It’s not enough to know what your members and prospective members want. Today, it’s just as important to know how they want it. For credit unions in pursuit of a relationship with the highly influential and growing Hispanic consumer segment, that how is most likely digital.
When designing a digital strategy targeting Hispanic Millennials, it’s important to consider both language and culture. While most are likely to speak Spanish in the home, Hispanic Millennials are proficient in English and comfortable switching back and forth between the two languages – sometimes within the same conversation. In terms of culture, Hispanic Millennials – 40 percent of whom were born outside the U.S. – feel strong connections to both their Hispanic and American cultures.
AT&T’s #BetweenTwoWorlds strategy offers an excellent example of marketers who understand this dichotomy. The telco company’s advertising and social media marketing campaign was designed to connect with bicultural Hispanic Millennials. Through a variety of marketing and communications tools, AT&T addresses the way in which bicultural Hispanic Millennials’ adeptly fuse their two identities. One of the first mobile providers to attempt this emotional bond between its brand and consumers, AT&T relies on authenticity to stand out from its competitors. As such, it is somewhat of a groundbreaker in Hispanic consumer marketing.
Millennial consumers of all cultures are nearly 2.5 times more likely than baby boomers to use their mobile phones for things like online shopping and in-store payments. When we look at the Hispanic culture specifically, we see an even greater desire to use mobile means to accomplish everyday tasks. In fact, 13 percent of Hispanics depend exclusively on their smartphones for Internet access because they often lack broadband connections at home.
For a great number, mobile access is less about devices, and more about community, as Glenn Llopis, CEO Center for Hispanic Leadership explains: “What started out as a convenient way to pick out a movie or a place to eat is evolving into something much more. Hispanics want to engage in a mobile experience that empowers them and gives meaning to their authentic voice. This is especially true of young Hispanics who want to change the conversation and influence the brands that they build relationships with – and mobile technology is their medium of choice.”
Of course, mobility and digital access involve more than a smartphone. Omnichannel strategies will be important when targeting Hispanic Millennials. Kenia Calderon, a 21-year-old El Salvador native who has been in the U.S. for 10 years, says being able to bank from each of her connected devices is important. “If I’m in class, for instance, and can’t use my phone, I’ll quickly open a browser on my laptop and make my loan payment.” Calderon is among the 53 percent of Hispanics who say they are regular users of mobile banking services. She also reports excitement for mobile payments like Android Pay and more advanced banking apps that promise to make her life that much easier.
However, Calderon insists credit unions should aim to strike a balance between real-world and digital channels. That’s because face-to-face interaction, especially with staff who understand them, is critically important to young people like her. Many young Hispanics are not only managing finances for themselves; they are also leading the way for their siblings and even parents. This can create the kind of challenges that require more hands-on guidance, financial education and in-person attention.
U.S. Hispanics are one of the most financially underserved segment on the radar of credit union marketers. This is precisely why so many have designed specific growth strategies around Hispanic membership. Those strategies are working, but they will have to evolve if credit unions are to nurture the relationships they’ve worked so hard to build. Digital products, services and marketing will help move that critical evolution forward.