This Cohort Is Better Than Millennials for Bank Marketing

Mindset Bank Marketing

If your bank is going after millennials, there is a better way. Targeting millennials has almost turned into a full-fledged past time for bankers.  There are sessions on it at almost every banking conference, and it is the talk of many boardrooms. Banks often treat the demographic cohort as if it is some magical secret to unlocking the future of banking. We think going after millennials is a little like playing dead for a vulture – it is counterproductive. As we wrote about it HERE, bankers can be more successful if they focus on intent instead of demographics. In this article, we take a look at what happens if you reframe your marketing initiative in another way.


Intent and the Demographics of “Passionists”


If you are designing products or marketing for millennials, you may not be focusing your resources on what matters. Not all millennials care about banking, they are not all into technology, and they don’t all care about avocado toast. They use technology, want convenience and care about the world the same way as every generation that was their age. 


As we previously discussed, focusing on the intent of the customer gets you much better marketing lift and conversions than focusing on a demographic cohort. For example, pay to put a mobile ad in front of a millennial and your return on investment is likely below 100%. However, put the same ad in front of any person that shows the intent to purchase a mortgage and while your cost is incrementally more, the effort is much more efficient and offers a better return (below). 




While product design and marketing to consumers with intent is powerful, it is even more important in commercial banking as the return on investment (ROI) on commercial intent is usually five times that of marketing to consumers.

After marketing to banking customers that have intent, another consideration for bank marketers is to go after customers that have passion. These are the potential customers and customers that are delineated by being two times more likely to act on content, three times more likely to interact with your bank and four times more likely to speak about your bank. In short, they are passionate about the companies that they choose to align themselves with. 


Also different than your average bank customer, the other major dimension of where Passionists separate themselves is that they strive to get ahead and want their bank to help them. 85% of them see their career as one of the most important things in their life with 60% strongly agreeing with the statement, “I am always striving to advance my career.” This is more than double the average bank customer. In a similar vein, 48% of Passionists want to own their own business which is twice the rate of the general banking population.


What a “Passionist” Looks Like


A recent study by Insider Inc. and Digitas breaks down the data of what happens if you don’t cut across a demographic path, but similar to looking at those customers with intent; you target a cohort by their actions. In this case, the ability to engage and influence.


Passionists are characterized by mindset rather than age. They are comfortable with using technology and are often early adopters that are driven more by the ability to save time rather than fun. Passionists have proven to be curious, driven, connected and more in-tune with current events. There are 38 million Passionists in the U.S., and while the group skews younger, they cut across all ages and socioeconomic groups.


While almost 66% of Passionists are millennials, only 33% of millennials are Passionists. Passionists largely range in age from 18 to 54 year of age and covers all races, religions and economic backgrounds.


47% of Passionists have a college degree or higher, and 85% of them proactively seek information about news events, food, entertainment, and opinions. Particularly interesting for banks is that 65% of Passionists seek information regarding business, finance, and personal money management which is 1.6x more likely than the general banking population. 


Profile of Passionists


Marketing Profile





Another hallmark of Passionists is their orientation to being influencers. 59% of them post online reviews, 39% of them would share a post about your bank, and 37% of them are likely to comment about a post about your bank.


While 81% of millennials seek new experiences, 97% of Passionists are up for trying something new.


Putting This into Action


Segmenting your community and customers by their engagement and the mindset dynamics outlined above is likely to pay off much more than going after millennials. Let other banks spend their valuable marketing resources going after a generic demographic while your bank can focus on the mindset that can be found in any age group.


Use Events and Content: To help find and engage Passionists banks should consider leveraging special events that offer unique experiences and also produce thought-provoking content. Travel, cooking, music, adventure sports, health and new ideas are hallmark areas of interests that banks can use to build events around.


Passionists love information and your bank can also use the news outlets highlighted above to offer free content that will help your bank start the relationship with this target.


Encourage Influence: Passionists are more likely to suggest your bank if you ask them to. They are likely more well-versed in your products and services than the average customer and are more likely to be better connected. As such, Passionists are perfect to help promote your brand and help provide a social reference point that is very powerful.


Share Your Values: Passionists are open to talking about themselves and want to learn more about your bank’s value and mission. The more your bank is aligned with humanistic social issues, the better. Your bank’s love of the community is perfect to promote in order to help engagement. Banks need to speak openly and authentically about their strengths and shortcomings plus provide reasons why they care about success beyond their shareholders.


Get Personal: In this age of data, banks can easily personalize a message which is ideal because Passionists are more receptive and responsive to customized marketing. Tailor your message to the individual instead of sorting people by age and your bank will likely be much more successful.


If you are looking to make your bank’s marketing more effective and you want to expand beyond marketing for intent, instead of going after millennials, consider going after Passionists. Banks that do will benefit from their connections, loyalty, engagement and – Passion.