There has been no shortage of coverage on the millennial generation in the last few years, ranging from impartial explorations to downright spiteful condemnations. These 20- and 30-somethings have garnered a reputation for being selfish, entitled, and lazy, with no loyalty to anyone but themselves (there are now studies that show Millennials are, in fact, not much different from those who came before them, according to CNBC).
But regardless of your personal sentiments regarding this generation, they are a population that simply cannot be ignored. With nearly 80 million millennials in the United States alone, they now make up the nation’s largest living generation, according to Pew Research, but are also one of the most underinsured, representing a significant untapped market. Understanding what makes them tick opens up a world of opportunity for life insurance agents.
Diverse and in Debt
Not only are millennials the largest living generation; they are also the most diverse, according to LifeHealthPro — approximately 44% identify as non-caucasian, making them the most ethnically varied generation to date. This diversity has also made the millennial generation one more open and accepting than others (across more than just ethnic and racial divides), which may help explain why they are especially susceptible to insincerity. Millennials value authenticity over canned brand messaging, a point that should be taken to heart as you extend your services to this demographic.
Also helpful? An understanding of the unique position of being over-educated, under-employed, and riddled with student debt that many millennials find themselves in. While the rate of education has increased 22% since 1990, the median salary has actually dropped, which means that many members of this generation are being forced to put major life decisions on hold — marriage, buying a house, and having kids, for example. Indeed, only 28% of those between the ages of 18 and 33 are currently married, compared to 49% of boomers at the same age, so selling to this group will require a delicate (and authentic) tack.
Money Isn’t Everything
As millennials’ median salaries decrease, their interest in the experience and quality of life takes precedence over money. A study by Fidelity Investments revealed that millennial professionals would take an average pay cut of $7,600 for a better quality work life. Furthermore, the fact that the sharing economy is booming directly reflects their total lack of interest in owning things. Instead, millennials place a high value on experiences, from concerts to social events to travel. Knowing this can help you frame your conversations so as to appeal to this generational shift in values — a life insurance policy protects those life experiences, for instance.
Of course, the first step is to actually start those conversations, and the only way to effectively do so is by catering to millennials’ remarkably tech-oriented minds. They are the first truly digital generation, and technology is a ubiquitous facet of their lives. In fact, 74% of millennials questioned in a Nielsen survey identified “Technology Use” as the trait that makes their generation unique. This means that developing a multi-channel marketing strategy, one that incorporates Twitter, Facebook, and even Snapchat, is now non-negotiable if you wish to sell to millennials — just make sure you stay authentic in the process.