Is your credit union prepared for World War (Gen) Z

Is your credit union prepared for the next generation gap? Millennials (born 1980 to 1994) have been a topic of focus over the past several years, with good reason. At 83 million strong, millennials deserve your attention. Yet, there is a new generation that is about to hit the workforce. Generation Z (born 1995 to 2012) will begin to graduate from college this spring. At 73 million, the members of Gen Z are still being mistaken for millennials. This comes as no surprise as all “young people” tend to get lumped into the millennial ranks, even though half of the nation’s millennials are now parents themselves, according to Time magazine.  

What do you know about Gen Z? Remember that millennials were raised by baby boomers who taught them that if everyone pitches in, everyone wins. They were also taught to “be themselves”, “question authority” and to “chase their dreams”. Good advice from a generation that pioneered the new economy. Gen Z is a product of angsty Gen Xers who know that economic bubbles burst, jobs often get cut, 401(k)s don’t always grow and no extra points are awarded for “participation” in Little League. As a result, Generation Z is independent, focused and fiercely competitive. According to the Institute for Corporate Productivity, half of Gen Z would rather work independently than collaborate and would prefer their own office to open environments. Sixty percent say they want a long career with one company and half would rather get a job than create one. I like these kids!

How can your credit union plan to capture the next generation wave? If millennials are the mobile pioneers, Gen Z are mobile natives! Generation Z is the first generation to grow up completely digital. Unlike millennials, they don’t remember life before smartphones and constant Wi-Fi. Today’s teens had phones when they were in elementary or middle school, compared to high school or college for their older counterparts. As Gen Z enters the workforce be prepared for them to lead the high tech – high touch charge.

Gen Z battle plan:

1. Smartphones. If your credit union is not mobile, stop reading and rethink your technology strategy now! Phones are a life changing event according to a study conducted by Google. The top milestones for teens today are:

  1. Graduating from school
  2. Getting a license
  3. Getting a phone

2. Devices. User experience should be a focus of your internet banking platform, website and loan products, not just your mobile banking app. Gen Z has more devices at their disposal than any other generation. Teens today use multiple devices:

  1. 78% Smartphone
  2. 69% Laptop
  3. 68% Television
  4. 62% Gaming console
  5. 52% Tablet
  6. 50% Desktop Computer

While today’s teens have a reputation as gamers, smartphones, laptops, and TV’s still reign supreme.

Source: Google Think

3.Video. Mobile is the new primetime. Watching mobile video is how teens spend a lot of their time. If you want to capture Gen Z’s attention consider YouTube video campaigns and social media. Teens spend 3+ hours per day on the following activities:

  1. 71% Watching videos online
  2. 52% Using messaging apps
  3. 51% social networking

Source: Google Think

4.Shopping. Gen Z is a generation of mobile shoppers, which means other activities such as applying for a loan on a mobile device will not feel foreign. 53% of teens make regular purchases on their smartphones and this number is increasing. Why?

  1. 61% It’s more convenient
  2. 49% Find better deals online
  3. 41% It’s faster

Source: Google Think

5. Connected. They grew up in a connected world, which means your credit union will need technologies to facilitate those connections. Being connected doesn’t mean 24×7 or even expanding Saturday hours. Teens prefer to connect with people via text more than twice as much as messaging apps or in person.

  1. 38% Text message
  2. 18% App message
  3. 15% In-person

Source: Google Think

6. Cool. Gen Z is the only age group that say ads influence their perception of “cool” products. According to teens here are the top 3 aspects that make a product cool.

  1. Friends talking about it
  2. They see an ad about it
  3. If something is personalized to them

Source: Google Think

We have all learned the impact and need of technology as we have adjusted to market to millennials. Well, now it’s time to double-down on that approach as Gen Z comes of age. While an app may be sufficient for your millennial members, keep in mind Gen Z will expect a lot more and you better be cool.

Preston Packer

Preston Packer

Preston Packer is the Director of Sales & Marketing for FLEX. Preston has been with FLEX since 2000 and has worked in various sales management roles over that time. Preston’... Web: www.flexcutech.com Details

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