Look to New Tactics When Marketing to Younger Generations

Mark Arnold October 31st, 2017
Customer Engagement

Many financial institutions struggle to connect with young people. Often, it’s because they are still using the same methods that work for more mature audiences. That doesn’t work, because younger generations have different interests and spend their time doing different things than people older than them. Here are some tips and specific channels you should use to reach younger consumers.


According to YouTube’s own statistics, 18+ year olds in the United States spend more time watching YouTube than any television network. If you have teenagers or know one, you know they spend a good part of their lives watching videos online. In a survey conducted by Stageoflife.com, 77% of respondents said they subscribe to at least one YouTube channel. About 65% have shared a YouTube video on Facebook, Twitter and other social media and 80% have teachers who use YouTube in the classroom for educational purposes.

YouTube is the place to be if you are trying to get younger generations’ attention. They turn to YouTube for entertainment, information and advice. You can target your audience on YouTube according to zip code, age, interests and even what time they watch. If you’re financial institution is not on YouTube, get on YouTube.

Experience Marketing

The whole point of experience marketing is to create something memorable that gives consumers a point of reference to your financial institution when they think of that experience. Music festivals and concerts are a popular way brands use to connect with young adults. Despite their dependence on technology, young people want experiences they can share with their friends in person.

Experiences come in many shapes and sizes. Your financial institution might not have the big budget to host a concert. How about hiring a yoga instructor to conduct a class in your branch or somewhere on your branch property? Give them a turn in a money machine. Altra Federal Credit Union hosts a two-day cash camp for kids during the summers to focus on money basics in a fun environment. The camps were so popular that Altra added a one-day camps for older kids.

If you’re not creating memorable experiences at your financial institution, especially for younger generations, you risk becoming irrelevant.

Product and Service Reviews

Young adults turn to YouTube for advice. They also value the advice of their peers. Let your customers or members review your credit union on your website, Twitter or even Instagram. Make it a contest. Ask people to review your financial institution in exchange for an entry in a prize drawing. Give them an extra entry if they record their review on video. Ask them why they love your financial institution. Maybe you helped a young adult fund his college education or helped a teen buy her first car. Reviews and testimonials are a powerful form of advertising that not many financial institutions take advantage of.

Hulu and Pandora

Unlike traditional radio advertising, which gives you a general idea of who is listening but not a guarantee, Pandora’s customer base is 100% registered. It knows its members ages, genders, musical interests (which provide insight to other parts of their lives) home zip codes and more. You can do display ads or brief audio spots.

Hulu has taken a unique approach to advertising that appears to be working. It lets viewers choose which ad experience they prefer. Every time they choose their preferred ad, Hulu’s system is adding information to its database about the person connected to that specific login. As annoying as it can be to hear, “Which ad experience do you prefer?,” it gives consumers options while providing brands with more personalized consumer data.

If you want to attract the attention of younger generations, you have to go where they are. That place is either online or where they are making memories with friends. And remember, one of the benefits to reaching young people is also reaching their parents. Use that to your advantage.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.