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Financial Marketing Is the Secret to Retaining Millennials’ Attention

Posted by Jessica Kumor on March 29, 2017

Savvy financial marketing coupled with ongoing development of customer products is the solution to the rapidly declining number of millennials who have a traditional bank as their primary financial institution.

Millennials switch from their primary bank at a pace nearly double the average of other age groups, reported Accenture.

Millennial Bank Retention Accenture 2015 Study Financial Marketing is the Secret to Retaining Millennials' Attention.png

Moreover, 33% of millennials believe that they will eventually not need a bank at all, according to the Millennial Disruption Index, a three-year survey of more than 10,000 millennials.

Millennials are the generation most attuned to the banking industry’s shortcomings, but they’re really just the canary in a coal mine or, more appropriately, they are 80 million canaries. Generation Z is right around the corner and they are going to demand faster, better, more personalized digital experiences at an even greater rate than millennials.

Solving the millennials retention problem will create better experiences overall for older customers and help enable banks to think ahead to Generation Z’s needs as well.


How Fintech Companies Are Winning Millennials’ Trust with Financial Marketing

While banks were once considered an integral part of the community, the four leading banks in the country are four of millennials’ least liked brands. What’s more, millennials who don’t actively dislike traditional banks often report that their banking experience is just ordinary and don’t see the difference between their bank and other banks. 

Fintech companies are gaining a larger share of the millennial market and achieving more positive brand recognition because they are creating more agile, personalized experiences. They are also demonstrating a deeper understanding of millennial financial situations and how the recession impacted this group’s financial habits and attitudes.

Fintech companies don’t often have access to greater resources than traditional financial institutions. So how are they able to win millennials’ trust and retain these customers when banks are not?

Millennials judge banks on two primary qualities:

  • A bank’s digital capabilities and services
  • A bank’s perceived ability to act as an overall financial caretaker

Fintech companies use financial marketing and branding to create the perception that they are acting as financial advisors to their customers. These brands also use multi-touchpoint, personalized marketing workflows to present information and services at the right time — when the customer is already in the buying mindset. This leads to greater cross-sell opportunities, improved customer retention and satisfaction, and a positive brand reputation.


Financial Marketing Can Help Retain and Engage Millennial Customers

While marketers may not be able to create new products faster, they are able to frame the discussion around the products and services available and create the experiences that enable banks to act as members’ financial caretakers.

The latest in marketing technology enables financial marketers to create multi-touch, multi-dimensional experiences to better fit the user’s personal goals and banking journey.

“[Millennials] have a firm belief that the insights of modern technology can be competitive with someone who is personally advising you, and at a fraction of the cost,” Luis Viceira, George E. Bates Professor and Senior Associate Dean for International Development at Harvard Business School, told Forbes.

Thanks to millennials’ dependence on digital channels, banks are able to act as financial advisors without having to invest in the costly overhead personnel would require. Instead, banks can develop the digital tools and experiences that personalize advice to the individual.

More often than not, many great tools and services are already developed, but the initial concept or presentation doesn’t fit within the unique digital-savvy behavior that helps define this generation. The presentation and back-end workflows for these tools and services are like parts of an engine not properly hooked up because financial decisions are not based on linear thinking and progression, which means workflows shouldn’t be either.

If humans made linear decisions, we would be more like Vulcans.

Spock Vulcans Nimoy Financial Marketing is the Secret to Retaining Millennials' Attention.jpg 

Successful Customer Retention Tactics for Financial Marketers
  • Multiple engagement opportunities — Millennials, and arguably humans in general, don’t make financial decisions in a linear manner. As a result, each digital communication channel should have multiple engagement opportunities to drive more conversions and interactions. Each of those engagement opportunities should encourage a user toward a deeper level of action with a resulting personalized nurture sequence. Keep in mind that even the nurture sequence needs to be smart and enabled to change course if a customer completes another action that sparks a change in the communication strategy.
  • Content marketing — While content is often seen as a lead generation tactic, it can also be used to retain and improve customer relationships. As mentioned above, many millennials are looking for their banks to act as trusted financial advisors. Banks have a front-row seat to customer banking behavior data — sometimes to an overwhelming degree. But by slicing that data into user behavior segments and offering personalized content toward those behaviors, millennials will feel as if their bank is a reliable source of advice.
Hot tip: Each sliver of financial advice can be repurposed into more than 25 different pieces of content to reach different types of customers.


  • Insight-driven marketing — The importance of insight based on data for financial marketers is more important than ever. New tools and technologies make advanced analytics available for all sizes of organizations, while new digital channels allow for greater personalization than ever. Each interaction a customer has on your website should build a more complete profile that matches back with an integrated marketing communications plan.
  • Mobile marketing — Millennials do a significant portion of their banking on mobile devices. At a minimum, banks require a website that is mobile optimized and responsive. Realistically, many of the primary functions of a bank customer’s financial interaction must be mobile-friendly. For some institutions, this may mean the development of an app. For others, it may result in building a truly mobile-first website, which means sizing the site up instead of down.
  • Personalization — Communication without personalization is useless. Every piece created and every tactic used must be based on behavior segmentation and personalized. The availability of user data from marketing technology and advanced analytics makes non-personalized communications a thing of the past. Personalization leads to higher response and conversion rates, brand loyalty, increased relevance and greater customer retention — for millennials and older generations.

Marketing is the secret to staving off the millennial exodus banks are seeing today. With the right financial marketing strategies in place, banks can better convince millennials that they are a trusted resource and able to financially guide their customers with personalized advice. Building that relationship and perception will improve millennial retention levels and create cross-selling opportunities in the future.


Topics: Financial Services

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