The past year has thrown a number of curve balls our way. The presidential election outcome caused major shockwaves. The Cubs finally won a World Series. Cleveland broke their championship drought with an NBA ring. Miss Colombia was crowned Miss Universe... and then she wasn't. LaLa Land won best picture... and then it didn't. Despite all these quirks in the universe, one constant has remained: Nobody seems to like millennials.
Descriptives such as lazy, disrespectful, and easily distracted are common terms for this generation. Yet, millennials are a huge target market for credit unions. Why? Simple: They are the largest generation with 85-90 million people in the US. While they carry a huge amount of college debt, even amid an economy whose median household has remained relatively stagnant, they are poised and ready for financial guidance. The interesting thing about millennials is that they are ready to accept that guidance if it's positioned correctly.
Not only the largest generation, millennials are the most educated generation in history. They don't fall for gimmicks. They are sometimes mistakenly seen as disrespectful because they aren't willing to just accept what they're told because "that's the way it's always been." They are eager to make their own way but desire to first be armed with all of their options. They are eager to learn and welcome guidance from trusted sources, like professors and elders with life experience. They are also willing to take on debt to achieve this knowledge because they know the long-term gain from investing in education.
This creates a tremendous opportunity for CUs to step in and offer guidance for the millennial's financial future. By providing financial guidance on investments, loans, and banking services, you can establish yourself as a trusted advisor and create the foundations of a long-term member relationship. Millennials are at the prime age of needing cars and homes, and they'll come to your CU for financing.
They want products and services that make their life easier, and won't believe it just because you tell them so. You have to prove it and demonstrate it, but how do you get their attention? Focus on targeting some of their core values: A great sense of community, an appreciation for efficiency, and the convenience of their mobile phones. They won't be sold on just the offer of mobile banking... Your CU needs to deliver a seamless mobile experience, as well as features like e-Signatures and electronic document exchange. If they sense a service isn't as convenient as advertised, they'll find a new one. It's not about sales pitches, it's about proof. They are constantly hooked into their social media and it's up to the CUs to use those channels to speak to this group if they want to be seen as relevant and modern.
Finally, millennials have an affinity for "shopping local". They prefer Mom & Pop to Big Box.They don't trust corporations or big banks, or their motives. They have respect for organizations that value and support the local community. These local tendencies make CUs a perfect fit for meeting millennials needs.
They may have a bad reputation in the media, but they remain the largest generation yet and your credit union needs to take millennial needs and desires into account if you want to gain their trust and their valuable membership.