com

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“The times they are a-changin’.” Bob Dylan first crooned these lyrics in his 1964 title track to acknowledge a mass cry for social reform. Listen closely now, and you’ll hear echoes of the song’s core message underscoring some of today’s most newsworthy issues: the polarizing presidential race, an unraveling of corporate scandals and the ongoing fight for gender parity. Similarly, looking at the lyrics through a financial services lens elicits visions of policy reform, industry skeptics and the generational shift in wealth that have awoken a renewed need for change from Wall Street to Main Street.

If you want your RIA to succeed, you need to maintain or grow your client base. To do that, you must welcome the changes being demanded by the public. So how can RIAs see these demands as opportunities to position themselves for long-term success?

By now, you know that the fastest-growing RIAs must understand millennials – we’ve shared several observations of this new target audience on this blog. You also know how to employ effective marketing strategies that will help promote your brand. But the real key to attracting new clients and building long-term success lies in how your RIA is positioned to take advantage of evolving demographics and trends within the financial planning marketplace. Here are some considerations to get you started.

  1. Look beyond current income. Big-league RIAs aside, gone are the days of requiring potential clients to have millions of investable dollars before signing on to your client roster. Today, it’s all about potential earnings – meaning that professionals with high earning potential are equally as valuable to the sustainability of an RIA as their high-net-worth counterparts. Ditch the income requirements and consider how attracting millennial and Gen-X clients today will contribute to your firm’s AUM over time.
  1. Make it a family affair. Earning potential aside, younger individuals are set to inherit a massive amount of investible dollars. Over the next 30 years, approximately $30 trillion will change hands from baby boomers to Generation X and millennials. The generational shift in wealth has made younger investors a desirable demographic for not only growing a firm’s AUM, but also maintaining it as wealth leaves existing clients’ hands and is left to this new group of investors. If your RIA is not already looking at ways to capitalize on this future asset base, now is the time to start. Begin the process by building relationships with your current clients’ children or heirs.
  1. Recruit new talent. The industry is experiencing a talent shortage, and the need to attract new advisers has never been greater. The number of financial advisers over age 70 exceeds the number who are under 30, according to a recent piece by Financial Planning. A new wave of talent will help your business attract new clientele, producing a snowball effect of opportunity for your RIA to grow AUM as these young professionals pick up steam in their careers and, simultaneously, their investable wealth. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of diversity. Women control more than half of American personal wealth, and 70 percent of women would prefer to work with a female adviser. Not sure where to start? Revisit our post on tips to attract and retain millennial female advisers.

Adapting to society’s evolving demands will help your firm traverse the great generational shift in wealth and carry your business to new heights long after your own retirement. But only the RIAs who know how to position their business to attract new clients will survive these changing times.

RIAs, take heed, “for he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled. There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’…for the times they are a-changin’.”

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Authored by: Financialservicesmarketing.com

Twitter: @joeanthony

3 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Be Rethinking their Marketing Strategy for the Millennials

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As the boomer demographic ages, and ultimately moves towards retirement, there should be an added focus on a new marketing strategy that targets the Millennial demographic – defined as the population of people born between 1982 and the mid 2000s. Millennials are the next generation of investors; they’re well educated, were born and raised into technology, and are instantly connected with one another through services like Facebook and Snapchat. Even with all of these perks, the Millennial generation has less money to spend and is in more debt than their older counterparts (Goldman Sachs). This generation will definitely need help planning their financial stability and success in terms of managing their goals, debt, and saving.

So, why do Financial Advisors need to rethink their marketing strategies if there will be a natural demand from Millennials?

Reason 1: Millennials are the demographic that grew up in the age of rapid technological development…

Most have experienced the pain of dial-up internet, been scolded for not rewinding the videocassette, all the way to having almost any movie available at any time through streaming services. They are no strangers to waking up to a new technological marvel – they’re also the ones camping out in front of a store to get it. Millennials are also no strangers to revered technology falling off the face of the Earth. This demographic will control the future of businesses since they’re the ones that will hold the most spending power in the coming years. In the US alone, Millennials have spent 2.45 trillion in 2015, and their income will exceed boomers and converge to Generation X’s income by 2018.

