By Patty DeScipio, CFMP
The youngest millennials are now coming of age, but many in that generation are only just getting started with their financial lives. These consumers have a growing need for a trusted financial expert to educate and guide them. And the banks that can find the right voice, the appropriate delivery channels, and the best services to engage this group will garner the lion’s share of the millennial market. That’s easier said than done. This generation really is different from the ones that preceded it.
At Fidelity Bank, our game-changer walked right through our marketing office door.
It was a mid-January morning when our new marketing intern arrived. Alysha was an energetic, intelligent senior from a nearby college. She came with a desire to be a good marketer and a really good intuitive sense but, as expected, the business of banking was completely new to her. She got acclimated and observed us for a few days as she worked hard to understand and digest a smorgasbord of our team’s project meetings, campaign planning sessions, and interdepartmental communication. During our Friday regroup meeting, the marketing director called upon Alysha for her assessment of the week’s activity.
Alysha cleared her throat and said, “I don’t really go to the bank very much and neither do my friends. Most of us just use our smartphone for money related things. I am at a point in my life though where I think I need to understand banking better.”
Why so much hand-wringing about millennials?
The millennials have now passed the baby boomers as America’s largest generation, and they are moving into their next life stage. They are working at building their careers, paying down student loans and even buying their first homes. And they are forcing us to examine how we plan to do the business of banking for decades to come.
Pew Research defines millennials as those ages 18-34 in 2015, and estimates that they now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million baby boomers, ages 51-69. Significant portions of this generation are entering a chapter of their adulthood where their need for banking services will exponentially increase. From credit cards and deposit accounts to mortgages and investment services, millennials are changing the way banks do business. There is an ever- increasing number of banking alternatives creeping in, like Bluebird, GoBank, Venmo, and others like them. Even within the banking industry itself, competition is tough. Banks of every size must be positioned to have the right technology, programs, and accessibility to garner their fair share of the millennial market.
According to Gallup, 91% of millennials own a smartphone, and 71% of millennials say the Internet is their main source for news and information. This group is more visually inspired than any of the predecessors as well. According to YouTube’s recent statistics, “YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.” This generation is indeed living life “hyper-connected” with instant and constant access to friends, news, content, shopping, and entertainment. They also expect instant access to their banks as well.
Meanwhile, back at the Fidelity marketing meeting…
Our intern Alysha offered a comment that was so obvious, yet so intuitive that it was genius. “You know,” she said. “I really wish I could just google a YouTube video about everything I’ve been trying to absorb all week.”
Wow…Light bulb moment!
We had just purchased a camera with video capabilities. We have a talented graphic designer on our staff who was interested and had done some dabbling with digital video production. Most importantly, we now had our millennial host and consultant, Alysha.
We began this pilot project with the impetus to create something really unique and really useful for the local millennial audience. Alysha was tasked with surveying her peers and researching topics that would align with their needs—and hers—as they were beginning to enter the workforce and start their journey towards financial independence.
From there we worked on pairing up our bank services to answer those identified needs. We specifically called out and promoted the benefits and features of our Fidelity Bank electronic services such as: online banking, mobile banking, mobile deposit, web bill pay, and PopMoney.
One of our videos provided tips for paying back student loans.
Other topics included: “How to Manage Your Money,” “First Credit Card,” and “Understanding Interest Rates and Lending,” and “Understanding Credit.”
The result is a platform to provide millennials with valuable and interesting content it in a meaningful way. You can browse our episodes on our YouTube channel.
For relatively little cost, our “Fidelity Banking for Beginners” initiative provided us with:
- Enhanced customer service and engagement
- A conduit to position Fidelity Bank as the trusted advisor for millennials
- Increased opportunity for sales outreach in a non-sales way to prospective customers
- Increased traffic to the Fidelity Bank website
- Relevant and engaging content for repurposing on other social media channels
We’ve begun to post links to the videos on Facebook and Twitter. We encourage our employees to share the posts on their own social media pages to increase the opportunity for engagement. We have also uploaded the links to our Fidelity Bank blog and we will be doing targeted email links to our customers that fit that demographic. Although it’s too early to measure the success of the project we have received great feedback and we are off to a great start. Stay tuned!
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