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June 29th, 2016

Courting America’s Middle Child



By Jessica Thompson, Brokaw Senior Strategic Planner

Financial institutions have always had a soft spot for high-rollers and trust fund babies, but shifts in wealth distribution and not-so-pretty times on Wall Street have them scrambling to roll out the red carpet for America’s middle child. The middle child you say? Yes, the middle child. A segment of the population wedged between the 4% minority deemed “affluent” and the masses.

Meet the Mass Affluent, as defined by Nielsen and PWC:

stats

While the Mass Affluent present a tremendous opportunity for financial institutions (and an exciting challenge for marketers) they’re a tough nut to crack. Here’s why…

the-usual-suspects

You won’t be able to pick them out of a line-up.
They’re your everyday, hardworking Americans. Many of them grew up in middle class suburbs and have ever-so-thoughtfully accrued their wealth through savings and investments associated with a moderate income ($106K average).

One-size-fits-all ain’t gonna cut it.
They’re an incredibly fragmented segment of the population. From Globetrotters and Power Couples to Civic Spirits and Savvy Savers, each subset requires a truly unique portfolio of products and solutions. And they unfortunately don’t fall neatly into any one line-of-business’ court. Most are not quite ready for private banking, but a standard retail banking relationship is not enough.

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Like all middle children, they can be stubborn.
Pessimistic about the future of the economy, they’re keeping money on the sidelines (or under their pillows). And while they’re more than twice as likely to use retirement or investing products, nearly one-third don’t see their bank as a go-to resource for investment solutions or advice.

So what’s next? To our friends at financial institutions…

Lines of business unite!
Organizing around and serving mass affluent customers is going to require some serious teamwork. Otherwise they’ll end up pinball-ing their way through your institution (and right out the back door).

And to our fellow marketers…

Humanize banking.
Take advantage of every last piece of data you can use to develop truly customized messaging and solutions. But don’t go hiding behind all those spreadsheets. Show your face from time to time. Proving expertise and earning trust will continue to be critical success factors.

Your Friends in Code Cracking,
-Brokaw