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  • Writer's pictureJill Collins

Why Marketing to Millennials Really Is Different

6 items millennials want—and don’t want

I used to work in banking. And the last project I worked on for my employer was developing a new product for millennials.

Our months-long industry research and focus groups told us that millennials really do act differently. Which means that your products and marketing programs targeting millennials need to act differently, too.

How the Millennial Clock Ticks

Completely different from their predecessors—Generation X in the 39 to 53 age range—millennials were born between 1980 and 1994. Consequently, they felt the stress and pressure from their parents who were either out of work, or afraid they were about to be, during The Recession.

They felt the stress and pressure from their parents who were either out of work, or afraid they were about to be, during The Recession.

As their families faced new, less comfortable situations, these kids, unbeknownst to them at the time, learned some serious street smarts.

6 Items Millennials Want—And Don’t Want

  1. Credit card debt is bad. Millennials learned that amassing a large chunk of debt on plush non-necessities isn’t cool. Their thought? If you can’t pay cash, you just shouldn’t buy it. Coincidentally, this led to our development of a debit card product for millennials.

  2. School loans are good and bad. Millennials learned that to live the lives they want, they need a college education. So these loans are good. But, still untrusting of debt, they want the ability to save at a faster rate.

  3. Interest and cash back are good. In every focus group, millennials clamored for cash. Whether in the form of interest or cash back, they just want more. So, yes, we added the accrual of interest to the new millennial debit card product, and a cash-back option.

  4. Saving money is great. Instead of spending on non-essentials, millennials liked the concept of saving—of course with interest. This revelation led us to deliver a separate product: An app for managing money.

  5. People over gadgets. The biggest surprise with this group? They much-preferred in-person banking to online banking. Why? Mostly they strive for connection, with a side of FOMO (#fearofmissingout).

  6. They just wanna have fun. Of course, Millennials are young, so they do require fun product features. In this vein, we developed a personalized image for their debit cards that they could switch out often, and on the cheap.

Signing Off…

Although this list comprises a lot of financial wants, it will help guide you as you pull together product marketing plans for millennials.

For a fresh discussion on this topic, check out LinkedIn’s Millennials Bank with Mom and Dad. It turns out that 26% of millennials leaned on their parents for home mortgage down payments. This speaks volumes as to their financial means and mindsets.

About Jill Collins

Jill Collins at j.comm marketing is a marketing and data professional who specializes in breathing new life into brands, and finding money in nonprofit donor databases. She is a proven and trusted partner when it comes to understanding an organization and its culture. Her talent lies in marrying a client’s wants and needs with logistics. Give Jill a shot. She won’t let you down.


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