marketing financial services

In the wake of The Great Recession and the college debt crisis, marketing financial services to Millennials means getting to a know a generation too often misunderstood.

Millennials are a complicated bunch. Often defined by a sense of entitlement, a lack of commitment, and a greater lack of foresight, the last generation of the Twentieth Century is one their predecessors don’t always understand. And with their first years of adulthood plagued by so many economic problems, marketing financial services to Millennials seems at first glance like one of the most challenging sells of all.

But is it really? Are Millennials averse to financial services, or are they simply a generation drowning in debt and uncertainty about retirement? And if the latter, what does marketing financial services to this complex demographic look like?

marketing financial services

Defining a generation

Millennials are commonly considered those who were born between 1980 and 2000. Characterized by fierce independence, a strong drive to succeed, and a rewards-based mentality, the successors to Generation X are—contrary to popular belief—hard workers who live in the looming shadow of economic instability. As a result, they usually plan less for the future because they are doing all they can to keep their heads above water now.

That’s where marketing financial services becomes a challenge. It’s not that Millennials don’t want to plan and save for retirement. It’s that they think they don’t have enough money to do it.

Millennials also don’t trust big banks and financial institutions. Their introduction to adulthood began with the aftermath of the dot-com boom, followed by the housing crisis and The Great Recession. As young adults, they learned about big bonuses for bank executives even amidst government bail-outs, while working class citizens lost their jobs in staggering numbers. The result was, at best, skepticism.


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 marketing financial services

Building bridges

Despite the growing sense that they’ve been set up to fail, Millennials remain eager to listen and learn—as long as they are understood. They want to be empowered to do things their way. They want autonomy as much as they want financial security. And perhaps most of all, they want to avoid making the same mistakes that landed them in relative economic disaster.

That’s all good news for anyone marketing financial services to young people. It means an audience still exists. The trick is understanding how to build rapport with them.

marketing financial services

Rules of engagement

So what does it take to engage Millennials in financial planning? Probably not as much as you think. For the most part, honesty, integrity, and respect appeal to Millennials more than anything else. Keeping that in mind, here are five rules for engaging Millennials through marketing financial services:

1. Get social 

According to the Nielson 2016 Social Media Report, Millennials spend just over six hours per week on social media. It’s where many of them get their news, interact with their friends, and most importantly for marketers, where they interact with brands. If you want them to notice you, social is the way to go.

2. Make it interactive 

Whether social or otherwise, you’ll find more success marketing financial services to Millennials if you make it interactive. Webinars, PowerPoints, and static advertising will lose their attention quickly. Quizzes, games, and interactive video, among other media, are critical to engagement.

3. Empower them 

There’s nothing worse for Millennials than being told that they’ll need over a million dollars in savings to retire comfortably at 68. Demonstrate, instead, how much they can save by putting just a little bit away. Overwhelming them with a future that’s still forty years away won’t entice them. Showing them they can make a difference with even a little bit is how to get them interested.

4. Free resources 

A group as autonomous as Millennials needs resources to turn to when they have questions at two o’clock in the morning. Make those available for free, and you might be surprised how well Millennials educate themselves.

5. Speak to them, not their wallets 

The economic frustrations of Millennials have resulted in a preference for marketing that speaks to their best interests and well-being instead of their bank accounts. Yes, you are marketing financial services, but Millennials are less concerned with dollars and cents, and more concerned with how financial planning benefits their lives now and in the long term.

Bonus tip: Skip the tie. Millennials are more likely to respond and engage if they feel you’re on the level with them. Suits don’t impress them, and might even make them skeptical. Authenticity will get you much further than superficiality (even if you do love that tie).


lead-managerlead-managerFor an authentic CRM experience that meets all of your lead generation needs, schedule a free demo and watch your business grow!


Do you have any experience selling financial services to Millennials? What tips would you add? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.