Adams & Knight Marketing Blog
POSTED BY: Marc McFarland

How to market financial services to millennials


Lately, you just can’t help but notice all the press devoted to marketing research on millennials. From what they buy and how they prefer to purchase to who they trust and how they communicate, it seems like just about every fiber of this demographic is being dissected, analyzed and scrutinized.

Of course, the reason why so many want to learn as much as possible about this market segment shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not only are millennials a unique breed with distinct preferences, research from Nielsen shows that they are 77 million strong in the U.S., make up 24 percent of the country’s population and possess unrivaled long-term buying power because of their age group.

The challenge for financial services marketers is not just to consume the volumes of research that are out there now, but to take the insights and translate them into effective marketing solutions that help reach, engage and convert this extremely influential market segment. Consider just a few of the ways you can start integrating the key marketing insights you read into your own marketing programs:

Think DIY…PDQ.
According to, adults under the age of 35 have an innate desire for “active participation, individual customization and experiential value.” Translation for financial brands? Find ways to incorporate creativity and technology into marketing solutions that allow this segment to have a “say” in customizing (and creating) products and services that meet their needs. Apps, etools, and digital marketing solutions that let millennials get online and “do” something…or create a customized experience with your brand is the key to fully leveraging this insight.

Make the connection between the internet and millennials.
In a recent research report published by the American Press Institute, 90 percent of millennials say they own a smartphone and the majority (51 percent) of millennials says that they are mostly or almost always online and connected. That means at anytime, and from anywhere they can interact with brands if they also have a digital—and mobile—presence. So ask yourself (or your digital marketing team), how is your brand’s digital strategy nurturing millennials? Are your websites and other digital assets mobile friendly? Can they interact with your brand in multiple ways . . . morning, noon or night . . . whether they’re sitting in their backyard or sitting on a plane to China? Can they make purchases online? Get service? Ask questions and get answers to them? All from their cell phone or tablet? Can they “try out” or test your product or service online before purchasing? Probing for answers to these questions will help you finetune a strategy that will keep you connected to them.

Recognize the power of social media. 
Here’s why. Millennials do not trust financial advisors. For the most part, their trusted advisors are friends and family….which they stay connected to through…you guessed it…social media. In fact, according to, about 74 million millennials in the U.S. are social media users. So an effective marketing solution will be to leverage the power of popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter to highlight the experiences their trusted network and influencers have with your product or services.

Do away with silos.
It works better when it works together. This is critical as it relates to your online experience. Millennials will engage with your brand online at many different touch points; your website, your social platforms, your online advertising and search campaigns. Remember that your brand is only as strong as your weakest touchpoint. That’s why making sure all your digital properties are integrated and working together is absolutely essential. They should work in tandem to reinforce your brand message and identity and create a consistent online experience for all audiences. 

One last thought….the principles of marketing to a new demographic haven’t changed. The difference now is how we do it. Financial brands that harness the power of social, mobile and digital to make their brands more visible and relevant to millennials will have more success connecting with this group—and making those connections last.


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Marc McFarland
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