Breaking From Norms: Innovative Strategies For Engaging Gen Z And Millennials

Strategies For Reaching Next Gen Clientele Range From Virtual Restaurant Tours To Keeping Up With The Latest Social Media Influencers
Maria Bethel, SVP of Marketing and Communications, Axtella
Maria Bethel, SVP of Marketing and Communications, Axtella

Connecting with young people is increasingly critical in our industry, especially as the nation’s boomers move into and through retirement and prepare to pass their wealth to younger generations. Through conversations at industry events, I’ve discovered that many firms remain anchored to traditional engagement methods. They are largely avoiding the issue, even when the efforts they’ve stuck with for years or decades produce diminishing results. To truly resonate with Gen Z and millennials, we must rethink our strategies and adopt innovative approaches.

From my view as the marketing and communications executive at a financial network of two broker-dealers and an RIA, a significant part of the solution lies in offering operational support to advisors that aligns with the digital preferences of younger audiences. For instance, traditional hour-long webinars on retirement planning often fail to capture the interest of younger clients.

Experiences And Influencers

Instead, innovative experiences and relatable topics such as a debt reduction discussion during a virtual restaurant or modern art tour can create engaging and memorable interactions. These experiences not only provide valuable financial education but also build a sense of community and trust.

Innovative experiences not only provide valuable financial education but also build a sense of community and trust.

Maria Bethel, SVP of Marketing and Communications, Axtella

One effective method involves leveraging social media influencers. By engaging with influencers who have built trust and rapport with young audiences, you can connect with them on platforms they frequently use and trust. Influencers can demystify complex financial concepts and present them in a relatable manner, making financial planning more accessible and appealing to younger generations.

Digital Tools

Another crucial aspect is the evolution of compliance standards – exploring ways to challenge the boundaries of traditional compliance to facilitate more effective communication with younger clients. A notable example is the introduction of a compliant texting solution, which allows financial professionals to maintain regulatory integrity while enhancing client engagement. Texting, as a mode of communication, resonates well with younger clients who prefer quick and direct interactions over formal emails or phone calls.

Implementing such a tool requires a strategic approach:

Create open internal communication strategies: Ensure that all team members are aligned and informed about new tools and approaches. This involves regular training sessions, clear communication from leadership, and an open forum for feedback and questions.

Educate financial professionals: Directly assisting advisors when introducing a technology solution to their office staff and clients can increase the rate of adoption and make the whole process more seamless. Advisors should be equipped with resources and scripts to help explain the benefits and compliance aspects of the new tool.

Ensure that all team members are aligned and informed about new tools and approaches.

Maria Bethel, SVP of Marketing and Communications, Axtella

Provide intentional follow-up: Listen to feedback from early adopters to refine and improve the process. This involves regular check-ins, surveys and a dedicated support team to address any issues promptly.

Text messaging takes longer than might be expected due to compliance and consent requirements. By modifying those requirements, the process can be streamlined while mitigating the risk of regulatory violations.

What sort of adoption goal can you set for this type of tech rollout? Setting a goal to see measurable results within a three-month timeline can be effective. To promote this tool internally, utilize email, social media posts, internal newsletters, support portals, webinars and internal conferences. Emphasize how the tool allows for convenient communication via texting, automates workflows such as appointment reminders, and ensures compliance without the worry of violations.

See The World Like The Next Gen

Engaging with Next Gen clients also requires a nuanced understanding of their values and priorities. Younger generations place a high value on transparency, social responsibility and personalization. They are more likely to engage with firms that demonstrate a commitment to these values. For example, emphasizing a commitment to social responsibility through initiatives that support veterans and local communities can connect strongly with young people.

It also helps when the advisor can speak the same language as their younger clients and prospects. While it’s understandable that advisors aren’t regularly scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, they should still be aware of the information circulating within the social media ecosystem. This includes both reputable and unreliable sources disseminating news and investment advice. Being informed about this can provide opportunities to reinforce good practices, demystify financial planning concepts, and expose poor or nonsensical investment strategies that investors might encounter.

A tech-savvy, inclusive and innovative workplace for financial professionals can also resonate with young prospects. For instance, firms that provide continuous online financial education may be appealing to young people. Additionally, by fostering a diverse and dynamic work environment and staff, you can not only attract young talent but also create a culture more closely in tune with the needs and expectations of younger clients.

Advisors should be aware of the information circulating within the social media ecosystem.

Maria Bethel, SVP of Marketing and Communications, Axtella

It’s our responsibility to meet young people where they are with the tools and support they need to succeed. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement and client-centric innovation, we can exceed young clients’ expectations, securing their trust and loyalty for years to come.

Maria Bethel is SVP of Marketing and Communications at Axtella, the network of RIA Sigma Planning and broker-dealers Sigma Financial and Parkland Securities.

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