As millennials are quickly becoming the largest population group in the United States, banks that have used the same marketing tactics for decades are in need of a re-vamp for their most important target market. Apple, Nike and other retailers have mastered retailing to millennials by innovating and creating new experiences.
Banks should follow in their footsteps if they want to keep up.
Here are five ways I think banks could modernize to entice millennials back into their doors.
- Money Genius Bars: Clients are hungry for more information to be better with their money, but making an appointment, sitting in a dingy office and then being force-fed an array of credit cards and “low-interest” loans drives clients away from asking for help. If banks had approachable “money geniuses” that would demonstrate tactics and strategies in a non-threatening and fun way, branches would be packed like Apple stores.
- Community Help: Millennials instantly go to the internet to find solutions to their problems. You can watch a YouTube video on how to do just about anything, why not be able to learn about ETFs vs. mutual funds or fixed vs. variable mortgages in a quick, humorous and informative video in the comfort of your own home?
- Social Customer Service: Banks know all too well that when people have complaints, they go to Facebook or Twitter to air them. Why not take community management to the next level and through direct messages allow customer service representatives to do simple tasks like transfer money, remove holds or change reoccurring payments from monthly to weekly?
- Goals and Values vs. Products: Instead of walking into a branch and being hit in the face by confusing products like mortgage or GIC rates, clients should be met by a money coach to help them identify what their goals, values and beliefs are towards money. Nothing gets people to save more than hope and a plan!
- Celebrate Success: At Apple they celebrate when someone buys their first iPhone. Why don't banks celebrate and bolster support for people who are achieving financial freedom by paying off their credit cards or mortgages? And why don’t they offer support groups for small business owners, retirees, students or people just starting out saving for their first home? Banks should be a place of knowledge and support aimed at assisting clients in achieving financial freedom.
All in all, the future of banks should be like a "Home Depot" for finances - we can show you how, cheer you on while you do it yourself, or be there for the hard stuff to take your hand when you need it.
That is a branch that would not only benefit banks and their profits, but society overall.
Free lattes too! They have to have free lattes!
David Lester, Managing Director, leads Brightworks’ digital financial services out of New York. Lester is a professional financial coach with over thirteen years of experience in finance, advertising and communications.
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