According to a recent global survey, 19 out of 20 Millennials have smart phones and check them an average of 43 times a day. According to Pew Research Centre, Social Media is used by 65% of American Adults and 76% of all Internet users. Breaking it down by age, 90% of young adults (ages 18 – 29) use Social Media, with Facebook dominating the market share.

The rapid evolution and advancement of technology has also changed those who influence the Millennials. Previously, 66% of boomers trusted recommendations from their friends and family. These days, only 49% of Millennials trust recommendations according to a recent report. This could mean that there is no guarantee that the new Millennial investors will use the same Financial Advisors as their parents. They trust online customer content (reviews) over any other information. This means that having a website with feedback, Facebook page with comments, or even Google Map reviews can go a long way to attract the sceptical Millennial to your business.

3 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Be Rethinking their Marketing Strategy for the Millennials

Brand loyalty also extends to Social Media; Millennials like to follow their favourite brands and entertainers on one or more Social Media platforms. Due to the sharing algorithm, in many Social media Platforms, when consumers “like” or “favourite” a piece of content on a Social Media platform it will show that to some, or all, of their connections – leading to more exposure. If they really like the content, they will then “share” it to further increase the exposure. This is the way a piece of content goes viral. If these content sharers are an influencer of a Millennial, they will definitely be more inclined to trust that product or service.

Reason 2:  Traditional forms of marketing won’t work with this new generation.

Millennials are not influenced by traditional advertising. Only 1% of Millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would influence their decision. 62% said they would become loyal customers if a business engaged with them through Social Media. In terms of interaction with companies online, 30% of the interactions still occur on the businesses’ website, followed by 18% through email newsletters, 16% follow the business on Facebook, and 8% comment on Facebook posts. The chart below further demonstrates the way Canadians are interacting with companies online.

3 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Be Rethinking their Marketing Strategy for the Millennials

(Data from Canadian’s Internet Business)

Focusing on just one of these online channels leaves a gap that could leave room for your competitors to attract your prospects and clients.

Reason 3:  It is imperative for any business to have a full-fledged Omni-channel online experience. (For a more in depth look at what Omni-channel is, click here.)

Since Millennials grew up with technology, they’re accustomed to many different forms of communication – as demonstrated in the graph above. They will not only check out a businesses’ website, but they will also look at their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile, as well as Google reviews. On top of rethinking and revamping marketing strategies, offering consistent and quality messaging, information, branding, and experience on each one of these channels is imperative. Disconnects between these channels leads to questioning credibility and professionalism, and possibly even moving to a competitor.

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Millennials are a tricky demographic to market to since there is more variance within the generation than any other prior. They hold all of the world’s information in their hands due to smartphones and the ability to search from anywhere, anytime. They are more connected to eachother and businesses than any other time in history. The lack of an online presence and valuable content, from a business nowadays, ultimately makes them sceptical.

The best place to start, to attract the Millennial generation, would be to go where they do their research: online (websites), and Social Media. Millennials are more likely to Google first and ask questions later. Having an effective online presence with all the information readily available leads to more success when trying to attract the Millennials. Rethinking your marketing strategy to remain active online will significantly help in attracting new clients and prospects, and ultimately, increasing your AUM.

 

Key Findings from the World Wealth Report 2015: Millennial HNWI

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In Part 1, courtesy of Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, we explored the changing role of wealth managers within the evolving financial landscape and rise of new technologies. In part 2, we will look at some of the key findings from this year’s report, and comment specifically on the unmet needs of Millennials. According to Capgemini, there were 5 key findings from the 2015 World Wealth Report.

  1. North America and Asia-Pacific drove HNWI market growth in 2014, with Asia-Pacific regaining the top spot in HNWI population and poised to take the lead in HNWI wealth this coming year.
  2. Strong gains in these regions were not enough to push growth beyond the moderate level of 7% globally, which is the second slowest rate in the last five years
  3. HNWIs have increased their equity holdings over cash as the largest share of their portfolio holdings, and they have a strong demand for credit
  4. There is significant opportunity for wealth management firms to develop a robust social impact offering to address HNWI needs and capitalize on their demand for increased wealth manager involvement
  5. The wealth manager role and value proposition is undergoing a major evolution, requiring firms to re-think service models and capabilities. Unmet needs from younger HNWIs and industry challenges such as new entrants, regulation, and rising costs are impacting the wealth manager’s role, requiring that firms take targeted action

The key findings highlight how firms need to re-think the unmet needs from younger HNWIs. Millennials represent a large group of HNWIs under the age of 40 who are poised to inherit approximately $41 trillion from their baby boomer parents over the next 40 years. Wealth transfer creates the opportunity for Advisors to retain clients into the next generation. However, studies have shown that 95% of those next generation investors will leave the financial advisors upon the transfer of wealth. Herein lay the opportunity for Advisors to nurture and engage Millennials to avoid this leakage.

