Credit Unions Missing a Critical “Life Stage”
by: Roger Conant, CUTweetTrack
What “life stage” are credit unions missing? I’ll give you three hints!
- It ties in perfectly with auto lending.
- It ties in perfectly with Gen Y teens.
- It ties in perfectly with the parents of Gen Y teens.
The answer: Raising a teen driver
Let me explain.
All one has to do is google the terms “credit union” and “life stages” to see that many credit unions are segmenting their marketing this way. And most of the categories are very predictable, such as going to college, getting a job, getting married, etc.
But at the beginning of most of the lists is buying a car. And rightfully so. With auto loans comprising more than 40 percent of their average portfolio, credit unions have a major stake in their members’ automobile purchases.
In this respect, credit unions have tried valiantly to develop systems and processes in order to connect with members at a critical point…the point of time when the member decides to begin seriously shopping for an auto. Trouble is, that’s exactly the same critical point where every other competing lender is focusing. But most of them have more marketing dollars than credit unions. And then, of course, there’s always 0%!
So why not get a little more creative and reach a lot farther back in the process of car buying. Recently, I took a closer look at the car buying process…but especially where Gen Y was concerned. And what I found was an opportunity for credit unions to engage the Gen Y teen, and just as important, their parents.
That point is when the teen decides to get their drivers license. That initial licensing triggers a number of events.
It will prompt, either a vehicle for the teen driver, or probably speed up the purchase of another vehicle for “the family”…as family driving increases. Either way, the probability of an auto loan for someone in that member family becomes closer to a reality.
But beyond that, licensing for the teen creates a chance for the credit union to be part of a “life event” for both the teen and the parent that is not financially related. It creates an opportunity for credit unions to help demystify a process that is new and challenging for every family. And no financial services group is paying attention to it, including credit unions.
And talk about a compelling “cause marketing” opportunity! For the first time in several years, teen driver deaths increased last year. Credit unions could position themselves in support of “safety” messaging for member families and their teens. And it perfectly compliments credit unions, who already have a presence in the schools.
Doesn’t it make sense that credit unions could position themselves as a key resource for the “teen driver” and member parents?
So I propose the addition of a new item in your life events sequence…Raising A Teen Driver!
Roger Conant has been an advocate for credit unions since his first job in the marketing department of a Houston based CUSO several years ago. He started one of the first efforts to track activity of credit unions on Twitter with @CUTweetTrack. He also has participated in national sales efforts (exclusively for credit unions) for compliance software and TurboTax. www.cutweettrack.com