I recently tried to set up a standing order through my mobile banking app. For some technical reason, I was told that I had to print off a paper form and mail it back to them.
Mail it back to them? With stamps, envelopes and post boxes? Yeah, as a dyed-in-the-wool millennial, that’s not going to fly.
It really hit home quite how dated the financial sector still is.
Yes, banks have apps. Yes, accountants have helpful blogs. Yes, IFAs have video appointments. But despite all this innovation, there’s something oddly old about the industry.
The way companies speak, the way companies structure services and the companies market themselves just seems out of step with younger demographics.
In this blog, I’ll pick apart several common behavioural traits amongst the millennial demographic and discuss how brands can tailor their business (and specifically their marketing) to thrive in the digital era.
Wait, wait, wait — what’s a millennial?
Oh, yeah. It’s probably worth actually defining who or what a millennial is. Here’s a nice little quote from the Atlantic.
In October 2004, researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss called Millennials “the next great generation,” which is funny. They define the group as “as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter.” In 2012, they affixed the end point as 2004.
The same researchers ascribed seven basic traits to millennials. They are
Sort of like a horoscope, right? Vague enough to apply to most people yet specific enough to sound like a real prediction.
Shaky definition aside, let’s crack on!
The rise of the mobile device has been stratospheric. Nowadays, mobile traffic dwarfs its desktop counterpart across a growing number of industries. More and more, young people are moving away from traditional desktop devices and towards mobile alternatives.
(I’m including laptops in the desktop category here and I realise that’s a little weird but what we’re really talking about is the screen size so laptops and desktops can be considered together.)
I’ve noticed the behaviour shift myself.
I’ve had computers my entire life. First an Amiga 600 then a PC running Windows 3.11 then a Mac then Windows laptops through University and my early working life.
Last year my Asus X501 packed up in a cloud of smoke. However, when I was browsing through Amazon, I wasn’t looking for another laptop. I was looking for a tablet and that’s exactly what I bought.
Since June 2016, my home has been completely desktop free and it’ll probably stay that way. I just don’t need a desktop anymore. As a die hard desktop user for 26 out of my 27 years, I think this is pretty significant.
Mobile devices will replace desktop computers and mobile users will replace desktop users. Just look at this study from comScore.
From your perspective, what matters is whether you are prepared for users with new and different technological behaviours.
If you’re not, the harsh truth is that they won’t care one. And if you’re not prepared for mobile users, they’ll find a competitor who is.
Our recommendation for businesses is clear. Prepare for the future and optimise everything for smaller screens.
Make your website work in my palm. Make your blog readable on my tablet. Make your CTAs look great on my phone.
Incentivise personal connections
In this super-connected digital era, businesses rise and fall on the connection between brand and customer.
The smart businesses out there have been cultivating super personal connections to build strong communities around their brand for years.
Think about sites like Patreon.
In exchange for a variable monthly subscription, users receive extra content, interaction or rewards from brands and brand personalities. That builds super strong personal connections between people and brands.
Now, I’m not suggesting you try and turn yourself into some YouTube celebrity but what about rewarding your customers with access to gated content?
A free eBook here, a private seminar there and suddenly your customers start to feel like they’re part of something more than just a business relationship.
Those type of customers — the one’s with the personal relationship to your business — are incredibly loyal and often drive regular referrals towards you.
Technology is the future
Unlike older generations, millennials grew up with digital technology. A phone was something they had as a kid and so was the internet and tablets and desktops and laptops.
Older generations can remember a time before the proliferation of digital technology. We can’t.
Because we’ve been surrounded by tech for so long, it plays a much more ingrained role in our lives. Jump on a bus or a train nowadays and look at what the younger people are doing. Most, if not all, will be craned over looking at their phones.
It’s how we follow the news. It’s how we talk with friends. It’s how we work. It’s how we relax. It’s how we research new holidays and buy new clothes. It’s how we manage our finances, document our lives and share our experiences.
Do not underestimate the role technology will play in the lives a lot of your current customers and all of your future customers.
In order to reach new demographics, you must experiment with new technologies, networks and channels.
Don’t retreat from ideas like personalisation and social media. Lean into the change, experiment with new strategies and see what works.
So, there you go. To learn more about how firms can tailor their marketing to modern audiences, download a free copy of our Intro to Inbound eBook.
It covers everything you need to know to turn your business into a lean, mean, lead-generating machine.