Millennials are a very unique generation that are poised to reshape the economy.  This means that financial and marketing strategies that work for their Boomer or Gen X parents, may not work for them.  Their unique experiences have already changed the ways in which we market, buy and sell.  This generation will likely conduct most or all of their wealth management functions through digital channels, which means a strong digital presence is important for Advisors looking to attract or retain the young HNWIs. As a Millennial myself, I know how we operate and with my peer network, I often confirm my own assumptions as well.  So, how can Advisors better market to the Millennial generation?

How Can Advisors Market to the Millennial Generation?

3 Ways Financial Advisors Can Better Engage Millennials

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A Millennial weighing in on how to market to Millennials.

How can Financial Advisors better court Millennials? Below are three strategies Financial Advisors can use to reach this non-traditional generation:

1. Change your preconceived notions.

Marketing to millennials in the financial services industry has been a hot topic this past year. Millennials are often written off as lazy, irresponsible and a technology-obsessed generation who aren’t saving their money. A quick search of ‘’Millennials’’ and ‘’retirement’’ shoots off results of how “millennials may never retire’’ or, ‘’millennials are too busy paying off debts to save”. When we think about Millennials, many people have the mindset ‘’when they grow up,’’ but what they miss is that it already happened for a lot of this generation.

In actuality, Millennials are saving more than almost every other age group. According to CNBC, millennials appear to be more sensible with their financial planning than baby boomers and Generation X. According to Wells Fargo, the majority of Millennials (53%) think about their financial future daily. Research conducted by CIBC states that 77% of 25-34 year-olds have started saving for retirement (60% of those 18-24 have as well). Lastly, according to a study by online brokerage TD Ameritrade, Baby Boomers started saving for retirement at age 35. Generation X started at 28. Meanwhile, Generation Y, born in the 1980s and 1990s, began at an average age of 24.

The saving habits of Millennials are actually much better than the perception. It is important for Financial Advisors to change their mindset and recognize that Millennials can be a great-long-term client. This is a first step in reaching this demographic and gaining their trust. In today’s world, there is a lot more onus on individuals to plan their finances sooner, rather than later, and that’s where Advisors come in to help maximize Millennials savings.

 2. Adapt how you communicate.

This generation has adopted digital like no other. Millennials are always connected. What are things that Millennials don’t respond to? Voicemails. Letters. Telemarketing calls. Spam texts. In order to more effectively court Millennials, Advisors need to adapt their communication style. Ask your prospect how they would like to be communicated with rather then choosing your preferred method of communication. They are more likely to be engaged if it is a communication channel they use on a daily basis.

On that note, pushy sales people and Millennials are like oil and water. Give Millennials something authentic and useful. Make sure it’s a conversation, and not a pitch. If what you can provide can better Millennials’ lives, or solve a real problem that they have, they will most likely get on board with it.

3. Adapt what you communicate

A large number of millennials have never known a world without the Internet and social media. They aren’t a group that will simply accept your message at face value and take the action you request. Millennials focus on solving real life problems through online research – both in search engines and social media. Financial Advisors need to be relevant and provide solutions online to Millennials’ financial challenges. What really gets Millennials attention is a well-written blog post that speaks directly to them and the challenges that they are facing. Millennials appreciate businesses that make useful information easy to find; answering their questions and doing their homework for them.

Millennials may not be as concerned with retirement right now, so rather then focusing on this subject, focus on goals that Millennials might actually want to save for like travelling, technology or buying a house. Advisors should take the time to understand how they can solve Millennials problems based on what this generation values and from there they will be better equipped to create value to the Millennial, instead of noise.

 

Guide to Content Marketing

How Advisors Can Market To The Millennial Generation: Responsive Design

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A Millennial weighing in on how to market to the Millennial Generation. 

