Millennial Marketing Mumbo Jumbo

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If you ever wanted to be a published blogger on a national business magazine’s site, now’s your chance.

Apparently, if you can string a few words together and sprinkle in some business buzzwords here and there, you can get your post published on the Forbes site. Don’t worry, coherency isn’t even a prerequisite for getting your piece accepted.


That’s my takeaway after reading a post published there recently titled Millennial Marketing Lessons Every Financial Services Giant Will Need.

After regurgitating the standard woes of Gen Yers (they make less money, they have more debt, blah blah blah), the article addresses the topic raised by the article’s title, namely, what financial services firms should do to attract this segment (although with their low wages and high student debt, I’m not quite sure why any FI would want this group as customers):

“1) Embrace disruptive schemas that align to millennial values
2) Create tools that simplify millennials’ life and financial planning needs
3) Act in a more authentic and transparent way
4) Curate content that helps millennials make more informed decisions
5) Engage millennials as your brand partner by allowing them to co-create new products, customer delivery channels and more.”



If you’re not rolling on the floor laughing you either: 1) Haven’t had your morning coffee yet, or 2) You (like the authors of the article) work in advertising.

Here are just a few of the problems I have with the article:

1) Got proof? The five points listed above were copied and pasted here, as is from the article. Amazingly, the five points were the end of the article. That’s right: No explanation or elaboration of what these five points mean. And, just as bad, no proof or evidence offered as to why these five points would work in attracting Millennials.

2) Disruptive schema? What the hell is a disruptive schema? You mean, like Simple or Moven (who, by the way, I’ve argued are anything but disruptive)? If that’s true, what does it mean to “embrace” a disruptive schema? Got a little news for you disrupt-o-maniacs: Half of Gen Yers call a large, national bank their primary bank. That’s a higher percentage than Gen Xers, Boomers, or Seniors do. Financial services giants already attract Millennials.

3) Act authentic? “Act” was an interesting choice of words. When Brad Pitt or George Clooney “act”, they pretend to be someone or something they’re not. Which would be not authentic. So the act of acting authentic wouldn’t be very authentic, would it? Now I’m talking mumbo jumbo. Let’s get to the point: If you’re going to advise someone to be authentic, you have to tell them how to be authentic. You have to point out what isn’t authentic about what they currently do. Preachers who preach authenticity should be slapped upside the head.

4) Curate content? Exactly what kind of “informed decisions” should these financial services giants be helping Millennials make, and exactly which content helps them do that?

5) Co-create new products? Seriously? You really think Millennials want to help design insurance policies? Here’s an idea for you credit card issuers: Ask Millennials to write the “terms and conditions” statement for your next card. No need to run it by the lawyers since the Millennials helped write them.



Look, I’ll be the third to admit that sometimes the advice I provide clients is wrong (my boss and my wife are ahead of me on the list — wait, come to think of it, there’s like a million people ahead of me on the list).

But this Forbes article contains some of the most useless bunch of millennial marketing mumbo jumbo that I’ve seen in a long time.



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