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Wells Fargo’s Head of Marketing on the importance of attracting millennials

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Photo credit:

Mike Mozart 

Michael Lacorazza was drafted in five years ago to initiate Wells Fargo's marketing refocus, engaging with new customers via digital and mobile channels.

As of one of the ‘Big Four Banks’ of the US, Wells Fargo, the American multinational banking and financial services holding company, also became the world’s largest bank by market capitalization last year, beating the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

It has around 8,700 retail branches and 13, 000 automated teller machines across 35 countries, serving over 70 million customers globally; the financial sector however is changing, and as market leaders, Wells Fargo’s focus is shifting too.

“One of the most important segments for our company, and probably for nearly any company in the world right now, is millennials.”

Michael Lacarozza is Wells Fargo’s EVP, Head of Integrated Marketing, a new role created to lead the 164 year old brand’s integrated marketing efforts.

“Our marketing restructure involved bringing all our marketing teams from different functions and services together into a single team who can access all of our media and digital channels.

Consumer behavior has become much more mobile and digital, so the need for us to craft customized approaches to meet their demands have become all the more important.”

Once Wells Fargo had become aware of this trend over five years ago, Lacorazza’s strategy to initiate this marketing refocus seemed sensible, as it would centralize the approach of targeting new customers.

The fundamental basis of these types of strategies, however, needs a complete understanding of a target customer, which isn’t as simple as it first sounds despite the plethora of information on millennials, Lacorazza explains.

“There is a saturation of points of view in terms of what’s important about them, what makes them tick and so forth. But they’re an important demographic for us for several reasons and we have worked hard at learning more about them.

We’ve made a pretty big investment to initiate a relationship that has digital and mobile marketing campaigns at its core.”

Millennials right now are either wrapping up college and further education on the one side, or thinking of buying houses and/or starting families on the other – it’s a sweet spot for a company like Wells Fargo.

This collection of people though are also more likely to conduct their banking through digital and mobile channels, so the company needed to integrate this fully with their new marketing restructure.

“We’re designing our campaigns and content discovery with a mobile-first perspective, which includes many different social outlets like Instagram, Facebook, because this audience are consuming videos, interacting with peer networks, and more, so our content needs to be designed to be native inside of these platforms.

…our general rule of thumb is that we have about three seconds before we lose them to their short attention span!”

To tackle this challenge, Lacorazza and his team have had to consider the content they send out, based on platform and use of media.

On Facebook, for example, the assumption is that if they were to run an advert on a news feed, only a small percentage of people will activate sound, so the video has to be able to get a message across in a different manner.

Wells Fargo and Lacorazza have launched a more integrated marketing approach in order to attract millennials, but the vast amount of data available about them will help the bank retain individuals in this demographic.

Compared to other generations, millennials are generally much more comfortable with providing data within a service.

“They assume you know everything about them, and so if you show up in a way that suggests you don’t, they immediately see you as less relevant,” Lacorazza explains.

This different view of privacy can be used to Wells Fargo’s advantage, as it can tailor content and information based on an individuals circumstances, playing into the customer experience trend that many people now expect.

There is a fine line to tread though: if a marketing campaign is too personal or deemed inappropriate, this demographic are among the most vocal when it comes to complaining on social media.

By unifying the marketing function, and enabling it to operate across digital, mobile and social channels to mirror the way millennials communicate, Wells Fargo has positioned itself under the nose of tomorrow’s spending power.

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