- Noah Echols
We’ve read the articles imploring banks and credit unions to provide guidance to Millennials who are looking for help navigating complicated first steps into owning their finances. And nearly every financial institution has jumped on the bandwagon of marketing financial education. Just look at these leading banks:
- Suntrust: “Financial Confidence Starts Here” https://onupmovement.suntrust.com/
- Bank of America: “Better Money Habits” https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en
- Regions: “Financial Fitness Fridays” http://ir.regions.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=889797
- Chase: “Find your personal financial balance with Blueprint” http://www.chasefinancialwellness.com/
- Alliant Credit Union: “The Money Mentor” http://www.alliantcreditunion.org/money-mentor/
The problem with this trend is that it assumes that if the FI provides the education, Millennials will find what they need and choose them. Financial education has become the marketing and the customer service, and in some cases, another product. This approach couldn’t be more wrong.
Millennials want a bank that meets their needs. So, when they don’t understand what “APR” means, they want it easily explained. When they want to buy a house, they want to know what the mortgage application process looks like. And when they just need to open a checking account, they want the lowest fees and the best user experience. These things are not different. Millennials are demanding solid products and personal customer service.
There is a reason that, despite their outrage with large banks, Millennials are still flocking to them. In fact, Millennials are the most likely demographic to choose a big bank. Their products are good. Their digital infrastructure is solid. And they’ve invested in Customer Experience programs.
So, write blog posts about topics of interest and hold seminars or Twitter chats. But don’t let that be your marketing to Millennials. Your message should be that you listen AND respond to customers’ needs. You provide products based on customer feedback and you’re committed to ensuring each customer has a successful financial future. (read our post, 9 Tips for Marketing to Millennials)
Here are four areas you should be prioritizing to win over Millennials:
- Tie your education to your products (instead of productizing your education as in SunTrust’s example) so that the focus is on the user experience and the education is contextual.
- Invest in creating products that solve problems for consumers to differentiate
- Invest in your digital infrastructure, especially mobile banking
- A customer experience program that closes the loop on feedback and democratizes data across the organization is significantly more important than any education initiative