It seems like the majority of marketing speak these days is aimed at my generation. Whether it’s debating the best way to catch our attention or deciding that we aren’t worth your time and resources, the chatter is constant. As a millennial, I thought I would share my favorite five Gen Y marketing myths, debunk them, and talk about why they could be holding your credit union back.
Myth #1: Young adults don’t have money
According to a Harris Interactive Study, American millennials’ spending power is over $200 billion a year. While it is very true that our spending habits look different from our parents’ did at this life stage, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need financial services and support now. We might be putting off buying cars and houses, but we are still in need of services such as student loans, debit cards, and IRAs. If you reach out to us and build a relationship with our generation now, we’ll be more likely to come to you when we do need help with big financial decisions later.
Myth #2: You must join every social media platform
This idea that you have to be on every single social media platform to keep up with us is something I hear all the time. While it seems like if you’re in more places, more people will see you–but it’s really difficult to be on a bunch of different social media networks at the same time and make sure that every single outlet’s message, branding, and personality are strong and engaging.
You definitely won’t reach us with a watered-down message or a once-a-month update; we want regular updates on stuff that matters to us and directly impacts our lives: giveaways, relevant and interesting content, closures, and online banking service announcements. I am a HUGE proponent of brands being on social media. But that doesn’t mean that you need to be everywhere. Think about what platforms work best for your brand’s identity and manpower, and connect with us there.
Myth #3: Youthspeak and pop culture trends draw us in
“Youthspeak” refers to slang or spelling styles that young adults use (text-speak for example). Another aspect of this myth is using visual pop culture trends, things like moustaches, birds, and owls. While it’s great to stay on top of trends and post the occasional humorous and trendy picture or phrase to Facebook, it’s not always wise to base a campaign around them, especially if there is no clear tie-back to your brand and messaging.
A strong brand provides key emotional experiences for the consumer, and 70% of young adults are loyal to the brands they like. Brand preference is a form of self-expression for millennials, which means that we can be your best champions if we connect with you. Clearly illustrating what you offer and marketing it to us in the right channels will create loyalty, without needless embellishment from Grumpy Cat.
Myth #4: Young adults don’t like print
According to AdWeek, 94% of young adults surveyed said that they’ve looked at a magazine in the past 60 days, and 42% did so while chatting on Facebook. Developing an ad campaign targeting Gen Y with print media must be relatable and interactive. Most importantly, don’t forget a call to action. Even though all marketing response rates have dropped over the past nine years, print mail campaigns still have the best response rate because print leaves a deeper impression on the brain. This isn’t to say that print is always the best way to reach your audience. However, it shouldn’t automatically be discounted as an archaic marketing method that won’t reach millennials.
Myth #5: Gen Y completely ignores marketing
While my generation has grown up in a media-saturated culture and is pretty adept at scanning through ads, we don’t completely ignore marketing efforts. What we ignore is marketing that isn’t authentic or relatable. Transparency and authenticity are the keys when marketing to millennials in any channel.
Cause marketing is specifically effective with Gen Y for this reason. One out of three socially conscious young adults boycotts or supports a business based on the causes we care about. Three out of four young adults think more highly of a company that supports a social cause. Personally, I’m more receptive to brands’ marketing efforts IF I know that they are involved in social causes. It’s very likely that your credit union already supports local, social efforts, so use this involvement in your marketing efforts.
We’re not nearly as complicated as we are made out to be. Connecting with us isn’t difficult if it’s done in a way that is real, authentic, provides value, and is relevant to where we are at right now. Take stock of your millennial marketing efforts and see how many myths you have been buying into.