Marketing to millennials: Don’t sell, educate

The generation is forecasted to be a driving force in housing in 2015 and traditional marketing methods aren’t enough to attract the newest consumer power group.

Marketing to millennials: Don’t sell, educate
Millennials are forecasted to become the largest home-buying age group by the end of the year, with the majority of them buying their first homes.

“Roughly 42% of millennials say they want to buy a home in the next one to five years, compared to just 31% of Generation X, and by the end of 2015 millennials will become the largest home-buying age group,” said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.”

Millennials, a well-versed group, can text with their eyes shut, multi-task all day long and somehow keep in touch with everyone they’ve ever met. But when it comes to getting mortgages, they’re woefully in the dark about their options. So, education is critical to reaching the generation.

“Buying a home is an intimating experience, ” said Jim Blatt, CEO of Mortgage Returns, a provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software and automated marketing systems for mortgage professionals. “We want to say to them, here’s what to expect when you buy a home.”

Blatt added that marketing materials should be educational by addressing what they can expect during the home buying process, what they can afford and any concerns millennials may have.

“We need to know why they’re not buying," he said. “A lot of them saw their friends and parents get hurt after buying a house. The industry just went through a huge correction, and we need to educate them and tell them the recession wasn’t normal.”

Blatt said mortgage professionals should create customized content to go out to certain groups versus the same marketing message to all prospects. Mortgage Returns’ CRM  software allows mortgage professionals to capture what stage the potential buyer is in, and then, in turn, helps to create and send a customized message.

Having a modern website is another way to attract millennials.  “They are an internet savvy demographic and you have to appeal to that,” Blatt said. “If your website isn’t modern, or if your application isn’t built in a responsive way, they will go somewhere else.

To make the user experience better, he recommends giving applicants the option to save their applications and come back, as well as automatically removing the second address forms if they have lived at their current address for more than five years and turning educational content into video.

 “They don’t want to have a long discussion with a loan officer, they want to watch a video or receive an email,” Blatt said. “They want to digest the information on their own first.”

He also suggests collecting customer service surveys and publishing the results on the internet. “As a millennial, the first thing I’m going to do is google that person [mortgage originator]. I’m going to go to Yelp and see anyone that is unhappy. If I only see bad reviews, then I more than likely won’t use you.”

Blatt said to execute the survey immediately after closing. “Have it online, make it short and available on their phone,” he said. “If you send that survey a month later, you’re not going to get as good of a response.”