By Nancy Feig
According to a new Celent report, The Millennials, Financial Services, and the Web, the "Millennial" generation, born between 1982 and 2000, will represent the next mass affluent group and financial institutions will need new marketing approaches to reach them.Wait, now banks have to worry about marketing out to seven year olds?
Celent says attracting this group is "increasingly important" because they have no long-standing ties with any financial institution. I'm sorry to sound blunt, but DUH. We're talking about seven to 25 year olds. That's a wide range, but most of that group can't even drive yet, let alone have meaningful relationships with banks.
I mean, I get it, the needs of this generation are going to be different, but exactly what is this generation? Is this a new one? I'm having trouble keeping track. A quick Google search tells me that the Millennial Generation is the same as Generation Y, but another search tells me that the Millennial Generation includes those born between 1977 and 1998. Another look tells me it's also the Internet Generation (1994-2000). I'm not even sure where I fall in there. Right now I'm wishing I was part of a more defined generation like the Lost Generation (1883-1900) or even better, the Greatest Generation (1911-1924).
But I digress.
Below are some points that Celent makes in its report. My comments are in italics.
• Overall awareness of financial products and services has grown over the last few years in the Gen M group. Well, this makes sense, usually kids don't become less aware of banks as they grow up.
• Gen M highly values remote channels, such as e-mail, Internet and mobile phone. That's weird, my 12-year-old cousin sent me a telegraph the other day. I wonder if she's heard of e-mail...
• Checking accounts and debit cards are still the most pervasive products for Gen M. Why aren't these kids opening Roth IRAs?? Do they know the state of social security in this country?
• Investment by financial institutions in the Internet channel can pay off handsomely. No comment.
I hope I'm not being too harsh on Celent. I'm a big fan of much the company's work, but I hope they didn't spend too much time on this research.
I can just picture the focus group now. A bunch of tweens sitting behind a one-way mirror, being drilled by researchers about how often they refinance their mortgages and their need for wealth management products.
Unfortunately, I'm too old to know the lingo they probably used when calling their proctors total losers.