7 Tips for Marketing Your Credit Union to Millennials

These tips are still valuable, but it's been a couple of years since I wrote this post, so I highly recommend that you check out our updated post that covers marketing to millennials.

Millennials. They’re the largest currently-living generation in the US (over 80 million strong–nearly a quarter of the population) and make up the biggest part of today’s workforce. Like any generation, millennials come with unique characteristics that present marketing challenges, but credit unions cannot afford to ignore their enormous purchasing power—$200 billion annually.

Here are 7 critical things you need to know about marketing to this generation.

1. Millennials Are Diverse

The most important thing to know about marketing to millennials is that they’re the most diverse generation that’s ever existed. You’ll find them in every single social class and industry, so it’s critical to think in terms of segments versus demographics.

You’ll read many things about the stereotypical millennial (including in this article), but there are myriad subsets of this generation that must be considered based on your geography and charter type. The best place to start is by surveying your current millennial membership (or prospects) to build your target “avatar.” An avatar is a semi-fictional bio (typically one page) that outlines the demographics, interests, key frustrations, values, goals, and favorite information sources for the target member.

2. Drop the Outbound, Hard Sell

Millennials don’t respond to the sales and advertising tactics that worked with previous generations. Credit unions need to focus on outreach and inbound marketing programs that let millennials make buying decisions for themselves after receiving value and making a real connection with your institution.

Millennials want to feel like your content was offered with their benefit (not their wallet) in mind. Avatar-focused content marketing campaigns more organically introduce them to your products and services. Bypassing the hard sell, targeted educational content will help build trust and nurture a visitor into a member.

3. Let Them Be the Star

Millennials enjoy seeing themselves in the media they consume. This provides a valuable opportunity to leverage user-generated content to help tell your institution’s brand story. Use hashtags to solicit member images and videos of themselves in a branch, for a chance to win gift cards. Then feature these assets in all your digital marketing channels, such as Facebook and Instagram feeds.

When a prospect can relate to your content in an authentic way, your brand message goes much farther.

4. Remember FOMO and Frugality

Millennials are all about FOMO (fear of missing out). Offer a unique offer, experience, or event to tap into their motivation for being involved. Sharing a sneak peek of something that's trending and timely can also help generate interest.

5. Engage Them Where They Hang Out

Snapchat and Instagram are the current platforms of choice for millennials. If your staff isn’t interested in using these networks, work with an agency that can do it for you. And either way, make sure you use authentic for the platform.

6. Reputation is Paramount

Millennials value authenticity over everything else. They’re more likely to listen to a fellow consumer over a piece of promotional copy. If you aren’t putting focused effort into building the volume and average rating of reviews across major sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp! and others, you’re missing one of the most effective opportunities in digital. In addition to the human component, more great ratings and reviews boost SEO.

Begin by reaching out to your existing members through email and providing links to rate you on their favorite platform. UnionBoost has a platform that first asks each member how they would rate the credit union between 1-5 stars. Those who rate 4 or 5 stars are prompted to share their review on one of the major platforms. Those who rate 1-3 stars are instead prompted to provide a description of their concerns and issues so that this feedback can be sent directly to the credit union instead of being shared online.

7. Appeal to Their Values

Millennials' buying habits tend to prioritize meaningful experiences and social identity. Businesses congruent with their values will have a huge head start. Attracted to companies that are making a difference, millennials want to align themselves with organizations doing good in the world and use their purchasing power to support them.

Millennials require purchase incentives that go beyond features and benefits. What’s your why? How do you impact your community? Instead of selling your credit union’s products, sell your purpose.

The Bottom Line

Millennials can be more challenging to recruit, but when they do become members they tend to be the most loyal generation around. This kind of connection is a fantastic match for the credit union business model, which truly does prioritize member value above profits. At the end of the day, credit unions are offering exactly what millennials want, so it just becomes a matter of finding the right places to connect with a genuine message.

What millennial marketing tactics have worked particularly well in your institution? Let us know in the comments!