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Direct mail alone may not be enough to attract Millennial accounts, but combining digital and print direct channels with a mobile-friendly customer experience can break through the generational barrier.

Despite a reputation for being customer-first and customer satisfaction levels that have traditionally been far higher than regular banks and other financial institutions, credit unions find themselves struggling to attract Millennials. The challenges run deeper than marketing, but the omni-channel marketing experience is very much on the front line of overcoming them. 

For credit unions to connect with the account holders of tomorrow, you must be able to present your brand in a way that unifies the trusted, in-person credit union banking experience with a consumer base that wants to handle most of its finances digitally for maximum convenience. And that customer experience starts before they’re customers. It starts with your omni-channel marketing experience.

Here’s how your omni-channel marketing strategy can help make that happen. 

Why Don’t Millennials Love Craft Banking? 

The irony of credit unions’ disconnect with Millennials is that in many other areas, younger adults have shown a preference for the kind of small-batch, craftsman-like services that credit unions should represent. If there was a craft beer of banking, credit unions would be it! 

Not only are credit unions smaller than big banks and powered by what you could call locally-sourced funds, they also deliver a premium product with benefits in the form of better interest rates on savings and loan products. 

From a certain point of view, credit unions should be the avocado toast of banking options. But they’re not. In fact, Millennials are choosing credit unions at a far lower rate than Baby Boomers or Gen X. And for the first time in the history of the American Customer Satisfaction Survey, big banks are starting to rate more highly in customer experience

There are reasons for this disconnect, and perhaps the biggest is that Millennials save and borrow less than their older peers. Inundated with student loans and broadly unable to afford houses until later in life, young Millennials came to prioritize ease of access and digital compatibility over interest rates and retail branch customer experiences.  

Making matters worse, large financial institutions installed cutting edge digital and mobile banking options while fintech companies emerged that allowed Millennials to handle almost all banking activity, even wallet activity, through smartphones. 

So while Millennials sought high-quality, craft-like experiences in other markets, the generation lurched strongly toward ultra-convenient, faceless, mobile banking options that largely froze credit unions out.

But the traditional credit union brand advantages of warm, friendly, local banking that puts the member ahead of profits will still appeal to this generation if your marketing can help them see what a credit union brings to the table. 

How to Convey Convenience and Technology in Marketing

Credit unions have always marketed less than other financial institutions, especially through mass-market channels. Instead, the traditional credit union relied on word of mouth and brand reputation supported by local direct mail to build personal connections with its community customer base. 

Those are all good tactics and credit unions should keep using them, but they aren’t enough. Today, a single direct mail campaign may be seen, but it’s too easily forgotten in the tide of advertising Millennials see all day. Not to mention, while Millennials have been shown to appreciate direct mail, this is not the demographic you want thinking that your brand is “old-school” — digital marketing and engagement channels are essential for getting and holding Millennials’ attention

However, if you amplify targeted, personalized direct mail with targeted digital marketing, you create an omni-channel marketing experience that shows younger target audiences that you are both relevant to their world and able to deliver the individualized, convenient banking experience they’re looking for. 

3 Ways for Credit Union Marketing to Win Millennials Over

The Millennial disconnect is a customer experience issue, but it’s not one that can be fixed by improving customer service. You need to help these potential customers see what your brand represents throughout the lead generation process. 

To attract digitally savvy, convenience-centric banking customers, credit unions must be able to deliver marketing that accomplishes three things at once:

  1. It must be personal
  2. It must embrace technology and convenience
  3. It must showcase how you deliver a better customer experience

Here’s how to achieve those goals in the process of your marketing:

1. Get Personal

Targeting and personalization go hand-in-hand. The data available today — both your first-party data and information vendors can provide — is a powerful tool for making marketing that connects. This goes beyond demographics. With the right data, you can target a younger adult at times when he or she may be more open to changing banks or pursuing other financial products like car loans and mortgages. 

Figure out what demographics and life events you want to engage with this campaign and design a direct mail campaign that addresses them and serves as your marketing catalyst. Then target that defined segment with complimentary marketing across the digital world. 

2. It Must Embrace Mobile Technology

Omni-channel marketing is not limited to email or website display ads. Today you can target individuals through data you already have about them or by building custom audiences on digital platforms. These ads must be targeted to social and mobile marketplaces, as well, to ensure that Millennials see your messaging where they live when they’re ready to engage with it.

Don’t dismiss this amplification portion of your campaign as a sideshow to the direct mail main event. As we’ve shown in other posts, supporting your direct mail campaign with targeted digital advertising leads to 6 to 10 times more brand impressions. This is the action that drives more leads and converts more Millennial customers.

3. Showcase a Better Customer Experience

Reaching out to your audience through omni-channel techniques is only the beginning. The creative you send them and the offers it presents must showcase both the differentiators of credit union banking — beneficial rates, great customer experience, etc. — and the new, convenient ways they can use your credit union.

This is the first taste these Millennials will have of your brand, so it’s important to show why it’s worth their time to bank with you. What mobile tools does your credit union provide? How do you make it easier for them to access funds and perform transactions? What other benefits do you offer? Do you integrate with their favorite fintech, like Venmo?

Remember, this is not the time to say you’re the financial institution their parents would’ve chosen — it’s the time to show why you’re the credit union that can help them live their active, technology-empowered lives and achieve their financial dreams. Make it clear why your credit union is the financial hub Millennials should be choosing as the foundation to reach their goals. 

Many larger banks have made inroads with Millennials by showing them that their money can do more than they thought it could. Lean into that spirit and show Millennials both that you’re here to help and that a credit union can support them way better than some faceless bank or app.

Tech Is Changing Direct Marketing, Too

Just like your credit union isn’t their father’s financial institution, today’s omni-channel marketing isn’t the direct marketing of 1990. With the data and tools available today, it’s possible to make a personal connection that sets your brand up for success with each customer you reach. 

Contact us to find out how Propelo can help you make it happen.

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Contact us for a free one-on-one consultation. Still, we figure you might want to check us out before you do business with us. As a customer-first business, we owe our success on a set of Core Values: 1) Partner, Not Just Vendor, 2) One-stop-shop, 3) Never Shortsighted, and 4) Delight Our Clients. 415.795.8333 • ideas@propelomedia.com

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