Communications can make or break your business goals. So, how do you target your messages when everyone communicates differently or when you have multiple demographics in your target audience?
First step, and we know it’s not a popular word, but you have to generalize. At least a little bit.
Build the foundation of your marketing and sales strategy by understanding your target audience’s communications habits. How do they spend their free time? How do they find your company? What communication messages will they trust?
Unfortunately, the actual strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all for every business. How you, and we mean you specifically, create these multi-generational strategies relies on your specific type of business and industry.
This is an interesting, and challenging, endeavor – in other words, our favorite kind of challenge. So, we’re going to approach this topic talking about specific industries.
First up, credit unions.
Why credit unions? Because they are rolling in opportunity right now. Particularly in the areas we specialize in knowing about: hyper-local strategy and economic development programs.
Today, more generations than ever before are sharing a very small marketplace. Their massively differing values and world views are constantly butting against each other creating more noise, distrust and demand on the marketplace than any time in history.
The five generations on today’s economic game board are: the Civics, those born between 1923 and the early 1940s; Baby Boomers, those born in the early 1940s to the early 1960s; Gen X, those born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s; Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and the later 1990s; and Gen Z, those born in the early 1990s to the present. (We know, depending on where you’re looking, the dates can differ…this is our rule of thumb for them.)
Look at the up-and-comers.
While the Civics and Baby Boomers have driven the economic engine for decades, the three youngest generations are finally getting their moments to shine. Gen X is stepping into the leadership roles held by retiring Boomers, Millennials are shaping the future of the next-generation workforce, and Gen Z is preparing to enter the market in a big way during the next few years.
And all three generations have very different values, preferences and opinions than their seniors about how they want to the world to work and communicate. Knowing what shaped their beliefs and values, how they think and, what, why and from where they buy plays a big part in earning their business.
For credit unions, there is an opportunity to capture and build a young, vibrant and loyal customer base for years to come.
How do they do this?
In order to do this, credit unions must customize how they communicate.
While communication is something most of us do naturally in our day-to-day personal interactions, for some reason, in the business world, we seem to be on a constant look out for a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and communications. Why is that?
Small tweaks to your communications strategies can make a big difference in connecting with Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. And while each of these generations has unique characteristics, demands, values and preferences that are often at odds with their surrounding generations, today’s technologies and social platforms allow for greater customization for relationship building without losing scale.
Understanding and adapting your credit union’s business tactics to address your customer base by generation can generate more sales, better client relationships, and exponential growth for your organization.
Gen X and Credit Unions
Gen Xers are in their prime when it comes to their career and earnings power. But most businesses skipped them and went straight to targeting Millennials as the new key market for their efforts.
The Gen X audience is skeptical, educated and practical. They’re also tech savvy, having grown up alongside the Internet, and entrepreneurial thanks to growing up in dual-career or single parent households where they learned independence and gained strong do-it-yourself mentalities. While there may be fewer Gen Xers than other generations, the approximately 50 million Gen Xers is entering their peak earning and spending years, and are a key demographic for growing your credit union membership and business.
Don’t miss out on powerful growth opportunities from a generation that is not only its prime earning years, but can benefit greatly–and generate loyalty and referrals–from credit unions interested in nurturing their financial stability and future planning.
Things credit unions should know about Gen X:
- They have the money. Even with their loss of wealth in the Great Recession, research by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services shows Gen X will be the main holders of wealth for decades before their Millennial counterparts step up.
- They are also in key life stages that credit unions are positioned to nurture and support: many are either getting married or have recently married, looking to buy or renovate a home, starting families or raising school-aged children, looking for a little financial assistance for their children to attend college, working toward or hitting the peak of their working lives.
- They are adventurous consumers. Gen Xers care as much about having a pleasurable shopping experience and convenience as anyone, but they also care about expressing their individuality. This makes them more willing to try new stores, products, services or even ideas.
- They have unique challenges with which credit unions are uniquely positioned to help. Gen Xers have less wealth than their parents did at their age due to the recession, lingering college debts, increases in costs of living, and an added challenge of covering the cost of caring for their children and their again parents. They have also often not adequately saved for retirement.
Tips for customizing your communications for Gen X:
- Be an advocate
- Speak to their skepticism
- Avoid the hard sell
- Know their other options
- Provide value
- Go digital
If you’d like to get more information on connecting with different generations as part of your marketing and sales strategies for credit unions, you can download our FREE eBook here.