There is a lot of talk in mortgage circles about marketing to Millennials, both as potential customers and as the Loan Officers of the future. Slowly but surely, the industry is adapting to the attitudes and behaviors of the 75.4 million that make up the cohort. But we need to pick up the pace because, while Millennials straddled the old days of traditional communication and the modern era of new media, Generation Z is already 82 million members strong representing 23 percent of the U.S. population and they are surfing the crest of digital information and communication.
Not surprisingly, studies have shown that Generation Z, the leading edge of which is turning 20, is adopting attitudes directly opposite those of the Millennials that preceded them. Whereas the Millennial generation tends to have an experiential definition of success, Generation Z shows similarities to the Boomer’s traditional work ethic and view of success defined in terms of money, education, and career path.
Of course, Generation Z has some similarities to Millennials as well. In fact, from a technology and communications standpoint, Generation Z is Millennial 2.0. They do not know of a time before the internet or smartphones. Their devices are all the same to them; a phone is a tablet is a laptop, all merely tools to connect them to information and each other.
And they have been connected. For them, virtually all human knowledge is no farther away than a couple taps of the finger. Everything is available to them on-demand. They can get whatever information they want when they want it. They can watch their television shows whenever they want to. They do not have to wait for their favorite song to play on a particular radio station, they can create their own radio station that plays the songs they want to hear without commercials. They stream live video conversations with one friend or 1000 friends located nearly anywhere in the world.
The Loan Officers that recognize the need to adapt their business to the customers of the future will be the Loan Officers that succeed. Those Loan Officers that do not develop their brand online and on social media will not be seen as credible or authoritative. First impressions will not be made face-to-face. Relationships will be created and maintained via text, email, and social media engagement. Many Loan Officers argue they do not have the time to invest in social media, websites, or other “new” media. When Generation Z starts buying homes those same Loan Officers will likely find they have much more time on their hands.