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Using Intelligent Document Design to Court and Woo Millennials

September 2, 2015

A quick word of caution for any brands with a document management strategy: millennials matter to your future growth, and ignoring their visceral need for ease, simplicity and convenience could cost you dearly.

In case you haven’t heard, millennials--those born between 1980 and 2000--now comprise the U.S.

labor force’s largest generation (sorry, Boomers), wielding a whopping $200 billion-with-a-b, in annual purchasing power. Leveraging opportunities to connect with this group requires knowing how, when and where to communicate with them, including through account documents.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that FSSI is passionate about intentional, well-thought out design. We believe in it, promote it, educate clients about the how-tos and benefits, and continually invest in equipping our developers to keep our data formatting and document design solutions tops in the print-mail industry.

So, imagine our excitement when a well-done article appears in Document Strategy (a resource we regard highly), touting many of the practices we’ve been preaching, teaching and innovating.

Key takeaways from the piece written by IT executive and software developer, Francis Dion, are summarized for you below.

Check it out, then click here for a deeper dive on the subject, or check out design best practices in action in these compelling before-and-after statement samples.

Make Documents Accessible

Statements and other account documents should be available in an attractive, readable format, across all print and electronic channels. This millennial generation has grown up on texting, mobile apps, social media, and 24/7 digital access, so it expects omnichannel accessibility for everything--including personal financial information.

Make Content Relevant

While promotional content such as ads, specials and discounts may work with other audiences, they aren’t as effective with millennials. Younger folks, Dion says, prefer to be taught and educated about products and services rather than being ‘sold to.’ For banks, credit unions, auto finance companies and others, this is valuable insight for developing a millennial messaging strategy.

Spend Time on Structure

Lay out your content in a straightforward and logical manner, following design best-practices for headline placement, typography and content. Nix long or complex verbiage, and keep copy blocks in short, skimmable chunks.  As part of this process we also recommend the judicious use of color to highlight important or time-sensitive instructions or other information. 

Optimize For Mobile

About 20% of millennials have abandoned the use of desktops and laptops for web surfing, and are now accessing online content solely on smartphones and tablets, according to recent mobility statistics. One eMarketer study says that nearly half of all mobile users spend four-plus hours per day using the mobile internet.  The bottom line for financial services and others marketing to millennials is that mobility matters, now and in the future. Sites that aren’t adaptive or responsive will surely turn young people off and send them clicking elsewhere.

Keep Designs Clean and Clutter-Free

This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t fully understand the value of contemporary, professionally designed documents. “Any sort of clutter is detrimental to the way modern consumers read documents,” writes Dion, adding that “graphics and other visual elements should only appear in areas that are unobtrusive to the content.”

Misplaced information is a leading driver of untimely payments and higher call center volume.

So what’s the easiest and most effective method of keeping documents ‘clean?’  By placing the most critical and pertinent information front and center, which is whatever your customers look for most and expect to find the fastest (survey and ask them if you really want to know).

Samples like these illustrate ‘clean and clutter-free’ beautifully, and this Document Value Checklist may offer helpful pointers that you haven’t considered.

Universal Expectations

In reality, it’s not just Gen-Yers who expect well-designed, omnichannel-accessible documents.  Today, any customer toting a mobile device could covet ease, simplicity and convenience when retrieving and viewing account documents.  The question is, are you equipped to provide the unfettered experience they desire?

If not, call us today for a free document design consultation and demo.  And don’t forget to download our free Document Value Checklist.