It has always been a plaintive cry of older Americans: “How do I get through to these kids?”
For several years, Millennials have been the target of criticism from older Americans who claim they just don’t understand the generation that unofficially started with those born in 1980. Of course, the same criticism was offered to people born into what is known as Generation X, those born after the Baby Boomers starting in approximately 1965.
The problem, which is historical in nature, is communication. People from different generations communicate differently from each other, and certainly that causes difficulty in communicating with each other.
Technology plays a role in that problem today. The invention of the cellphone and the smartphone created an entirely new world of communication complications, even as supposedly made communication easier.
But communicating with and getting information to Millennials is a key aspect of an advisor’s job, and communicating with Millennials is just different than it was communicating with baby Boomers or even Gen Xers.
Spectrem’s new study on the younger generations of investors explains how difficult or different communication is these days. In Millennial And Generation X Investors: Attracting The Next Generations Of Wealth, the challenge of getting through to Millennials is examined.
Let’s begin at the beginning. Millennials are most likely to respond to a first-time communication from advisors if that communication comes via email. Forty-eight percent of Millennials say that is the best way to get to them for an introductory pitch. That compares to 39 percent of Gen Xers.
Thirty percent of Millennial say they would prefer for an advisor to reach out by a phone call, but the advisor would likely need to have a cell phone number rather than a landline, as many Millennials live these days without landline service.
Twelve percent of Millennials want their first contact with an advisor to be via LinkedIn or Facebook.
Once an advisor has acquired a Millennial as a client, that advisor needs to decide whether they are available to talk to their new client via text, because that is what the Millennial client wants. Sixty-eight percent of Millennials would engage with their advisor via text or instant messaging systems. That’s double the 32 percent of Gen Xers who want to be able to text their advisor.
There are ways beyond voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication that works for getting information about new financial products to Millennial clients, even though 36 percent of Millennials still prefer in-person meetings for receiving new information. On the other hand, 32 32 percent want to receive such information via e-mail with information attached.
Millennials do not want to receive such new product information via a text message with a link; only 5 percent prefer that communication method.
There are times in the study when Millennials offer surprises. Asked which social media site they are most likely to receive financial and investment information from, LinkedIn received the highest marks, followed by Twitter, then YouTube and Facebook. Forty-two percent of Millennials watch videos on financial websites, with a preference for videos on stock tips and videos by financial commentators.
Their ease of internet use makes getting information easier for Millennials (although they have to question the sources they use). On a scale of 0 to 100, Millennials rated media services providing financial information, and put websites like Motley Fool at the top of the rating (48.86) but gave similar ratings to financial podcasts (42.85) and cable business news shows on networks such as CNBC or Fox Business (41.39). In all cases, Millennials rated broadcast services higher than Gen Xers did for acquiring financial knowledge.
The end result of the study is that Millennials are both reachable and looking for information. It is up to the advisor and provider to find the method that best suits each Millennial in your client file.
Top Takeaways for Advisors
Most Millennials are no longer children or dependents. They are active members of the investment community and are just as interested in receiving financial information as older investors. Because of their use of smartphones and the internet, Millennials are probably more reachable than older investors. Advisors must survey their Millennial clients to either determine what method works best or to let Millennials know where you are offering the best and most up-to-date information.
©2018 Spectrem Group