Millennials set the rules on Monies

01 Jun,2015


By Dyanne Coelho


Millennials are setting the rules of the game. That’s what Jennifer Grazel, Global Marketing Director, Financial Services Vertical for LinkedIn, believes. At the second edition of the LinkedIn Finance Connect, held last week, Grazel elaborated on how today, disruption equals innovation, and in the post digital age – defined largely by millennials and the way they operate — there has been a disruption in the way things work.


The three key elements to building a successful brand image in an age of digital revolution are trust, having relevant content and focusing on the customer-decision journey, Grazel said, adding, that since “the customer journey is becoming the brand”, one needs to be authentic, relevant and constantly engaged in dialogue. Appropriate advice in a meet where the topic of discussion was ‘Building and Nurturing Relationships in a Networked World’.



Insights from the study:

Exceptionally high optimism:

According to the study,96% of affluent Indian millennials believe and are optimistic that every citizen has an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative. This sentiment was highest amongst other countries surveyed.The opportunities that lie ahead is what makes them feel most confident about the current period.


Marketers may therefore need to customize their products and relook at the traditional ways of marketing them to the new age affluent millennial force which is tech-savvy, more dynamic and relies immensely on what’s most relevant ‘now’.


Global and social mobility equals personal success

The millennials (18-34 year old) measure personal success through social and global mobility. This generation gives immense importance to personal vision. Success to 15% of the affluent means being financially able to travel and see the world. Moreover, 15% see success as doing better, financially, than their parents did.


With success being so closely tied to lifestyle changes and personal engagement, brands need to alter their strategies to foster and engage with the millennials to match up to their fast-paced lives.


Social networks drive personal financial strategies

Being the first generation to have grown up in a digital world, millennials are technologically savvy and socially driven. The study reveals that 86% of the affluent millennials use social media for obtaining financial information. This choice of sourcing information further impacts their personal financial strategies and their methods of interacting with financial services brands.Interestingly, 71% of affluent millennials surveyed said that they are willing to try financial services offered by non-financial service brands.


Hence, in order for brands to attract millennials, they need to be present where this audience spends most of its time. In this case, visibility on social networks is the key to engagement.


Financially aware

The research showed that 57% affluent millennials rate themselves as having advanced financial knowledge and this is higher than the global average.  With more than half of the affluent millennials in India being confident about their personal financial strategies, marketers need to generate targeted content which can position their brand as trustworthy, transparent and in alignment with this generation’s financial needs.


According to Krishna Zulkarnain, Head of Marketing, APAC at LinkedIn, there’s a new wave taking over the business world, and it’s called ‘social selling’. About 75 per cent of buyers today use social media to make purchase decisions. “Our buyers are no longer passive consumers, but active solution seekers,” he said. Indeed, some 95 per cent of decision makers expect new or different insights from sales professionals. The era of cold calling is dead; only warm gestures work today, Zulkarnain informed. “It’s not always about finding people to talk to in the BFSI industry, rather it’s about finding the right people,” he said. Because the financial industry involves money, the challenge here is building trust, and building it in the fastest amount of time. “The tables have turned. The consumer is now the one in control,” Zulkarnain added.


The Chief Marketing Officers’ roundtable saw participation by Sagnik Ghosh, Head of Marketing, Axis Bank, Manish Jain, Group Marketing head, Bajaj Finserv and Balaji Viswanath, Director Digital Marketing, American Express. The session was moderated by Edward Bray, Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn. The discussion centred on disruptions caused to the financial services industry in the age of digital revolution. “Social media is now the key to target your stakeholders. We need to reinvent ourselves, because there is a new platform in the game,” said Jain, adding that this platform could either disrupt or engage the BFSI sector, depending on how it was used. While everyone agreed that social media is the main factor for the disruption, they also agreed that it is a tool bringing rapid transformation. “Everyone wants to see the mobile version of anything, first, today,” said Viswanath. Payment systems are evolving, and consumers are making financial decisions based on what they read online, Ghosh added. “We ought to move from tapping mere customers, to tapping the entire ecosystem,” Jain said.


In their session, entitled ‘Content is Currency: Content Marketing for Financial Companies’, Grazel and Jennifer Cronin, Director of Social Content, BlackRock, delved deep into BlackRock’s digital strategies. Cronin stressed the fact that content marketing requires a great deal of both time and resources commitment. Everyone loves to tell a story, but what that story is, is the question, Cronin said. “Great content is the first part; you cannot sell something without it. People are smart, they know what you’re doing,” she added.


A study conducted by Ipsos on millennials shows that 77 per cent picked a company that has a mobile app with full features. An insightful discussion on understanding Indian millennials had a panel including Tushar Vyas, Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia, Group M; Amit Adarkar, Managing Director, India, Ipsos; Peter Hubert, Head of Insights, APAC, LinkedIn and Grazel. Millennials now want a continuous sense of engagement, and on their terms. “Millennials are more interested in a better lifestyle than wealth,” said Hubert. In fact, this is the time to be optimistic as 60 per cent of affluent millennials are confident about the country’s economic future, the study showed. “Financial products that can engage millennials, is the way forward,” Vyas concluded.


The ‘trending’ topic for the evening was the disruption caused to the financial services industry in the digital era. Olivier Legrand, Head of Marketing Solutions, APAC and Japan, LinkedIn, highlighted that the Indian market is now paying heed to the digital revolution. India is the second-largest country, after the US, in terms of LinkedIn users, Legrand said. Even though the internet is yet to penetrate many parts of the country, the Indian presence on LinkedIn is growing on a large scale every day.


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