Millennial Marketing - How To Build Your Practice For The Future
Bryan M Kuderna
May 2017

“He who sows sparingly shall reap sparingly.  He who sows generously shall reap generously.”  - Paul to The Corinthians

I leaned back in my worn leather office chair, took a deep cleansing breath, and gazed out the window while my computer booted up.  It was a typical cold, gloomy New Jersey day in late January.  OK, the year is off to an average start, but I’m not after average.  Where is my next round of business going to come from?  I restored some confidence by visually noting each plaque and award that hung on my office walls, reassuring myself that every year I harbored these same feelings, but things ended up alright.

I snapped back to reality when my laptop prompted me to enter my Username and Password.  I bucked my normal routine of opening e-mails and entering the rat race.  Instead, this morning I logged onto Facebook to touch base with the world.  The messenger notification blinked.  I clicked the icon and was taken to a message from a vaguely familiar face, but definitely not one of my pals.  “Hey Bryan!  You probably don’t remember me, but I listened to those Financial Planning Lunch N Learn’s you used to give at my hospital during residency.  Anyway, I’m an attending physician now and for the first time in my life I have money in my pocket.  First, would you still be willing to help me?  Second, I live in Virginia now, and can you still help me?”

One month later, I had quickly placed a $15,000 premium life insurance policy, rolled over a small old 403(b), and opened a nicely funded brokerage account.  This began a wonderful relationship with a client I can now call a friend, not to mention several introductions to his physician buddies in Virginia and California.

Welcome to the world of Millennial Marketing.  Millennials comprise the generation roughly born between 1980-2000.  There are about 77 million of us, making up 25 percent of the American population.1  Forty-three percent of us are non-white, the largest share of any generation.2   We touch our smart phones on average 45 times per day.3  Just 26 percent of us are married, compared to 65 percent of our grandparent’s generation at the same age!4  Needless to say, we do things a bit differently.

When you meet with a Millennial household, be prepared to be selling to a breadwinning mom and stay-at-home dad, a young couple not born in America, perhaps two mom’s or two dad’s, or a traditional Leave It to Beaver family.  We are unique and proud of it.

If you want to build a thriving financial services practice with staying power, your marketing plan must include at least some connection to Millennials, just as the Silent Generation targeted Baby Boomers, and each forward-thinking generation has done before that.  Let’s start by gaining an understanding of the psychology behind these inimitable up-and-comer’s.  Briefly hop into my frontal lobe to realize the Who, Why, Where, and How of my (sample Millennial) buying decisions…

  • Who - I feel overwhelmed.  I recently graduated from college.  It took me longer than expected to land my first job and now I’m not even sure how long I plan on staying here.  My student loans feel like a noose around my neck.  My parents are bugging me to move out, constantly comparing me to their generation and how much they had already achieved by this age.  Rent seems like a ridiculously expensive waste, but I don’t have the money for a downpayment on a condo yet.  I’m not sure if I should settle down or not, some of my friends are married with kids, while most of them are on the other side of 30 and proudly single.  If worst comes to worst, I’ll hit the online dating circuit.  I know money plays a role in all of this, but I was never taught about it and it’s too confusing for me.
  • Why - I will hire an adviser for the same reasons any other generation would, you must satisfy my wants and then my needs.  I want to get rid of my student loans ASAP. Don’t talk to me about 401(k)s and life insurance if we haven’t addressed my loans first.  I want a new car. If your plan isn’t willing to meet me halfway and balance short-term and long-term goals, I’m out.  I want you to teach me how to move out and what my finances will be like when I’m on my own.  I need to plan for retirement in case the media’s dire outlook of Social Security, pensions, and other “entitlements” comes true.  I need to control my credit card debt and FICO score.  I need to understand Roth options and diversifying a tax bill that is decades off.  I need to build a rainy-day fund and create a budget congruent with my personal goals.  I need to recognize my insurance options while young and healthy.
  • Where - I want solutions to these concerns, but I’m not sure where to look for a competent and trustworthy adviser.  There are two sources I’m going to consult—Google and my friends.  If I need some more opinions, Facebook is at my beck and call.  I don’t need to know you, I don’t need to meet you, frankly I might even prefer just communicating via GoTo Meetings while eating ice cream in my pajamas.  If I do decide to meet you at the office, please don’t take offense by my sweats and flip flops.  But beware, I’ve lived under my parents’ roof for 90 percent of my life thus far, so before I pull the trigger I’ll probably need their stamp of approval.
  • How - I found you and I want your advice, but I didn’t study business so please slow down.  Don’t bore me with statistics about underfunded retirement, life expectancy, potential disabilities or threats to my financial plan, because they don’t apply to me.  If you share a real-life story, I might reconsider.  I’ve never had to make this many independent decisions so please hold my hand through this process.  I want to stay in contact with you now that you’re “my guy.”  However, I check my mailbox once a week—usually only if I pass by it.  I don’t pick up phone calls from numbers I don’t know, so you’d better be saved in my contacts.  If I didn’t pick up, don’t try leaving a message because my voicemail is full and I have no intention of listening to them.  I used to be really good with E-mails when I synced them up to my iPhone, but now that’s overloaded with spam.  Your best bet is to shoot me a text message.  If I forget to respond to your text message, be sure to reach out on Facebook or LinkedIn.

You don’t have to be a Millennial to market to Millennials.  While we certainly like to share business with those who walk, talk and act like us, there is a healthy dose of respect for those who’ve paved the way as well.  Millennials may be quirky in our own way.  Yes, there is a good chance you’ll ask for a check to seal the deal, only to face a reply that we don’t have a checkbook.  You’ll likely respond by telling us to go to the bank, we’ll reply that we don’t know where it is, we just go online.  Stories like this will become par for the course.  Nevertheless, once you empathize, you will capitalize.  Be patient as we are just seeds, but Millennials will grow quickly and we won’t forget who helped us get to where we are. 

Footnotes:

  1. Nielsen- Millennials: Breaking the Myths (01-27-2014) 
  2. Pew Research- Millennials in Adulthood (03-07-2014) 
  3. SDL (03-19-2014) 
  4. Pew Research- Millennials in Adulthood (03-07-2014)

Author's Bio
Bryan M Kuderna
CFP, LUTCF, is an investment adviser representative with Kuderna Financial Team. He is a perennial qualifier for the industry's prestigious Million Dollar Round Table®, Leaders Club, and Inner Circle. He is the author of the best-selling book, "MILLENNIAL MILLIONAIRE- A Guide to Become a Millionaire by 30". Kuderna has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from The College of New Jersey. He has also studied at The University of Tampa and The University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic. He is a featured speaker nationwide at college campuses, teaching hospitals, government offices, syndicated talk radio shows, and major publications on the subjects of financial literacy, millennial business, networking, and personal development. Kuderna can be reached at Kuderna Financial Team, 1040 Broad Street, Ste. 202 Shrewsbury, NJ 07702. Phone: 848-456-3057. Email: bkuderna@planningalliance.com.















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