I’m new here. And I’m a millennial.
So, naturally, on my first day at Weber I observed a Millennial panel that focused around financial habits and banking preferences. Well I have an Alaska Airlines credit card (I’m a travel points hoard) and 401K, but that's where my knowledge around financials starts and ends. I couldn't tell you any details of my 401K, aside from the fact that I received the head nod of approval from my financial advisory (my father); I figure I’m doing pretty good for myself. It was really interesting for me to sit through this panel and watch a group of my new coworkers and peers asked questions about how they bank, if they can balance a checkbook, and whether they know it's important to start saving for retirement and not just their next trip to Cabo - because I could relate to every single one.
Last month, Weber Marketing Group taught the CUES School of Strategic Marketing for managers and executives from credit unions across the country to come and learn about best practices, hear stories from other credit union’s successes and leverage current trends in the financial industry. Weber wanted to kick off the courses for the week by bringing in a target audience that many financial institutions struggle to find the right message to resonate with. We are talking about millennials, of course! Weber put some of their best and brightest millennials in the hot seat and asked the questions credit unions across the board have been itching to get answered. The panel was asked a lot of questions about their knowledge of financials and, aside from working in the financial industry and being immersed in banking jargon on a daily basis, the reasoning behind why each individual banks the way they do was surprising to many of the attendees.
How do you successfully get in front of our cohort and spark interest in your brand?
Convenience is key. Millennials we want to be able to manage their money as easily as they can tweet or post a status. That being said, apps like Venmo have become a widely adopted platform among our panel members for sending and receiving money. It’s simple – and there’s Emojis – what’s not to love? Creating an account is seamless if you have a Facebook profile and a debit card or checking account. Also, having a single banking app that enables us to budget, transfer, and manage our money with ease is a big draw. The more a financial institution can consolidate all of our needs into a single platform, the more likely it is to pique our interest.
As millennials we’ve been told we have the attention span of a goldfish. That’s 8 seconds. You can thank apps like Vine and Snapchat for that. You have 8 seconds to gain our attention before we move on to something new and swipe you from our memory.
Okay what were we talking about? …right. Attention spans. Or lack thereof.
There is plenty of accessible information about all things financial, but not enough that is easy to digest. Trying to find the right way to communicate with millennials and keep our attention can often be frustrating for marketers in any industry. The typical way to get our attention is by offering free pizza and beer. While we do love that, we also love enjoying it in the privacy of our own Netflix cave. To the surprise of the attendees, many of the panel members would forgo the big groups and awkward small talk you have to endure when attending MeetUps or seminars and instead prefer snackable size content, like short videos or On-Demand webinars, that we can scroll through on our own time. Millennials are serial skimmers. It’s important to make messages short and sweet. We won’t read through the long emails filled with financial terms that are sent to us. Even if “IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ” is plastered across the subject line, at best you will only get a quick skimm. You are much more likely to get important information to us via text (you have our numbers!). Just make sure to stick to the point and highlight key details that you don’t want us to miss.
Most millennials have been with their bank of choice for many years. Part of that decision is pure laziness but, from the words of our panelists, it was often out of loyalty. Whether it was getting set up at a bank their parents have been with for years or from a credit union rep that came into their elementary classroom to talk about putting their piggy bank money into a savings account, many felt like they owed it to their financial institution to stay. For some, their bank helped them set up their first accounts, build their credit, get their first car loan, and even helped them take out their first mortgage. Those “firsts” created a bonded between them and their financial institution that they are not willing to break simply for a few extra dollars or a fraction of a percentage point increase on their interest rate.
However, the other portion of millennials (the “lazy” ones…including myself) have no real attachment to their current bank, but the thought of making the change is overwhelming and seems like more time and headache than it’s worth. Having to track down what bills are getting auto pulled from what account and having to update all of these key services makes us shut the idea down quick. If credit unions were able to make the process quick and painless, they have a much better chance of getting our business. Especially if you can add the cherry on top by showing us that your company stands for something meaningful. Millennials want to support brands that are local and attached to important causes. They want to walk into a branch (the few times they ever will…) and feel like they are being welcomed as part of a family/community. From the vibrance of the branch environment to the warmness of the tellers that greet them – that experience in and of itself makes the trip worthwhile.
When asked about brand loyalty, the answers were consistent across the board. Millennials have been given a bad rap for being cheap penny pinchers and are killing all these industries through our consumer habits. What the panel taught its audience was that many of us value brands that make our busy lives easier – even if that means spending a few extra dollars. In order to make us stay, a brand needs to cater to our world. It’s no secret that millennials crave convenience. Give us the ability to shop mobile and we’ll love you that much more. A new thought that emerged was how so much of our loyalty to a brand comes from our perception of that brands loyalty to us. Our panel agreed that we value brands that are authentic. If a company is able to engage with us and offer products of quality that fit our needs, we feel cared for. We want to support businesses that talk with us and not at us. We want to be part of the conversation and be heard. Businesses that make us make us feel good – brands that are involved in the community, supportive of charitable causes, and that want the best for their customers. We want our financial institution to be like a good friend.
Want to get our business? Pique our interest, give us helpful tidbits, make the transition seamless, and give us a reason to want to be a part of your community!