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Finance marketing for Gen Y: Takeaways from the 2017 KPMG survey

They’re independent-minded. They cherry-pick. But Gen Y is also hankering for finance marketing advice.

In just five years, Gen Y will form 50% of the Australian workforce. That’s a hefty percentage, with a heck of a lot of spending power behind it. Who are they? What do they want? Is it true that they have the attention span of a goldfish that’s been knocked on the head with a goldfish-sized wrench?

The 2017 KPMG survey – which interviewed 1400 KPMG Gen Y professionals – helps to answer all these questions save the last (which is “no”). With the aid of a nifty infographic, finance content marketers can pluck out a few interesting findings in particular, applying them to refine their strategy and better engage the growing Gen Y segment of existing and potential clients.

With 84% of millennials not ruling out banking with a tech giant, the time is now (if not sooner) to shift ever more towards the biggest generation’s unique preferences and needs.

They’re after convenience

Nothing new here. But finance marketers can consider the ‘Uberisation’ argument clinched. Convenience really is key for the tech generation, which is increasingly mapping, navigating and ordering its existence within and through the smartphone screen. This means shifting away from coin-and-paper currency to ‘invisible money’, through which customers can access funds and make payments on the go, wherever they are. Imaginary moolah as binary bits will soon be the force for all kinds of transactions, whether that’s after a cheeseburger, in the car, or in a hotel room on the other side of the world.

Of equal significance – with work tugging at their brains and pinging their inboxes right up until the time they hit the sack for bed – few young professionals have the patience to labour through lengthy policies or stodgy details when it comes to doing finance. Instead, they will opt for the path of least resistance, which manifests as the path of fewest taps or clicks – a seamless, integrated experience on their choice of channel and device. The report confirms that digital delivery options are preferred by this group, with the ‘face to face’ experience seen as more pressure-driven and inhibitive to customer independence.

If finance marketing can simplify information through easy-to-access content – with jargon-free guides, how-to explainers and user-driven apps – they’ll be travelling a little closer to the Uber exemplar.

They’re seeking advice on savings

Overwhelmingly, the Gen Y investment strategy is to make nest eggs and brood. Three quarters of their investments are in savings accounts, with many unwilling to put their dollars in property, funds, term deposits or shares – possibly due to the volatility marking recent times. They’re notably non-possessive too, pivoting towards providers who can give them access to products without the cost burden of full ownership.

This risk-avoidant behaviour is a good focus to build from for finance content marketers. Content which provides personalised savings advice and strategic investment insights will give both startups and established finance institutions an edge for this prudent yet affluent group.

‘How-tos’ aren’t the only option though. Often, consumers want to be able to relate to how others are facing challenges or pursuing ambitions similar to their own. WealthSimple’s Money Diaries makes for an excellent example of a brand who found success with this content marketing tack. An interview series in which celebrities and diverse personalities share their fiscal histories and anecdotes, it has been home to Woody Harrelson on being a bad debt collector’, Kevin Bacon on why money is hard for creative people and a nun’s account of what it’s like to live with a vow of poverty.

They want help turning their entrepreneurial dreams into realities

You’ve got to give it to Gen Y – they’re an ambitious lot. According to the survey, over 50% of them are undercover entrepreneurs. Many head home from their day jobs to concoct and refine their own private business schemes at night. (We can confirm: one of our company members also copywrites for a gym teacher in Melbourne, who is currently launching his own online underwear startup company.)

Making an idea into a business reality takes an impressive amount of energy and motivation. Finance institutions can show their value by walking side-by-side with their customers towards their evolving goals – providing relevant content to motivate, inspire and advise them along the way. In doing so, a relationship of trust is more likely to bloom.

If they’re going to be loyal, they want to be rewarded for it

Brand loyalty is following a rule of diminishing returns. This is especially true of millennials, who are leveraging and cherry-picking the best value across multiple institutions, rather than putting all their eggs in one banking basket. According to the survey, 28% hold financial products with more than three financial institutions – an 11% hike from the previous year.

Loyalty is rare nowadays. And Gen Y knows it. If they’re going to be faithful to your finance company, they want to be rewarded. Content marketing’s customer-centric and personalised raison d’être means audiences are less likely to be left raising an eyebrow, tapping their fingernails, demanding, “Well?”. Done right, content marketing will be consistently serving them relevant resources – at a time and rate that suits their consumer needs.

They’re going off-road on the conventional life journey

Millennials aren’t the settling down type. The report shows that they’re delaying those big investment decisions (like buying a house), choosing a life of greater financial and lifestyle flexibility. This ‘in the moment’, ‘as needs’ mindset also means that they gravitate towards packages and services with short-term commitments, specific rather than bundled services and ‘no strings attached’ plans.

They’re also not the type to settle for less. The report describes their spending habits under the #yolo (you only live once) category, with the globetrotting group spending big on experience-based products and services, especially travel. What’s the driver behind this? ‘FOMO’, says the report sombrely – ‘fear of missing out’.

The report makes it clear that Gen Y doesn’t want to be shoehorned into any relationships or deals. To stand out, marketers should go for the softer touch over the hard sell, with personalised messaging that allows the individual to map their life journey, rather than prescribe any predetermined course.

They’re hungry for advice – so long as it’s relevant

What really should get those in the finance marketing game ticking is this: Gen Y wants to be educated around wealth generation and financial coaching. A caveat: this tutelage “has to be tailored to their realities and priorities.”

“The perception of what is on offer at the moment often does not address their aspirations,” says the report. “Providing them the appropriate online learning resources could be a starting point to engage with them on their financial journey.”

Even though 74% of survey respondents take the DIY spreadsheet approach to managing their finances, they admit to themselves that they can do better. With the perception that incumbent institutions aren’t adequately meeting their aspirations and goals, they’re increasingly turning towards fintechs for tools and tips.

For all their fierce independence and aspirational mindset, the Gen Y generation “has a poor understanding of their spending habits and value information and tools that help them manage their finances better,” concludes the report. “This presents financial institutions with the opportunity to offer value-added capabilities around money management as well as explore new products that answer this cohort’s mindset (e.g. micro-insurance, micro- loans, savings maximisers, etc).”

Sounds like the ideal case for content marketing.

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