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Why a Niche Approach to Millennials Matters



We’re in the midst of what I would call “millennial mayhem” – tons of articles and research about this demographic are being published every day. And I commonly find myself looking at these generalizations and shaking my head in disagreement, thinking, “That doesn’t describe me at all!”

Everyone is taking a “broad brush” approach to painting a picture of Gen Y, a group that’s the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. So while many businesses might take note of this millennial craze and try to build offerings based on all this research, they’ll likely find a lot of millennials (just like me) where it just doesn’t resonate. Not because the research isn’t valid, but because millennials want authenticity. Generic marketing efforts without any personal draw or connection will not prevail.

It’s not enough to just do a Facebook advertising campaign (you know, because that’s where everyone said all the millennials are). Give me something to connect with – something that stops me in my tracks when I’m scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, past tons of the other digital advertisements.

Different millennial personas

In an effort to better understand the diverse needs of Gen Y and potential niches, I sat down with a team of my peers to define different millennial personas, based on an aggregate of people we actually know.Millennial Chart

Sure, advisors could just target Ashley (the heiress) or Steve (the pro-athlete) because they came into money at a young age. But are they good prospective clients down the road, based on attitude, drive, and growth potential? What about when you compare them to Chris, that doctor who just ended his fellowship after years of rigorous schooling, who is about to take over his father’s business?

Consider the HENRYs

HENRYS (High Earners Not Rich Yet) are not a niche, but rather a subset of the millennial population.

They are:

  • At the higher end of the millennial age bracket (about 25-34 years old)
  • In high-paying jobs, making between $100-$250,000 per year
  • Not yet in a position to build substantial assets, aside from maybe their 401(k)s or IRAs
  • Potentially good clients over the long term, because of their career path and drive
  • At an age where many life events and planning opportunities occur (marriage, kids, home-buying)

For more traditional advisors targeting the typical pre-retiree or Baby Boomer today, these HENRYs are essentially what your current clients looked like 15-20 years ago. It’s just a matter of catching them earlier on in their careers. Think of your existing clients and how much more successful they could’ve been if you had advised them earlier on – before they made some of those first few financial mistakes of their life.

Your exponential opportunity

I’ve taken you from the broad daunting 83.1 million millennials out thereMillennialsFunnel to the 24.3 million HENRY households. Ultimately though, it’s up to you to define your own niche. If you’re an older advisor, maybe it’s the younger versions of your current niche of clients you already like to work with. If you’re a younger advisor, maybe it’s someone like your spouse or friends who you already understand and connect with.

The benefits of niche marketing when applied to the Gen Y, even more so than with any other generation, are exponential because:

1. They’re a diverse group with lots of complexities, so you can creatively specialize. For example, an advisor could work with young couples trying to start a family, specializing in things like managing fertility costs.

2. They’re looking for a genuine brand they can connect with personally. As Allan Moore said at the recent XYPN conference, young clients are reaching for their local craft beer, rather than standard beer brands like Bud or Miller Light.

3. Their brand loyalty could morph into a strong referral stream. Unlike the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, who tend to be more private and likely wouldn’t tell their friends who their advisor is, millennials love to share their experiences socially.

Getting started now may just give you the edge over other advisors who don’t yet see the value in this group.

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