How to reach millennials and other key groups

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Guest of honour Sally Loane (FSC) addresses guests at the Pritchitt Partners new financial year lunch

One of the many interesting points made by Sally Loane, CEO of the Financial Services Council (FSC), in her presentation to a recent Pritchitt Partners event in Melbourne, was the way digital start-ups are targeting millennials with their superannuation products.

Her examples make a terrific case study.  To engage with young Australians, a new superannuation fund is using quirky advertisements in internet publications and social media platforms likely to be seen and talked about by millennials.

Sally made the point that to engage with millennials about superannuation – what to them is a boring subject – organisations will need to develop approaches that “20 somethings” find interesting.

As Sally said, survey after survey have found millennials to be disinterested and disengaged with their superannuation and that they place a higher value on near-term goals like buying a house.

Surveys also find young people have a lack of understanding about super because they see it as a “problem too hard to solve”.

It is a big issue as the money in superannuation funds belongs to individual members and, without some understanding and engagement by them, along with decisions in the short term, long term wealth is likely to be eroded unnecessarily.

How do super funds reach these 20 year old members?  When different ads on Facebook for GROW Super can get 120,000 and 150,000 views by millennials, it shows it can be done.

Sally’s comments also got me thinking that while the latest developments in social media are opening new opportunities to reach key publics, they also highlight the need for old fashioned disciplines in communication.  While the channels might have changed, the overall strategy hasn’t.

The first step has to be identifying the groups you wish to reach (“Target Audiences”) and what it is you want to say to them (“Key Messages”).

Having decided on both the people you wish to communicate with and what you want to say, the choice of media and techniques can then be made and will probably be easier to define. Want to reach millennials? Then various avenues through social media can be identified as natural ways of achieving this.

Organisations may or may not have different messages for different audiences, and will certainly need to consider different methods of reaching them.

While social media may be one ideal channel for millennials, at the other end of the scale, for those wanting to reach retirees, traditional media may be seen as an effective way, and the messages will be different.

Retirees are less likely to be interested in creating wealth as they are in preserving it.  Similarly opinion formers and influencers are likely to be very different for millennials than the ones that retirees take notice of.

So the discipline of having a communication strategy that includes identifying who it is you want to reach, what it is you want to say, and what are the best ways to reach them time after time, is still the starting point in any ongoing program.

And that’s another important lesson from the past.

As the successful consumer product developers and marketers of the eighteenth century quickly identified, continuous exposure is necessary and putting all your efforts into a once-off promotion is usually a waste of money.