What we think

How financial content might delight millennials

June 2016

Young beautiful caucasian woman waiting at the bus stop outdoor in the city, looking down and tapping the screen of a smart phone handhold - commuter, technology, happiness concept

In their 20s and 30s, the millennial generation are finance’s customers of the future. Yet neither asset managers, banks, nor wealth managers have mastered how to leverage digital content to market to them.

This is ironic, as millennials are, to use the jargon, ‘digital natives’. Well out of my 30s, I asked Geordie Palmer, a 24-year-old junior VC at www.01ventures.com, for his views. He says that financial worries affect his generation like any other. The difference is they distrust financial services and go to the internet first for information.

It seems that financial firms are at the beginning of a steep learning curve. They have forgotten that they need to get inside the heads of their potential clients. What keeps them awake at night? What delights them? What medium do they prefer?

Masters of the art of content marketing such as Hubspot, the inbound marketing company, and Salesforce.com, the leading customer relationship management company, show what’s best practice. Both excel at slicing and dicing audiences’ interests, then targeting them with tailored content.

By contrast, many financial services companies publish content that assumes the young have some financial knowledge. Palmer says this broad-brush approach makes finance and investment appear elitist. Many millennials are seeking basic information about finance. So publishing content that is too sophisticated risks damaging a brand.

3 principles to remember

When using content to market to millennials, there are three things to remember, Palmer believes. These are:

  1. Get inside millennials’ minds

Learn what interests people at the beginning of the buyer cycle. For example, Legal & General Investment Management has teamed up with Rough Guides to publish the Rough Guide to Finance. This strikes a chord, twinning a publishing brand familiar to millennials with educational content. Similarly, banks such as Barclays and Lloyds pitch at the right level when discussing topics such as budgeting, student finance and graduating.

  1. Link your products and services

While focusing primarily on what interests their readers, Hubspot and Salesforce.com also delicately mention their products and services. Salesforce.com, in particular, follows the 90/10 rule – which states that 90% of the content should be about the theme; 10% about the product.

  1. Use the medium they enjoy

Visual content may delight millennials more than the written word. It depends on your precise audience. Edgar Dale, the American educationist, famously produced a study saying we remember 10% of what we read and 30% of what we see. But don’t forget that the words come first. Often the best content comes from a written thought piece that’s then broadcast by blog, podcast or video.

Nurture, help and mentor

Leveraging content marketing to attract millennials is critical for financial services firms. This generation is absorbed by everything digital, so it should be easy. In the words of Palmer: nurture your potential clients from an early age; help them and mentor them; and adapt your content as knowledge grows.

See www.clerkenwellconsultancy.com for more information.