Building Relationships with Boomers Through Communication
January 24, 2011
It should come as no surprise that the financial crisis, global recession, and fears about a continuing fragile economy have significantly affected investor trust and confidence. While the needs of all investors continue to shift, none may be more critical for money management executives to focus on than those of the Boomer generation about to reach retirement.
According to a recent article in USA Today, the first of the 79 million Baby Boomers will hit 65-retirement age-in 2011, and wealth managers, brokers, investment advisors and financial planners are bound to feel the effects. This large Boomer demographic group is seriously evaluating future financial options and deciding where to place their trust.
The question to address then becomes, "How do I effectively communicate with the Boomer generation and make them aware of the services I provide?" It is important to remember that providing Boomers with generic information is not enough. Now, more than in the recent past, personalized, relevant communication with clients is critical when it comes to building trust and keeping them loyal.
Frequent communication is a requirement. Boomers desire a financial adviser with the ability to strengthen the relationship over time, and a great way to show that you can do so is through constant communication. In fact, a 2009 study by Mainstay Investments concluded that Boomers want financial advisers touching base with them a minimum of twice a month, which equates to 24 times per year. This can be through an e-mail, letter, direct mail piece, or text message, depending on their preferred channel. The good news here is that Boomers are giving you permission to reach out to them often-and in some cases requesting it.
Just as important as frequent communication is having the ability to implement a system that makes designing, delivering and maintaining communication with Boomers across all channels simple. This capability is important because some Boomers still prefer to receive paper statements via mail and aren't completely sold on the idea of viewing personal documents electronically. Conversely, others have completely integrated technology into their lives and prefer to eliminate unnecessary paper all together.
In fact, the number in this age group communicating via the Internet continues to grow. A recent study predicted that by 2011, 63.7 million, or 83%, of Boomers will be Internet users. So you want to ensure that you are able to provide frequent communications to either group via their preferred communication channel.
Highlighting the various products and services that offer solutions for retirees in your correspondence will ensure you resonate with what is important to your Boomer audience. Some of the key issues facing this generation and the products that provide answers include:
* Investment products that address the decrease in accumulation of funds and focus more on retirement-specific needs such as rising healthcare costs and inflation
* Products that have the flexibility to cover unanticipated expenses and have the option to leave an inheritance
* Retirement investment plans that include support for family members currently being raised or supported by the Boomers
Once you are able identify which of these issues is important to the Boomer you are in contact with, you can utilize something called "Transpromo" communications-documents that represent the convergence of informational and communications technologies-to incorporate the content and solutions you offer for each into various communications that your recipients are sure to read, such as statements, letters and mailers. Highly personalized communications deliver many benefits. They have a proven track record when it comes to improving customer response-dramatically. You can also reap the benefit of reduced costs by eliminating the need to produce separate announcements as well as decreasing the time required to get the word out.
Understanding how your Boomer clients want to receive information, the issues that are relevant to them, and the attributes they are looking for in a money management executive will put you ahead of the game.
Technology solutions that address a multi-channel, personalized communication strategy already exist and have been on the market for several years. However, if you are just starting down this road, or looking to improve your current solutions, it's important to seek out software that is user-friendly and flexible enough so that it can be used by non-IT personnel, should you decide to accomplish this in-house. There is also the option of using a third-party service provider that will be able to meet your needs in the areas of flexibility, agility, and control. In either case, it will pay to do your research, as not every solution offers all of the capabilities that you may want to achieve your specific communication goals.
Baby Boomers present a tremendous opportunity for the asset management industry when it comes to keeping and creating new business. With the recent downturn of the economy, Boomer retirement needs in 2011 will be drastically different than retirees from previous times.
Money management executives who communicate relevant investment strategies will attract this new phase of Boomer business.