Marketing Financial Services to #GenerationYOLO

Financial Services marketing for millennials

I recently (and rather unexpectedly) found myself with a new job. However, I hadn’t applied for it, I’d never seen a job description, there was definitely no salary, and it had limited benefits but came with a lot of responsibility.

I became what most people would call a ‘Step-Mum’.
I’m way too young, right?

I’m an easy-going thirty-something who has been thrust into the life of a beautiful, brilliantly intelligent and stubborn 21 year old. But, as Step-Mum’s go, I reckon I’m pretty cool. We go to concerts together, I borrow her hairdryer and we both mercilessly collude against her father; the poor chap doesn’t stand a chance!

But, my daringly optimistic step-daughter has opened my eyes to the challenges of her generation. Her aspirations aren’t unique; she’d love to have some independence, have a career, drive a nice car, buy a place of her own, get married, start a family, and go on lots of exotic holidays…

From recent research; 40% of young people think that they’ll be able to buy a property in their 20s, when the actual average age for non-supported property purchases is actually 38.

Until now, she’s been referred to as ‘Generation Y’; but I disagree. Instead let’s call them ‘Generation YOLO’.

Unless things have changed since I was in my teens, you do indeed still only live once. For those who were born around the time of the millennium, ‘YOLO’ (short for ‘You Only Live Once’) has become their default battle cry.

Ask my gorgeous #GenYOLO step-daughter a question which requires her to justify her actions (from alcohol consumption to spending habits) and a shrug of the shoulders and ‘YOLO’ is her answer.

Step-Daughter: I need a new car, I’m thinking about a new Mini Cooper Convertible…
Me: My first car was a 13 year old Hyundai Pony

Step-Daughter: I really want to upgrade my phone
Me: I’ve had my scratched iPhone 4 for ages

Step-Daughter: I really want to get a place of my own, but I don’t have a deposit
Me: I saved for 2 years to get a deposit to buy my first flat
– Admittedly my first flat only cost £52,000, and I only needed a 5% deposit!

In an age where consumerism is king and the average attention span is just 8 seconds, the concept of saving and planning for the future is alien territory.

So as financial services marketers – where do we start?



If you don’t have your own #GenYOLO, why not consider internships, mentoring or even work experience placements? There are currently 2.3 million young people out of work in the UK, why not offer one who has a passion for marketing a placement so you can really get to understand the challenges they face, their motivators and preferred channels of communication? Take advantage of their social fluency.


Be Responsive

Accept that #GenYOLO expect instant reward/ gratification/ response. Waiting simply isn’t an option. Whilst pension planning and financial protection are intangible and definitely not instant; the media and channels of communication you use should be. You can’t stop conversations about your brand/ products and customer experiences happening (especially on social media), but it’s your decision whether you ignore it or join in…


Reach me on my mobile

Watch how your #GenYOLO consumes marketing material; it’s likely that it’ll be on their phones. As marketeers, we love to talk about ‘reducing customer friction’ and how responding to a CTA should be as easy as possible. For #GenYOLO, mobile optimisation is crucial.

Between crushing candy, neknominations and taking selfies, my Step-Daughter asked me what my job really was. So, I explained that I did the marketing for financial services products; mortgages, protection, insurance, pensions, investments etc. Her eyes glazed over at ‘pensions’ and I can’t say that I blame her; retirement is a long way off. Although 76% of young people agreed that pensions were important, just 30% were actually contributing.

At Moreish, we’re helping financial services brands harness the power of mobile by developing apps.