Described as the “Every Way Generation” at this year’s Financial Brand conference, millennials are the best new customers.  This segment has over 80 million individuals with $200 billion in buying power and influences an additional $500 billion in purchases.  This is the generation that shows their parents how to do things thus their influence on purchase decisions.

This generation grew up in the 1980s and 1990s wealth but reached adulthood during the economic downturn.  As a result, they are very skeptical of banks and credit unions.  These young adults are earning less than the two previous generations did at the same point in their lifetime.  However, opportunity knocks with this generation.  The TD Bank Savings and Spending Survey 2015 found that 76% of millennials know little or nothing about how to invest, 47% think a savings account is best for retirement funds, and 17% think the stock market is best for growth.  The opportunity for financial institutions is in providing something of value to this generation so they will share their experience with your institution with their friends.

Millennials spend 18 hours of their day consuming media.  They check their smart phones 43 times a day.  On average, they are on Facebook for 50 minutes a day.  Their primary source for news and information is the internet or television.  They trust their peers, parents and friends, more than industry experts.  They listen to streaming radio and many cannot afford cable television.  These habits will definitely impact how you communicate with this generation and future media buying decisions targeted toward this generation.

To cultivate this generation often described as “entitled,” you need to think of them as not a target audience.  They want to know your financial institution’s story and how you both can collaborate to create value.  They want to see how you give back to your communities and help the greater good.  They want banks and credit unions to be upfront about fees and they dislike hidden charges.  Since they are so connected, your mobile application better be both fast and leading-edge functional.

Speaker Jason Falls, Senior Vice President at Elasticity, challenged all of us to rethink, reconsider and refocus when dealing with millennials.  Rethink of mobile as a presence and not a phone.  Reconsider social circles instead of stages.  Refocus on solving their problems versus selling to win these new customers.  Millennials are our future so it’s time to rethink, reconsider and refocus.