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Substance not clickbait: how to reach millennials

They’re the largest generation in the UK (ONS 2015) and a key asset in the workforce – but how can businesses connect with millennials? Senior Consultant Lizzie Horridge reports back from our annual Perspectives event.

Forbes magazine 30 under 30 and co-founder of the fast-growing financial news start-up Finimize, Max Rofagha was IC’s guest speaker at our annual Perspectives event last week.

Now in its seventh year, the event is an opportunity for us to share fresh thinking and new ideas with our clients. And what better topic than the word that seems to be on everyone’s lips – millennials. Who are they and how do you cut through to this seemingly elusive target audience?

As a millennial myself, I was intrigued to hear what Max had to say about Finimize – a ground-breaking micro news service targeted at my hard-to-reach generation.

E-mail is not dead

In just 18 months, Max and his team have built an audience of over 60,000 subscribers for their innovative daily financial news bulletin. Finimize curates the two most important finance news stories of the day and condenses them into a 3-minute read. With massive open rates of 40-60%, it has already overturned one of the great marketing assumptions of our age – that e-mail is dead.

So what is the secret of its success, and how can other businesses reach out to Generation Y?

Practical tips

Max gave us a look behind the scenes of the Finimize model, and shared the following key learnings:

  • Picture the customer in everything you do. Being relentlessly customer-focused was a recurring theme of Max’s presentation, as he hammered home just how important it is to understand your target audience. He pictures the daily Finimize e-mail being read on a mobile phone by a young worker on their commute with headphones in. If it’s not immediately engaging, and quick and easy to read, it will lose their attention instantly.
  • Use the right voice. The Finimize team deliver stories as if they are friends of the users, using emojis and even terms like AF (perhaps controversial to a different generation). It’s important to get this right, though – nothing is more cringeworthy than a big corporation trying and failing to speak Millennial.
  • Be approachable and transparent. Having grown up with the internet and social media, millennials are naturally suspicious of marketers. Brands have to earn their trust with a transparent and open approach. Max’s team have taken this a step further – subscribers to Finimize have access to Max’s personal details, including his mobile phone number, and are encouraged to contact him with feedback and questions.
  • Maintain quality. Finimize has built an audience because of the quality of its product – high-calibre content presented in very clear language and without jargon. High quality needs to be protected fiercely. Millennials will say what they do and don’t like and small mistakes such as typos are quickly picked up and complained about. As Max put it: “Don’t waste my time; either deliver quality or I will unsubscribe”. 
  • Grow by word of mouth. Finimize is a Net Promoter Score-driven organisation. Its marketing philosophy is simple – if people like you, the more likely they are to tell their friends about you. This was a reminder for any business that the best and most simple way to succeed is to provide the very best service to your customers at all times. It also helps to make it easy for users to spread the word!

To see what this all looks like in practice, check out Finimize here.