Beware the generational marketing gap in financial services

Louise Stevens

Client Services and Operations Director

Posted on April 13, 2017

‘Millennials’ seems to be the buzz word of the moment. Financial institutions large and small are spending huge amounts of time focusing on them, developing digital marketing plans to meet their needs and thus are running the risk of neglecting other generations.

Clearly it depends upon your business objectives, both short and long-term. And whilst for some B2C brands, a focus on younger generations is key to maintaining product sales, for B2B financial services clients there needs to be a clear distinction between the generations in how you market your product AND how you service them.

Why the buzz around millennials?

Well they are the audience of the future, and they are already filling key decision maker roles in the B2B world – so they shouldn’t be ignored. But from the table below, the way they consume content and how they expect to interact with a company will be quite different to other generations.

Whilst digital is certainly the future for more streamlined, efficient client communications (and is a marketer’s best friend due to the measurability factor) other communication channels cannot be ignored. Those that do, run the risk of neglecting older generations, who will move to be serviced by those companies slower to adopt digital practices.

Whilst we aren’t advocating ignoring Millennials, Generation X still have the largest amount of investable income and are the largest proportion of key decision makers in business, so likewise these shouldn’t be ignored.

Generation X
(1960 -1980)
Thatcher’s children Hedonistic Digital adaptors
(1981 – 1999)
90’s boom Globalisation Digital Savvy
(2000 +)
Stagnant economic growth of the 00’s Terrorism Digital dependent


If you aren’t lucky enough to work for an institution that solely focusses on one generation, then read on.

How to develop an approach to span all generations?

It comes down to developing a good customer experience plan and this should be defined by your different client personas, which age, and therefore generation should form a part of.

At each of your marketing touch points you should consider if each of your target generations would feel good about receiving information in that way.

Let’s look at an example of this when applied to product marketing to IFAs;

Aim: Product launch communication to IFAs.

Communication Channel Additional channels to supplement
Direct Mail Email, driving readers to more information on your campaign web page. Supplement with Direct Mail and offer telephone support.
Social Content plan for product launch with blogs and whitepapers. Consider also mailing these to firms or arming your sales team with them to hand out at meetings.
Website Responsive web page holding key information on the product and CTAs. Consider PDF downloads that can be printed by the IFA to take out with clients.
Brochure and application forms E-book and editable pdfs Consider allowing IFAs to order printed literature through your website or telephone sales team.


In short, it’s about ensuring your communication and marketing plans encourage clients of all ages to want to do business with you and to meet their needs and requirements – not just trying the latest new thing because it sounds great.