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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2015

Marketing to Millennials

Don’t sell to them — engage with them

Millennials are an important target market in the mortgage industry because they now represent the largest pool of potential homebuyers. Defined as those between the ages of 16 and 35, millennials make up a population of roughly 80 million — a population that’s even larger than the baby boomer generation. Considered the most educated generation to date, this demo-graphic requires more information, research and brand engagement before making a decision to purchase.

Marketing and communicating to a younger generation commands a different approach to that of other generations. Traditional forms of marketing such as direct mail, print ads or even e-mail marketing are not as effective with this group.

Millennials understand what spam e-mail looks like; they can vet it out and delete it quicker than you can imagine. Direct mail is less effective because this group goes online to search for the information they need. In turn, text messaging will only be effective once a relationship has been built.

To earn a millennial as a personal client, mortgage professionals must understand and familiarize themselves with the ways this generation engages through various media. Millennials don’t want to be sold to; they want to be engaged with.

Understanding millennials

At a Glance

The millennial generation

  • 80 million strong
  • Technologically savvy
  • Considered generally optimistic
  • Most diverse generation to date
  • Main sources for news are television and the Internet

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

 

It’s important to position your bank or brokerage on the frontline of social media, taking a millennial-friendly approach with all of your interactions. Companies should refrain, however, from selling through social media outlets such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Instead, use these outlets as a way to engage with and educate this audience.

Because this generation relies heavily on social endorsements when making a buying decision, it’s vital for your brand to be positively represented online, in consumer reviews and paid media. Millennials have grown up in an era that has endless choices, creating a critical need to tread lightly and patiently, yet with clear intention. It’s easy to figure out if you are being sold to as a stereotype, and this holds an array of negative connotations of pushy behavior.

Reaching them

So, how do you communicate and market to this core group? Positive affirmations and social endorsements heavily influence the buying decision of millennials, so you need to educate them and earn that trust to get the commitment to purchase.

This demographic starts its shopping process online. With the amount of viable information accessible to anyone, this generation capitalizes on an unspoken expectation of limitless search engines and readily available information. Engaging at the preshopping level will ensure that these customers receive positive brand exposure early in their decisionmaking process.

When engaging, keep in mind that these individuals are searching for whom they know and whom they can trust, so be familiar and honest 100 percent of the time. Millennials are asking you to engage with them as a consumer, show them what they need to know, educate them, and help them understand the situation and options at hand.

Some consumers may be unaware of the many advantages of homeownership, including property selection, customization and investment opportunities. Although the thrill of owning a home can seem attractive to a prospective client, that client must also be educated about the process and requirements of purchasing a first home.

As a generation who may have some of the highest debt levels in history — including student loans and credit card debt — these potential homeowners will need guidance to manage their debt-to-income ratios, spending habits and ideal credit balances. Loan officers who experience success with the millennial generation will be the ones who provide the most valuable education.

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In short, take a consultative approach based on millennials’ communication preferences and create deep, long-lasting relationships by developing a personal connection with each of your customers. Invest in building these relationships and millennials will invest in what you have to offer. 


 
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