Corporate and financial services providers, are you ready for Millennials?

Tech-savvy, feedback-craver, confident and ambitious, open to change, achievement-oriented, multi-tasker, progressive and innovative. What exactly are we talking about?

Of course, we are talking about Generation Y.

Generation Y, also known as Millennials, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the late 1990s as ending birth years.

Despite the age diversity, it is a fairly homogeneous group; thanks to globalization, social media and the speed of change, Millennials worldwide are indeed more similar to one another than to older generations within their nations.

As the first generation to grow up constantly connected to the world, they have more positive attitudes about technology than other generations – they are the most likely to say that technology makes life easy rather than harder, are the most likely to say technology brings people closer together than drives them further apart, and are the most likely to say that technology allows people to use their time more efficiently.

Grown up on entrepreneurship watching Steve Jobs lead the renewed Apple, Mark Zuckerberg create a social media sensation and other young innovators disrupt traditional industries, Millennials aim for achievement and success by pursuing new roads. Generation Y is building new businesses out of the ruins of a recession since 2008, and in doing so, it is changing the career expectations for a whole generation. Recession has shown that there is no job for life and that each individual is responsible for what is going to happen with their life.

So let’s make room for technology, entrepreneurship, start-ups, creativity and talent. “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it”, Millennials would say.

Then it comes as no surprise that Millennial entrepreneurs worldwide have launched about twice as many businesses as Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) and Millennials are discovering entrepreneurship significantly earlier than Baby Boomers did.*

But that’s not all.

The concepts of “Doing business as usual” and “Making money working 9-5” are being redefined and completely overturned in favour of self-employment and new business ideas that lead Generation Y to create wealth in new ways. Millennials are making money playing electronic and video games (League of Legends and Dota 2, to name but a few), writing a personal blog, vlogging (video blogging) on Youtube and sharing personal shots on Instagram.

Figures speak for themselves. Millennials are making up 23% of the world’s millionaires** and this fact has been further confirmed by Coutts, the 325-year-old bank famous for serving only millionaires, which is considering this phenomenon large enough to opening its range of services to this new target client.***

Even if not all Millennials want to be self-employed or entrepreneurs, the ideas of innovation, digitalisation and responsiveness appeal to this generation like none before and it’s safe to say that these elements will have a profound impact on how to engage with them.

A truly global generation, with a new set of values and expectations, Generation Y will be assuming stronger positions as business leaders and clients soon. Corporate and financial services providers should expect millennials views to more strongly influence global markets, in terms of business relationships and services. Millennials mindset may fuel a rapid transformation of “social entrepreneurs” from a relatively narrow group of innovators to the way that “business is done” much more broadly. The implications of this phenomenon on the corporate and financial services industry will vary; some may see it as a threat, while others may see this as an opportunity to reinvent themselves — to redefine purpose, responsibility and expectations in order to create relationships based on mutual trust and understanding.

There is a lot at stake, as well as a lot to gain, from a changing business landscape. Corporate and financial services providers that will understand and embrace this new mindset will really have the chance to capitalize on the Millennials opportunity.

How do Millennials’ financial attitudes and behaviours differ from those of earlier generations? What corporate services and financial product features do Millennials value most? How corporate and financial services firms are targeting this group? What are the most effective ways to use technology to market Generation Y? How can financial firms use social media and other tactics to engage Millennials?

I will try and answer these questions – and many others – next week. Stay tuned!


Written by Marta Bellamoli, Marketing Co-ordinator


* source: BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report

** source: Forbes 

*** read the full article here