With the oldest Gen Zers already at age 24, this generation is already becoming relevant to financial services, establishing their financial lives, beginning to enter the workforce, and possessing a variety of unique characteristics that will pose financial institutions with challenges and opportunities to command their attention. Consider the following as your financial institutions works to acquire new Gen Z customers.
Heightened Expectations for Mobile and Digital
Most marketers are well-versed in communicating with Millennials. High expectations for a fluid online experience and a transitioning of life stages into parenthood and home ownership characterize the Gen Y mindset. Gen Z takes the expectations of tech-fluency to a new level, most clearly by being the first all-digital generation. They consume more entertainment and information on their mobile devices than ever before, need online experiences to be 100% intuitive and have smartphones check their smartphones more often than any other generation. This also means they look to their digital lives for sources of entertainment, and are more engrained in social media platforms.
While this heightened relationship with digital and mobile is to be expected, some of the outcomes of this relationship are less intuitive. Specifically, Gen Z looks for emotional pulls from online experiences. Finding meaning in their brand relationships, considering social good and finding innovative new ways to “gamify” digital interactions will catch the attention of Gen Z and help differentiate in a saturated digital market.
Gen Z is Having An In-Branch Moment
One of the big surprises of Gen Z is their affinity for in-branch experiences. According to The Financial Brand, this is due to a number of factors: Individuals with lower smaller financial savings stowed away tend to gravitate more toward in-branch experiences, they are gravitating toward cafe-style branches, and some marketers even think that the free food provided in some of these branches may be a draw for a younger generation still working to find financial security.
Whatever the reason, financial institutions should look to cater toward Gen Z customers seeking community through in-person interactions, and leverage these opportunities to attract and retain life-long customers in their financial infancy. Investing in an exceptional in-branch experience will lend itself to long-term customers with huge potential for upward financial mobility.
Heightened Long-Term Financial Awareness
Gen Z is wary of debt, on track to have more student debt than any prior generation and has more access to information that ever before. These factors combine to create a generation that is more aware of its financial wellbeing than ever before. Gen Z has seen and heard Millennials struggle with buying homes and heard lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, and are taking note, wanting to get their financial lives in order early and effectively.
Financial institutions should work to finds ways to cater to these desires to learn by providing free, high-value content to Gen Z. Helping to educate on establish a firm financial future through debt reduction, getting a head start on retirement savings, and helping to address long-term goals like buying a house will all be invaluable to Gen Z. Additionally, financial institutions should continue to work to leverage customer data in order to give Gen Z customized tools and reports that give them more information about their financial standing.