How financial institutions should shape their Gen Z marketing strategy

If you were late to Millennial party, don't make the same mistakes Generation Z. The oldest members of this huge cohort are now 23. It's critical for banks and credit unions to understand Gen Z's views on money and banking, and the sharp differences from the generation just ahead of it.

Connecting with younger consumers — those born between 1995 and 2012 — as they are making decisions about their finances is a critical part of any bank’s entry-point marketing strategy. But Gen Z couldn’t be more different from their predecessors.

Unfortunately, many banks have fallen into the trap of assuming what worked for previous generations will continue to work. Or worse, categorizing attitudes and behaviors under broad stereotypes that lack depth or range of understanding, resulting in marketing that feels dated and may actually be harmful to the brand.

Now more than ever, it is imperative to do some insight digging and myth de-bunking to be effective. For brands to be successful, it’s critical to understand Gen Z’s journey and then market and message to them accordingly.

There are many distinguishing factors to understand. For example, their families are made up of a higher percentage of same-sex households, working moms, and stay-at-home dads. Like Millennials, Gen Zer’s are digital natives and want instant gratification when using the mobile devices they live with — within six-to-eight seconds, to be precise. Independent, ambitious, authentic and diverse are just a few adjectives being used to describe Gen Z. While Millennials are considered optimistic, Gen Z is more realistic. Growing up during the Great Recession of 2008 has this generation looking for great deals and valuing the dollar.


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