Most loan originators would likely agree that in order to enjoy long-term success, they must have a marketing program that accounts for population trends. By studying the demographics of current and emerging groups, originators can do a better job of anticipating prospects’ buying patterns.
In recent years, the Gen X (born 1961-80)) and Gen Y (1980-2000) generations have been closely analyzed for their distinct characteristics.
For example, a recent Time Magazine article reviewed the Gen Y group, also known as the Millennials, who range in age from early teens to early 30s. Obviously, a large percentage of them are in the home purchase prospect category.
The article referred to Millennials as the “me, me, me generation.” They were described as “entitled” and “narcissistic,” as well as “optimistic” and “reserved.” They are also considered the largest age group in American history.
Another article stressed that Millennials are better savers than previous generations. They want to avoid the financial setbacks that many of their parents experienced.
Originators have had to adapt their marketing strategies to meet the changing interests of various niches. It’s clear that social media is key to attracting Millennials. A Forrester Research study reported that 91 percent of Millennials are frequent Internet users (2011 stat) and spend a great deal of time online:
*laptops—70% (of Millennials are frequent users)
*smart phones- 59%
While they may still respond to direct mail and other print materials, it’s clear that Millennials relate best to Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn messages.
The content is also important. What are the best messages to attract this important group? Based on some of the research, appropriate themes could include:
*A Mandatory Education—They are cautious when making major decisions and would appreciate knowing that you will take the time to guide them regarding the steps involved with a home purchase.
*The Status Factor—Millennials like to feel special, so underscoring the excitement and benefits of being a first-time homeowner could be well received.
*The Financial Side—Based on their penchant for savings and overall good credit record, be sure to explain the GFE and emphasize that you will provide them with the best possible deal.
*Extra Service—As the Time article mentioned, many Millennials feel they are entitled and deserve the best treatment. So it makes sense to promote that you are willing to meet customers at their home or office, provide weekly status updates, and offer a series of “going the extra mile” services.
Obviously, these are generalizations and there is no single approach to reach this audience. However, this brief overview demonstrates the importance of understanding the best options for communicating with them.
In order to succeed in earning the Millennials’ business, you must conduct some basic research. For example:
*Do an Internet search to find articles and other information about the Millennials.
*Talk to them. Get first-hand insights by asking how they make major purchases and what they look for in a salesperson (originator).
*Consult other professionals. You may work with a Realtor, CPA, builder or other professionals who have Millennial clients. Ask for their suggestions and also discuss the potential of sharing referrals.
*Join groups. Your market may have business or other groups that include a large number of Millennials. Attending meetings and other gatherings will give you another opportunity to learn more.
It may take some time before you’re able to develop a significant Millennial customer base, but the investment should be worthwhile. You could eventually develop a steady stream of referrals from this expanding group of prospects; which is especially important if you plan to continue originating for the foreseeable future.
David Robinson is Associate Editor of Broker Banker.