What does it mean to be able to serve consumers of all generations successfully? Do you have to find a different method or solution for each age range?
Financial institutions typically offer services to consumers of all ages. As trends change from generation to generation, building consumer loyalty and marketing to each age range can be challenging. However, ensuring you have solutions for the youngest consumer generation—Generation Z—that span up to the Silent Generation is a significant growth and retention opportunity for your institution. It could lead to decades of business—even more so when you factor in the consumers’ families. This article will help you better understand each generation and how you can serve all of them while maximizing revenue and consumer loyalty.
What Does Each Generation Want from Their Financial Institution?
Many companies change their marketing, products, and solutions to meet the perceived needs of the newest generation entering the market. However, this can alienate other generations and their needs, when a more personalized approach to meeting needs will lead to higher loyalty.
The Silent Generation
Born before 1945, this generation grew up with loyalty deeply ingrained in how they shop and live. It’s important to them that they have stability in their lives. They also have established behaviors they don’t want to change.
The Silent Generation tends to be most responsive to straightforward, easy-to-understand content that provides them with clear instructions on how to participate in an offer. They appreciate having the opportunity to speak to someone on the phone or in-person to answer their questions. They deeply value the companies they do business with and will consider an offer from one of those companies more seriously.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 during sizeable economic growth and times of strong purchasing power. They grew up without modern technology but have learned the ways of email, social media, and other aspects of the internet, so they can socialize and communicate through these channels.
Loyalty programs are likely to motivate this generation toward purchases. They tend to be loyal to the companies where they shop, are typically looking for good deals, and have more discretionary income than other generations. While they are active via email and social media, they are most responsive to strong customer service in various channels and simple content with clear calls to action.
Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. They are the smallest generation, spending most of their childhood and early lives in a recession period. They tend to be more skeptical than other generations and have grown to prioritize quality, convenience, and value for their money.
This generation is familiar with modern technology and is equally receptive to direct mail, social media, and email marketing. Their real motivating factor is getting relevant offers that provide high-quality value. They also value honesty and trustworthiness above all else from the companies they do business with.
As the largest generation in history, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996 and are the first generation who experienced and grew up with modern technology.
The way to earn Millennials’ loyalty is through honesty, authenticity, and strong core values in your institution. They appreciate when a company understands their needs and provides relevant offers.
More than any other age range, Millennials tend to dislike dealing with customer service issues via mail or the phone. They prefer digital options for handling issues, paying bills, or signing up for offers. They can be reached via just about any marketing method since they are fluent in social media and strongly value getting physical mail in their mailbox.
Almost all of Gen Zers’ lives have been spent in a time of modern technology and innovation. They are the youngest of all generations, having been born any time after 1996, and even though many are still young, they hold more spending power than some of their predecessors. Gen Zers have higher levels of credit card debt and personal loan debt compared to other generations, so they value stability at a level similar to the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers.
Generation Z tends to be most responsive to digital, influencer, and email marketing. They prefer avoiding customer service phone calls and like live chats and online bill pay options. Still, when they receive physical offers by mail and can receive a tangible piece of paper in their mailbox, they appreciate it more than the other generations because they didn’t experience a time when mail was the most prevalent form of communication.
Serving Consumers of All Generations
So, if all the generations have such significant differences in tech ability and preferences, how can you offer products and marketing strategies that will serve all of them and manage to build consumer loyalty?
Traditional financial institutions that offer in-person branches and personal assistance cater to the needs of the Silent Generation effectively.
Baby Boomers are best served when their retirement and fixed incomes are protected. They tend to be more interested in Retirement Planning Services, Reverse Mortgages, Fraud Protection, and any kind of insurance that fills potential gaps in their other coverage to avoid draining their retirement with uncovered charges.
Gen X shows more interest in personal loans and investment products. They are at a stage of life where they may have significant financial obligations, such as mortgage payments and college tuition, and they may need insurance to protect against expenses due to a disabling injury or illness.
Millennials are interested in being empowered and having convenient access. They want financial education, digital wallets, personal investment services, renters insurance, pet insurance, identity theft protection, and life insurance protection as they start a family.
Gen Z can be won over with budgeting tools, credit-building products, student loans, mobile banking, and renters insurance.
Marketing for All Generations
Marketing for all generations requires a nuanced approach that considers each demographic’s different preferences and behaviors. A one-size-fits-all marketing strategy is unlikely to be effective in today’s diverse and rapidly changing market. You need to give the consumer a choice when and where they engage with your offers.
Marketing Channels Across Generations
To start, it’s important to understand the channels and platforms that each generation prefers. For example, the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers are more likely to see traditional media such as television and print ads, while Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to use social media and online sources.
All in all, direct mail has demonstrated its role as one of the most effective forms of marketing across all generations. It is especially effective in an omnichannel approach by allowing consumers to opt-in digitally, by phone, or by mail. Direct mail spans all generations, and omnichannel is a practical way to give all generations communication preference options.
Marketing Messaging to Serve Generations
Another critical consideration is the messaging and content of marketing campaigns. Each generation has its own unique values and priorities, and businesses must tailor their messaging accordingly. For example, Baby Boomers may respond well to messaging that emphasizes quality and reliability, while Millennials and Gen Z may respond better to messaging that emphasizes authenticity and social responsibility.
All Generations Want a Positive Customer Experience
Customer experience is an important aspect of any business. In fact, according to PwC, 17% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience, and 59% would walk away after several bad experiences.
Here are some key considerations to create a positive customer experience across all generations:
- Do you have a user-friendly digital experience for consumers to opt into offers, get assistance, pay bills, and get questions answered quickly?
- Are your customer offers, and marketing materials personalized to show you understand their needs?
- Do your communications build trust with transparency and authenticity? This includes providing clear, easy-to-understand information about products and services.
- Are you adapting to meet consumers’ changing needs and expectations? This includes offering a robust product suite from which to choose.
Insurance Products and Direct Marketing That Spans Generations
Offering the right products to the right consumers at the right time can maximize revenue and campaign ROI. At Franklin Madison, we know that offering a variety of high-quality insurance products can help satisfy your consumer’s need for financial protection.
By utilizing Franklin Madison’s omnichannel marketing strategy with direct mail and a robust digital presence and follow-up, you can capitalize on building consumer loyalty across all generations without having to make an investment or using valuable internal resources.