To Crack The Gen Y Code, Try Turning To Gen Y Staff

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Discovering ways to attract the Gen Y crowd to become faithful, revenue-generating members of your credit union seems to be shrouded in mystery these days.

• Do they or do they not use social media networks? If so, which ones?

• Are they really the champions of mobile banking? Is this the Holy Grail channel?

• Does an "infotaining" YouTube video on your website bedazzle them into signing up for an account or applying for a loan?

• Are they really receptive to prizes and contests? (Who isn't?)

There are a myriad of marketing strategies a marketer could leverage to get this elusive demographic to take the bait. But which one works? Or do they all work? How do you find out without spending a king's ransom on a plethora of promo ventures? Well, the answer just might be right under your nose: your staff.

The Answer May Be Staring You In The Face

Sometimes the most obvious answer is standing right in front of you the whole time. Nearly every CU has a younger population of staff members at the start of their careers. These eager-to-please staffers could be the perfect resource for your upcoming Gen Y marketing efforts.

They're young; they're hip, they don't need to struggle and squint to see who's texting them on their iPhone in that microscopic font. They can tweet with timed precision. They have a zillion friends on Facebook. And they can shoot, edit, and upload a video to YouTube faster than you can order and eat a six-inch turkey sub-with bacon-from Subway.

In other words, as young as they are they are already well versed in this online social world. Use them. They have all this inside Gen Y marketing knowledge and they probably don't even know it. It's time to unlock this treasure chest of data to enhance your young member messaging campaign. It's the smart thing to do-and probably cost-effective, too.

Chances are these 20-somethings can guide you in a number of areas when it comes to reeling in this highly sought-after target market that will ensure the future of your credit union. Here are a few tasks they can help you with (with supervision, of course):

• They can help you create and maintain a Facebook fan page.

• They can help you create and maintain your credit union's YouTube channel.

• They can help you create and maintain your Twitter account.

• They can help you create and maintain your credit union's blog: managing comments, brainstorming topics, and perhaps writing a few posts, too-all with your guidance, of course.

• They can even offer suggestions on new tech gadgets to use to attract Gen Y crowd-or any crowd for than matter. (Who isn't attracted to an iPad-especially when a young staffer comes to your workplace and says, "Hey, you can sign up to be a member right now on my iPad!" or "Hey, want to apply for a car loan on my iPad? It's easy and fast.") I'm sorry, but that's nothing short of cool.

Look Beyond The Scruffy Face

Suffice to say college student Ethan, your new teller who probably wears his pants a little too low, shaves every other day, and is still mastering the fine art of tying a tie, could be the answer to unlocking your Gen Y marketing mystery. Even grad school Savannah, your new loan app officer-who probably wears a bit too much eyeliner, can text, update her Facebook status, and tweet about her lame date last night on her Android-and fund a loan all at the same time-is probably a wealth of Gen Y info waiting to be tapped.

So the next time you're stumped on how to attract this all-important younger demographic, you may not have to go too far. Survey and interview your younger staff members and see who could be a viable resource-or even a future candidate for your marketing department. You may be surprised to see what's available just down the hall.

Ray Beauchamp is a co-founder of the On Your Way young adult outreach program. The program helps credit unions cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with young adults between the ages of 18 and 30.

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