This is the third article in a series of tips and techniques for Advisors trying to reach the Millennial Generation. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 before moving on.

This instalment will focus on why having a mobile strategy is key to reaching this demographic, as well as the the significant changes that Google is making to their algorithms come April 21st.

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We, Millennials, have adopted digital like no other. It should come as no real surprise that mobile is our choice. Today’s Millennials are the most mobile device population. So, just how much time does this demographic spend with their beloved smartphones? Here’s what us Millennials are saying about mobile:

  •  90% of Millennials have a mobile phone. (Cohen, 2014)
  • The average Millennial checks his or her smartphone 43 times a day. (Entrepreneur, 2014)
  • Mobile search will surpass desktop in 2015. (eMarketer, 2014)
  • Millennials spend 14% more time (than any other group) interacting with their mobile devices during the average week. (Cohen, 2014)
  • 47% of Millennials access businesses via mobile at least once a day. (USA Today, 2014)
  • 36% have made a decision on where to spend money or have switched companies based on what they let them accomplish on mobile (USA Today, 2014)
  • 14% say they wouldn’t do business with a company that doesn’t have a mobile site or app. (USA Today, 2014)
  • 86% say there are still a lot of websites without good mobile functionality. (USA Today, 2014)

 Actionable Millennial Marketing Tips

Advisors that don’t speak mobile are losing out on business.

With 90% of Millennials saying their phones never leave their side, it would make sense that Millennials turn to their mobile devices to research and find the information that drives their buying decisions. However, surveys suggest that this group is not always thrilled by the mobile experience that they receive from businesses. Millennials expect, even demand that your business be accessible by mobile, and if it isn’t, they will leave.

Advisors looking to target Millennials need to adapt to mobile in order to best reach them on their preferred devices.   The first step for Advisors is to ensure that their website is mobile by designing it responsively. Responsive website design refers to a website designed to adapt to any device a visitor is using. It is a single website that intelligently adapts to the screen the visitor is on without compromising functionality or aesthetics.

A responsive website is crucial for Advisors to reach the Millennials, who access the web through their mobile devices at an increasingly high rate.  If your website isn’t mobile friendly, most Millennials will assume your practise is out of date, and will likely leave your website for one of your competitors. Offering a great mobile experience on your website helps you stay relevant and competitive, and makes for a great user experience.

What change is Google making to its algorithm on April 21st?

In 2015, the number of mobile users will overtake the number of desktop users. Google has released a statement that starting April 21st, Google will begin considering mobile friendliness as a factor when determining how to rank your website in Google searches. This will help users to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices. If your website is not responsive, expect your search engine ranking to take a hit in just a couple weeks.

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?

It is actually really simple to test your website and check whether it is mobile friendly or whether you need to update it. All you need to do is run your pages through the Mobile-Friendly Test.   Click on the test and input the URL of the website you would like to check, hit the blue ‘’analyze’’ button and the tool will determine whether your site is mobile-friendly.

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To find out how you can go responsive, get in touch with the Digital Agent team today!

How Advisors Can Market To The Millennial Generation: Part 2

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A Millennial weighing in on how to market to Millennials.

In Part 1 of this series, we became better acquainted with the buying and browsing habits of Millennials. In part 2, we will take a look at one of the ways in which Advisors can reach this tech-savvy generation. As with each generation (and being a Millennial myself) this group comes with their own set of interests, expectations, and abilities.

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Millennials are known to be constantly checking their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.  Our generation has become so attached to our smartphones that when we have to put our phone away for an hour, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.   The average Millennial checks his or her smartphone 43 times and spends 5.4 hours on social media per day. Some would say we are a Marketer’s dream – always plugged in.

So, what are Advisors to do?

Look beyond the traditional marketing strategies and utilize what the Millennial generation has invented. Millennials are the inventors of Social Media and it has quickly become their link to the outside world, far more then even television. It is not going anywhere; so creating a great online reputation on Social Media will only help to build a future with these Millennial clients.

When it comes to marketing and education, Advisors who want to reach this generation will need to embrace Social Media; but benefiting from this avenue is all about knowing how to use it effectively. A great strategy is all about mastering communicating in the language of the Millennial.  Advisors can do this by creating content that is centered around their values and goals.  Most are getting married and buying houses later in life, and a small percentage have started saving for retirement. As a Financial advisor, your topic is wealth and management.  However, you can place your expertise in the context of what Millennials value.

