As a millennial, and as someone who has been writing to my own generation since 2010, I find this interesting. I admit that a part of me doesn't understand what's so complicated to figure out, but I guess that's because I am a member of the very market companies are trying to reach.
On the other hand, as a business and finance writer who regularly spends time consulting with companies on how to better market to millennials, I can see why it's challenging to cater to a generation that seems to be bucking tradition left and right.
With that being said, I'm happy to see that there are some companies in the financial tech space that are getting it right. Or, at least, that's my perspective from working closely with them and also paying attention to the reaction from my readers.
Here are three things you can learn from FinTech companies about how to better market to millennials. Just note that since I eat, sleep and breathe finance, I'll be comparing FinTech to an industry that is really struggling to get that millennial market - traditional banking.
Stop being afraid of innovation.
Financial tech companies aren't afraid of innovation. That's why we now have apps that help us pay for things, services that help us invest spare change and new companies to refinance student loans.
Simply put, many of these tech companies noted how traditional financial services were not catering to a new generation that valued ease of use. They also weren't really catering to the financial issues facing this particular market.
So they did something about it. They created something new based on the needs of the market they were trying to attract.
It's business 101, really. But the issue many companies run into - especially the more traditional ones like financial services - is that they are afraid to change because trying new things is risky.
However, at some point, businesses who are catering to millennials are going to have to get over this fear. In order to meet our challenges, innovation will be a requirement.
Have some sort of value system.
Here's the thing about millennials: We're very socially conscious. To the point where we won't give our money to companies who we know are doing something that is not in line with our values.
Here's an example to put it in perspective. There's a DeFund DAPL movement where individuals are divesting their funds from the large banks who are financial DAPL and putting their money into alternative banks like Aspiration.
Aspiration, in particular, has investment funds where they invest into sustainable green companies with good employee practices. This is pretty much the polar opposite traditional financial institutions backing DAPL.
Considering 71 percent of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to a banker - much of which has to do with The Great Recession, ethical scandals and feeling misunderstood - it's no wonder that innovations that have come from outside of the industry (like the aforementioned tech companies) are seeing so much success.
Now, I'm not saying you should be political for the sake of being political. What I am saying is you better have some semblance of a value system or we won't stick around.
Provide a good user experience.
Speaking of values, millennials value a good user experience. If you can pull this off, then you've earned our money.
In our case, good UX in finance looks like mobile and ease of use. Once again, the tech companies who've entered the finance space are doing a great job while more traditional financial institutions are not.
I love being able to use something like Acorns - which is literally a phone app - to help me invest. It's got a great interface, it's easy to use and I have all the information I need at my fingertips.
On the other hand, the mobile app for the bank where I have my business account makes me want to cry because I can't even do something basic, like transfer money to my personal account from within the app.
Marketing to millennials really isn't that hard and it's no different than Business 101 advice. Create things that cater to their needs, give them a reason to trust you and be innovative. That's it.