Distributors of financial products and services are facing a whole new ball game in terms of marketing to Generation Y and Generation Z, the National Football League’s top marketing executive said.
Dawn Hudson, chief marketing officer of the NFL, discussed a number of ways in which Generation Y and Generation Z pose different challenges for those who want to win them as clients. Her presentation was part of the Insured Retirement Institute's annual conference.
Hudson said Generation Y or the millennial generation, born in the 1980s and 1990s, is known as the “two-screen generation” for having grown up with two screens within earshot: a computer screen and a television screen.
But that pales when compared with Generation Z, Americans born after 2000, whom Hudson called the “five-screen generation.” Generation Z is growing up with televisions, desktop and laptop computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Hudson said these audiences are easily bored and distracted. That means industries can’t market products to those generations in the same way across different channels, or approach conversations in the way financial services companies might have in the past.
These young customers don't want advisors to play the "protection" card, Hudson said. Instead, a better way to approach these age groups is by helping them prepare for a new experience in life and reframe the discussion away from retirement planning.
“Millennials are a huge opportunity,” said Hudson. “They don’t expect you to have (all the) answers.”
The NFL is one of the nation's top employers of millennial-age workers. The league hires thousands of young players, some of whom rapidly rise to become household names by the age of 25.
Hudson's comments could serve as a guidepost for insurance companies and financial advisors who are struggling with how to sell more life insurance to young people.
She said that the advent of the socio-digital age epitomized by Facebook and Snapchat means that young consumers demand transparency. Young Americans will be ruthless and unforgiving if you are not honest and open with them, Hudson said.
Financial advisors are under more pressure than they have been in the past 40 years to reveal their distribution and compensation practices.
The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule is set to take effect in April, the Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing a rule on advisor transition plans, and another SEC fiduciary rule is likely to be released in the coming months.
“Organizations change when they are under pressure,” Hudson said.
She pointed to recent NFL campaigns as a way of dealing with negative publicity.
In an incident in which cameras caught the Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice assaulting his wife in an elevator, the league didn’t try to hide, minimize or even deny the episode but instead began a discussion around domestic abuse, Hudson said.
Then the league went on to highlight how many NFL players are involved in their communities – from running a chicken farm to helping with the stadium’s ground crew.
“Young people want to know about the different things you are doing,” she said. “The power is in the 3,000 stories (you tell), not the 10 stories."
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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