Although youth development is critical for growth, most credit unions do not have a comprehensive generational marketing plan. That's surprising when you consider that credit union memberships nationwide are growing older every year.
The average member age is now 47 1/2. If your credit union's average age is lower, you're ahead of the trend. But if it is not significantly lower, and your youth growth rates are not significantly higher than the national averages, you should make attracting younger members a priority.
You need to develop a Youth Marketing Plan strategy that includes the necessary research and marketing tactics. Many credit unions have not dedicated nearly enough resources to this goal. When they do amazing results can be achieved. Here's a look at what should be included in a plan to attract and retain younger members.
- Membership Base Analysis: Review your current membership and compare it to the national and peer group growth averages to determine where you stand today, and establish a baseline for future analysis. Watch it closely and monitor your growth.
- CRM/MCIF Data Analysis: Analyze your member product/service relationships as they apply to your younger membership segments. Getting them to join is just the first step; they must actually use the services you offer and then a focused effort must be made to retain them as members as they move on in life.
- Youth Marketing Efforts: Review your past, and current youth marketing efforts to, measure your success levels and to identify the additional marketing necessary to attract more members. If you are not attracting young member you are not doing enough.
- Identify Key Youth Goals: Identify your credit union's short and long-term youth development goals. If you donï¿½t start now, in 5 years you will be way behind your competitors.
- Product/Service Market Shares: Calculate and compare member product/service market shares to peer group and national statistics. Establish a baseline for future comparisons.
- New Product/Service Considerations: Review your current products and services to identify any new opportunities that will attract younger members and maximize their credit union relationships as they mature. Make sure your services fit their lifestyle. With this group one size does not fit all.
- Campaigns, Promotions and Programs: Identify and outline the necessary marketing elements to attract younger members and achieve your credit union's goals. Marketing elements should be flexible so they can be rapidly adjusted based on market conditions and new trends.
- Itemized Budget: Establish a detailed budget that includes all marketing elements for the entire year. It will take money to grow this segment. Consider it an investment in your future because without younger members many credit unions may not have a future.
- Implementation Schedule: Include a marketing implementation calendar with project start and due dates and stick to them -- No excuses!
- Personal Relationships: Find a person(s) that will work on building relationships with youth on a full-time basis. There are many amazing opportunities to connect with this group but it will take time. These connections can be made in person, online, or by phone, but they must be made.
- Innovation Is Critical: "Same Oldï" is not enough. Try new ideas and approaches to reaching this group. To attract younger members, it's important to understand how they look at the world and focus on what they like and what matters to them. Although that may not sound like rocket science, today's youth are more sensitive to marketing than you might think. They are very skeptical and initially look at many product and service claims as hype.
To assist credit unions with this goal, Marketing Partners will be introducing the most innovative program to attract young members to ever hit this industry in early 2009. Musicstream LIVE will combine live concerts sponsored by local credit unions in high schools, colleges and community events. Many of these concerts will be streamed live to the MSL website. This site will allow visitors to interact live with each other and will contain an ongoing schedule of interviews and live entertainment content.
With music being the main tool to get the attention of young potential members, musicstream LIVE will tactfully "cross-educate" visitors about money management, financial literacy and credit unions. A variety of major national organizations and CU industry companies are partnering in this initiative. MSL is in the final stages of development so stay tuned for details.