Australian mega-bank ANZ has combined finance with web 2.0. They’ve partnered with US-based SmartyPig to develop a widget that can display your savings goals and track your progress towards the goal, then display it on your MySpace or Facebook page. And they developed this why?
Before I drop my two cents in, here’s the specs:
- Developed to reach Gen-Y
- App displays your financial goals/progress on Facebook for your friends to see
- SmartyPig was founded with the goal of trying to thwart Gen-Y’s “spend now” attitude
- Users can choose to save cash plus interest or convert money into a gift card (for some reason I feel like this contradicts the prior bullet)
- ANZ claims the goal is to teach financial responsibility and promote savings, rather than sustain a reliance to credit (again, appears to contradict the above bullet)
I commend ANZ for making an attempt to embrace the direction that both technology and communication are heading. And they’re correct, Generation Y communicates differently than other generations, and saves money differently – in that they really don’t. I honestly do not know too many individuals my age that are saving, and are instead choosing to life for today. So I want to make it extremely clear, that any effort to change the savings habits of Gen-Y is excellent.
However, I think this is a classic case where a company attempts to align themselves with a younger generation by utilizing a technology that does not fit with its product offering.
Mint.com works – it’s not social networking, but it’s a service that tracks and categorizes your personal expenses so that consumers are aware of their spending habits. Best of all, you can utilize mint.com from a convenient, FREE, iPhone app. The reason it works, is because it utilizes technology Gen-Y embraces, it’s free, and it easy to use. More importantly, it keeps your expenses private.
ANZ’s new app does not work. Yes, Echo Boomers use social networking. Yes, Echo Boomers bank. But this does not mean that A + B = C. “This therefore that” logic does not apply in this situation. As an Echo Boomer, I want to use Facebook, but that does not mean that I want all of my “friends” to know my current financial situation. Especially, since a lot of my “friends” really aren’t friends – they’re people I’ve met at parties, met while backpacking Europe, or met at a conference. And in a few situations, I confirmed their friend request out of feeling obligated to do so. Yes, most are my friends, but a good portion are just contacts – and in no way do I want my far reaching contacts to have access to my financials.
Excellent effort; well intentioned; poorly thought through.
Can any of you think of other examples of products/services/apps that were targeted at Gen-Y that totally missed the boat?