Many experts have weighed in on the differences between how the genders tend to approach financial issues. Everything I’ve read suggests men have more debt and more savings, partially because of higher incomes. Yet when marketing banking services, best practices tend to skew communications toward the female who generally handles the family’s banking and sorts the household mail. However, as communications become more targeted and are delivered to individuals rather than households (thanks in large part to individual email addresses), marketing might be well-served by acknowledging different approaches to money management and spending based on both gender and age.
After decades in financial marketing, I just ran across a new term for the first time — money snacking or those smaller purchases that can really add up, just like those insidious calories that accumulate the pounds after mindless munching. I admit I fit embarrassingly well into the stereotype of the typical female money snacker… baulking at any high ticket purchase, while thinking nothing of acquiring yet another pair of black shoes, something most men can’t fathom.
Of course, these are just generalizations. There are men with black belts in shopping and women sitting in homes furnished with little other than high-end stereo equipment, but recognizing valid archetypes can help marketers tip the odds in their favor. This doesn’t mean simply swapping out the gender of the person in a photo; it’s about customizing the message to tightly align with the financial inclinations of the reader. The industry buzz is to target Millennials with positioning designed to meet their needs, but doesn’t that principle apply to all account holders? Don’t adult males also have financial needs that banks and credits unions can profitably meet? As technology and communications advance, so does our ability to target messages to be as relevant as possible.
For the first time since the government began tracking these stats in 1976, more than half of people in the United States are single.1 That clearly suggests that not every prospect household financial institutions are targeting for new checking accounts has a woman at the helm managing the family’s finances. Younger adults and males are taking charge of their banking and investment decisions, and our ability to use targeted digital communications to reach them has never been better. Now let’s ensure the messages we send through those channels are equality relevant.
1. CityLab/the Martin Prosperity Institute