Generation D

The Digital Generation

It has been unseasonably warm during the first few days of May here in Portland. This weekend we hit 80 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, weekend + sunshine = barbecue.

My plan was to purchase a new grate replacement for our little Smokey Joe grill and call it good. But I coveted a gorgeous orange-topped number that caught my eye on Saturday.  I returned on Sunday to bring it home, adding it to our grilling family. Its inaugural production was the colorfully name Beer Butt Chicken. (One of my friends made it last summer and it was amazing!)

Where did I go to find the recipe? My iPad of course. Why bother my girlfriend when I could put the Google on it and locate what I needed in less time than it would take me to dial her phone number?  I use resources offered up by the Internet for so many things: recipes, directions, information, color palette suggestions, article inspiration, telephone numbers, book reviews, music, networking, and bill paying. I am Generation D, defined.


Generation D(igital)

As early as 2000, organizations began to identify a heterogeneous group of multi-generational people who were extremely comfortable with technology. With the ongoing use of mobile, this demographic of Generation D has ballooned beyond 75 million people. Accenture recently estimated that this group of folks “differentiated by their broad adoption of technology” and extensive use of digital and social media represents $27 trillion in assets. In addition, they point to advisor participation in the social media space as table stakes.

Rather than a nice-to-have, the digital and social space is a necessary opt-in for advisors in their outreach and client retention efforts. Millennials, some of the more wary toward the financial services industry, seek to research and educate themselves rather than contact a financial advisor. (Social media participation is one of the best avenues for connecting with this generation.)

The examples in the Accenture article do focus on the wealth management arena, rather than the defined contribution market. However, as we look to connect with participants and affect their behavior as it relates to financial literacy and 401k savings, we can learn about the importance of a broad approach to education and communication—an approach that includes social media and social outreach.