A Millennial Responds to Simon Sinek's Response on Millennials
Written by: Nicole Anglace
Have you seen Simon Sinek’s response to the “Millennial question” on Inside Quest? As with any viral video, there have been a great number of reactions to it. (Click the image to view)
Some were very positive; Simon stated that since the release of this video many viewers have indicated that they have now started to ban the use of cell phones in meetings and others are even turning their phones off when they get home.
Some have been a bit critical. That being said, I would like to review Simon’s take on my generation.
Millennials: Entitled, Narcissistic, Self-Interested, Unfocused, Lazy
These adjectives are, quite frequently, used to describe my generation. For some, they may have a degree of truth behind them and perhaps for good reason. But I hope that, by and large, these accusations are largely erroneous. However, I do agree with Simon, these descriptions do tend to stem from several characteristics.
Simon’s 4 Characteristics of Millennials
Parents and “Failed Parenting Strategies”
As Simon discusses the detrimental aspects of our upbringing, he explores the impacts of both helicopter parenting and, the infamous, participation trophy. To me, the argument here is essentially that the efforts of our parents. While their intentions may have been laudable, this practice inadvertently taught us a rather poor lesson. The things we want in life will happen, often with little personal effort. This certainly ties in with the sense of entitlement.
However, at least to me, it feels like Simon justifies this by saying that it’s not the Millennial’s fault… that we were simply dealt a bad hand. I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. Saying this removes the responsibility from the Millennials and puts it on our parents. It would be more appropriate to say that we have adhered to and lived by the idea that we can do anything we want to do (as our parents taught us when we were you) perhaps to a fault. It is our responsibility to acknowledge this faulty mental frame and adjust so that it functions within the bounds of the guidelines set forth by our firms.
We can still achieve our goals, but we must learn to go about it in the proper manner. An effort which may necessitate proper mentoring from our coworkers and leaders.
As Simon mentions, cell phones and social media are more intrusive and detrimental than many of us may realize. Rather than us programming our devices, it is the other way around. Many of us have experienced the phenomenon of a phantom rings/vibration. We react to our phones even if the stimulus is imagined.
What’s worse is that we let technology impact us both emotionally and psychologically. When we are separated from our devices many of us panic, it’s as if a part of us has been removed.
As Simon indicates, many of us have become addicted to the rush of dopamine we often experience when we scroll through social media and count our likes. Simon mentions the fact that researchers have discovered a correlation between Facebook usage and symptoms of depression.
To that end, I feel it is important to mention that a relationship has also been established linking Facebook use with the each of the Big Five, most notably self-esteem and narcissism. Clearly, human nature is quite complex, and understanding the inner-workings of a subset requires a much larger lens than we may be prepared to handle.
As things stand, technology has a persistent grasp on our lives. We need to learn to detach from it and reintegrate ourselves with the real world. To expound on Simon’s other point, we no long focus on the propagation or nurturing of relationships. In fact, it has gotten to a point where we would much rather send a quick text to satisfy our need for social interaction than ask our coworker about the status of a family member after a surgery. We need to disconnect in order to reconnect.
We grew up in a world where instant gratification is presented as the norm. You want to know the score of the super bowl? Just google it. Can’t find a good restaurant? Use Yelp. Need gas? Gasbuddy. Need groceries but you can’t drive? Uber… or, if you’re lucky, AmazonFresh. Every facet of our lives has an app/device that can provide you with the answers or results you seek.
Given that our world has become increasingly more automated and everything is instant, it is no wonder that we have developed an inability to be patient. While I neither condone nor support it, I can certainly understand why some of my generational cohorts are criticized for being impatient, especially in the workforce. Perhaps the longest waits we regularly encounter are simply to update the apps on our phones.
I do agree with Simon here; we need to learn that this expectation for instant fulfillment doesn’t translate to the workforce. In order to make an impact and have total job fulfillment, we need to come to grips with reality. This takes time. We have to put in the effort and realize that we can’t look at this in the short term, the “impact” of our efforts in the workforce has a cumulative effect that will not have a fruitful yield in the short term.
Learning this virtue of patience is not easy. Perhaps, one thing that will help nurture it is proper guidance and clarity at work, especially regarding the firm’s expectations for you.
When addressing this characteristic, Simon discusses his belief that corporate environments are failing to provide the Millennials (and, subsequently, Gen Z) with the leadership necessary to instill the proper values and skills needed to succeed in the workplace. He continues to say that given the state of things, it is now on the shoulders of company to help the employee overcome the challenges of the digital generation and the need for instant gratification.
The focus needs to shift from the long term life of the individual than the short term gains and the numbers. But most of all, Simon says cell phones ought to be banned in meetings. This rule is suggested to help us regain that social aspect of our lives that we seem to be lacking.
As I’ve mentioned throughout my review of Simon Sinek’s response to the “Millennial Question”, ensuring that your company has good leaders and effective mentors is imperative. We don’t want our hands held, but we do want guidance. We want to do more than succeed, we want to excel.
In order to do that, we may need help overcoming our shortcomings. It comes down to this: invest in us and we will reward you.
Capturing the Attention of Millennials: Be Relevant and Digital
I know Gen Y are stereotyped as being transient, digital natives who are impossible to capture, but that is just the world we live in today. Technology has caused a proliferation of advancements and the financial services industry is (or should be) feeling the pressure. We have seen the rise of the robos, fee compression, virtual advisors, and various regulatory changes, all culminating to challenge financial advisors to find ways to cut through the noise to demonstrate their value.
