Just finished a bunch of focus groups with some wealthy Millennials and GenXers. They were really engaged in discussing what they expected from their financial advisors and how they wanted to be communicated with. One of the most interesting differences between this group and the Baby Boomers that we had talked to just before was their interest in reading blogs and materials created by the financial advisor.
But these weren’t just any materials. This was a twist on the traditional hard copy newsletter. Focus group participants expressed interest in communications that were more than just investment focused reports and “newsletters” that were digital and included multiple features, including videos.
What types of communications were they not in favor of?
- The big glossy magazines that were mostly investment oriented.
- Anything that was ultimately a product pitch. Especially if it was disguised as something else.
The focus group information was consistent with quantitative research that Spectrem Group has completed. Sixty-two percent of Milliennial Millionaires and 40 percent of GenX Millionaires indicate that they like to watch videos on financial websites. This compares to only 31 percent of Baby Boomer Millionaires and 26 percent of WWII Millionaires. In fact, 12 percent of Millennials identify videos as their preferred way to gather financial information compared to only 2 percent of the WWII generation. Overall, however, more than half of all generations indicate they prefer to read articles.
And what types of videos do they like to watch? Financial information videos, explaining types of investments and educational information, were preferred by 56 percent of Millennials and 75 percent of Gen Xers. Videos on current financial events came in second with 44 percent of Millennials watching these videos along with 41 percent of GenXers.
Communicating digitally with your clients may not have been a priority for you in the past. Most investors expect at least an annual face-to-face meeting with their advisor and some prefer more frequent meetings. While many recognize that “newsletters” are merely marketing pieces, many indicate that if they see articles that pertain to them, they like to read them. Add on to this belief the feeling that many investors have regarding education. A large number of Millennials and GenXers want to be educated about investments. This isn’t just so they can take over the investing themselves. It’s really about their desire to really understand what’s going on. Remember, they did come of age during the Great Recession.
Don’t let your competitors influence your clients to leave simply because they provide more information. Find ways to upgrade the materials you are sharing. There are multiple ways to do this.
1. Some of your home offices or broker/dealers may have content that you can license to perk up your client communications.
2. Write something of your own, if not weekly, at least monthly. Your clients want to know your thoughts about what is going on in the markets. After all, that’s why they hired you.
3. There are other outlets available that will allow you to license materials for your communications. Remember, don’t focus just on investment performance but rather on lifestyle issues that are influenced by money….saving for college, helping elderly parents, etc.
It’s easy to focus on providing communication the “old-fashioned” way. But in addition to regular face-to-face meetings, you must subsidize your relationship with communications that highlight your expertise.