So, what do Millennials value and where are they dishing out the dollars these days? Jeff Yang (CNN, 2014) suggests that Millennials are much more likely to spend their money on things and experiences that they can share with friends; such as a nice dinner out, a weekend road-trip, or a one-of-a-kind experience. They tend to spend their money on creating memories and experiences, rather than owning big and expensive materials.  In Yang’s article, he discusses the top 3 things that Millennials are spending their money on:

  1. Travel. Millennials travel more then any other group, taking on average 9 leisure trips a year.
  2. Technology. Millennials are redeploying their spending from televisions to mobile devices. 45% of twenty something year olds say it is important to them to have the latest features or styles in smartphones. They don’t see this as just a gadget but as the primary way they connect with friends, family, and the outside world (social media).
  3. Training.  Millennials are one of the most well educated generations and are spending more on education then prior generations. The average millennial graduates with a $30,000 student loan burden.

As an Advisor trying to connect with a Millennial, why not share your expertise through the currency that they value (experiences, travel, concerts, food, digital media, education) and through the medium that they communicate (social media). Although you are an Advisor, and your expertise is in finance, wealth and management, position your Social Media strategy in the context of what this generation values most based on their spending habits.  Create and share content on your Social Media platforms that speak about how to save for a vacation, or school, or point out the experiences that they may miss out on if they don’t manage their money effectively. Below are some examples of some great topics that would tie together both your expertise and Millennials interests:

  • Creative ways to save for a vacation
  • How to save money while travelling
  • Should you invest or pay off student loans?
  • Strategies to dig yourself out of student loan debt
  • 10 tips to save money for leisure activities
  • How saving can fuel your travel bug

Advisors: Establish a presence on the avenues that Millennials are spending the most time on, and tailor your created and curated content to information and insights that are relevant to us, without being overly commercial. First, understand and speak to the values that drive Millennials.  Second, understand their lifestyles and experiences and find ways to amplify their reality.  Millennials can be a difficult yet rewarding demographic for Advisors.

 

How to Drive Sales Using the Customer Buyer Journey

How Advisors Can Market To The Millennial Generation: Part 1

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A Millennial weighing in on how to market to Millennials.

What, exactly, is the Millennial generation?

Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort of individuals born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. There are more than 80 million of them in the US alone, making their generation larger than Baby Boomers and 20 percent larger than Generation X. Based on research conducted by Millennial Marketing, we know the following about this generation:

  • Millennials include some of the earliest digital natives.
  • Millennials are interested in participating in your marketing.
  • Millennials are known as content creators and users.
  • Millennials are ‘’hooked’’ on social media.
  • Millennials grew up in a socially networked world.
  • Millennials have an estimated purchasing power of between $125 billion to $890 billion

Millennials As the Young Investor

Young and potentially wealthy millennials can be an extremely profitable segment for Advisors and present an excellent opportunity for Advisors to expand their client base. Ironically, they also seem to be a large segment of the population largely overlooked by financial firms. Many Advisors are business people following the money as they seek higher fees and more commissions. However, any Advisor building a business for the long term should find solid opportunity in the millennial group. Advisors can build a relationship with them as they continue to grow and aspire to be high-net-worth retirees someday.   According to Time, millennials are saving more now than boomers did at their age. They know that they must manage their own financial future and want someone to guide them in a way that makes sense to them.

I am, in fact, a Millennial. I rely on very specific marketing avenues for information in order to make my decisions.  So, how should Advisors market to me? In part 2 of this series, I will look at the most effective ways Advisors can reach millennials in their marketing efforts. Hint: Content is King.

But first, let’s take a look at Millennial’s buying and browsing habits in this Infographic courtesy of AdWeek. One common theme is that Millennial’s expect technology to work and will go elsewhere if it doesn’t (hint: importance of mobile optimized sites, which we will cover in part 2).  So, how can you reach the Millennial generation? In one word……online. 

How to Market to Millennials

 

After perusing this Infographic, was there anything that was surprising to you?

 

How to Drive Sales Using the Customer Buyer Journey