Developing an effective marketing and lead generation process that’s tailored to millennials is vital for two key reasons:
- It’s the only way you’re ever going to capture their attention
- It’s the only way your business can remain profitable serving this demographic
Let’s be honest; there is a bit of an over-hype and obsession with millennials right now (don’t get me wrong, I’m obviously a fan). Nearly every business is starting to ask itself, “How do we capture this next generation?” And they’re spending tons of time and resources devoted to this one demographic. So think about all the different emails, social media and digital advertising you’re competing with, even beyond just the financial services industry. Whatever you put out there will have to be niche to their needs in order to capture their attention – and will have to feel authentic if you want to build enough trust to get them to engage.
As you begin to assess your ability (or desire) to serve younger investors, the question about profitability will inevitably come up. The traditional marketing advisors do today for their HNW investors is just not an effective or profitable way to target millennials. No COIs, business networking, client events, newsletters – that takes up way too much of your time. Instead, you should take a more scalable approach using digital marketing and messaging that actually resonates with your intended target market. Serving millennials should not be a loss leader; that’s exactly why segmenting and tailoring your marketing will be vital with this demographic.
Bringing it back to our friends Marg, Chip and Drew
In order to assess what type of marketing will effectively capture the attention of our three millennial personas, we need to answer these questions:
- What are their aspirations?
- What are their problems?
- When is the best time (in their lives) to capture their attention?
Marg seems to be more reactive and short-sighted, only seeking advice when there’s a triggering event causing her stress. Chip and Drew tend to have relatively similar characteristics, which you’ll notice quite a bit throughout our research. Aside from income, assets and debt levels, Chip and Drew tend to have the same needs and preferences. This means that you can take a relatively similar marketing approach in terms of messaging, but you’ll need a slightly different approach for each party later on, when we get into fees and service models.
Chip and Drew tend to be a little more financially mature than Marg; they look at longer-term goals and aspirations. The only exception would be that, when it comes to how these three define financial success, they all answered, “Having enough savings to retire when I want” as their top choice.
With the goal of tailoring your marketing messaging and approach to effectively engage these different segments, here are our recommended approaches.
Marketing to Marg
Topical blog posts and social media are the way to go. Even though Marg might not be ready for or in need of your professional advice quite yet, you can still find scalable, automated ways to prospect her (with the long-term goal of eventually capturing her once she becomes more like Chip and Drew). The key is to identify those triggers that cause Marg to seek help and find a way to insert yourself into the picture through digital marketing.
Writing a blog with topical posts that address key questions or issues that Marg might Google or research in her time of need is a great starting point. Think of blog titles like: A 5-Step Guide to Building a Budget, What to Do When You Have Credit Card Debt, and How to Improve Your Credit Score. Even though blogging might feel like it takes a lot of initial effort putting together the content, once it’s written, it can be leveraged in so many ways that you can actually realize a return on that investment of your time.
One blog post can be broken down into 10-20 different social media posts, posted on many different social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and can be used for months after the blog goes live. And, over time, that content will accumulate and improve your website’s visibility in search engines (that’s search engine optimization) to increase visitors and visits from people like Marg.
Marketing to Chip and Drew
Build a targeted marketing campaign focused on life event planning. Retirement is still a very important issue when it comes to emerging wealth prospects like Chip and Drew. Not only do they define financial success as the ability to retire when they want, they also cite retirement planning as the top financial issue they want more help with. However, big life events are the key trigger for Chip and Drew to take action on their finances. And so the key to capturing these millennials is by striking at the peak of their interest – when these life events happen.
But before you can market messaging and content specifically focused on life events like marriage, first-home purchase, first child, and change of career, you have to first address any potential branding issues. If you’re serious about wanting to engage this group, your brand and website cannot be hyper-focused on traditional financial advisor themes like retirement, investing and wealth management. Expand your current brand or create a separate brand geared to this demographic that focuses on financial planning for life events (which can still include retirement as one key component). Then build topical messaging and content that plays to each life event, like “3 Financial Musts After Having Your First Child.”
If you’re fully committed, you could even take it a step further by implementing marketing that specifically targets millennials going through specific life events. For example, you could pay to promote social media posts or ads that only target millennials between the ages of 28-30, the average age most millennials are getting married . Maybe you purchase ads on blogs or other websites like The Knot for newlyweds or The Bump for new parents. You could also identify social influencers who blog or speak about life events and other topics affecting your target market and look for cross-promotional opportunities. The more targeted your marketing and content, the more likely you are to cut through the noise and capture millennial attention.
This brings me to a key point
Marg, Chip and Drew are not niches; they are merely personas representing 3 key segments within the millennial cohort. However, niche marketing is a very powerful tool that should not be overlooked when discussing effective ways to market to Gen Y. The more niche your content and targeted your advertising approach, the more effective your marketing will become in grabbing their attention. Case in point: A 33-year-old dentist is much more likely to click on something titled “Dos and Don’ts of Tackling Debt from Dentistry School” than a generic title like “Dos and Don’ts of Tackling Student Loans.” You want millennials to feel your content to is talking specifically to them – and that you’re a resource who understands the needs and issues of people just like them.
To those advisors who still aren’t really interested in serving millennials, but are using this series as an opportunity to review industry trends – this niche thing is not just for millennials; it can be an effective marketing tactic to use with all generations of all ages. There are so many changes going on right now in financial services that can confusion among investors and muddle your value proposition as a financial advisor. Recent technical innovation has caused a proliferation of many different business models in our industry. You’ve always competed with DIY platforms, but now (whether you like it or not), you’re being compared to robo and virtual advisors who likely spend a lot more on digital marketing and targeting than your traditional advisor. That’s why niche marketing can play a key role in helping you to cut through this noise and grab the attention of potential prospects (no matter what age they might be).
To learn more about outsourced services that help you grow - saving you time, increasing profitability, and differentiating you from your competition visit the SEI Advisr Network here.
- 1 of 1258