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Millennials are about to move into their prime spending years

By Blog, Direct Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Millennials, Mobile Apps, Technology


One of the largest generations in history, millennials, is about to move into their prime spending years. How best can you get your products and services in front of the millennial generation?

When most people think of millennials they think digital. According to Forbes, it is not uncommon for millennials to use multiple tech devices. “87% of millennials use between two and three tech devices at least once on a daily basis.” Perhaps this is why millennials are always pictured with a mobile device in their hand.

With an estimated $200 billion in annually spending and more than $10 trillion during their lifetimes, millennials are the “holy grail” of consumers.

Determining the Best Marketing Channel

There are a number of marketing channels that can be used to reach customers. Online video, social media, and email are channels that seem best suited for an “online” digital generation. But traditional marketing channels should not be ignored. In fact, research show that millennials react better to traditional forms of marketing, like direct mail, than to online electronic marketing.

A 2016 USPS Marketing White Paper reported that:

  • 84% of Millennials take the time to look through their mail
  • 64% would rather scan for useful info in the mail than email
  • 77% of Millennials pay attention to direct mail advertising
  • 90% of Millennials think direct mail advertising is reliable

And when it comes to marketing and purchases:

  • 82% read direct mail they receive from retail brands
  • 57% have made purchases based on direct mail offers

The chart below demonstrates that despite their digital appearance, millennials read, open and interact with direct mail.

The Top 200 Direct Mail Service Providers

Direct mail gets your message in the door and into the consumer’s hand, where it can be seen, read, and felt and generate a response! That’s why a big part of what we do is focused on direct marketing. In fact, it’s so big we’ve just been named to the Bell & Howell Top 200 Direct Mail Service Providers list for 2017.

The reason direct mail works for millennials, and all other generations, is simple. As Nabeel Jaitapker, Senior Communications and Marketing Manager, Content Development and Demand Generation at Bell and Howell stated, “Direct mail marketing is getting more personal, more real, and more effective thanks to affordable high-quality digital printing and technologies that simplify integration into a multi-channel campaign.”

The USPS White Paper highlights some of the new technologies that can engage millennials with direct mail. They include:

  1. Incorporate multimedia and digital: Embed QR Code® barcodes, near field communication, or augmented reality to link your mailer to video and interactive materials on your website or social media sites.
  2. Keep your messaging succinct and easy to read. Provide bite-size pieces of information.
  3. Be authentic. Millennials distrust traditional advertising, so avoid hard-sell language. Use a straightforward, transparent approach.
  4. Use enhancements such as scent, sound, or texture to make your piece stand out.
  5. Help them feel good about their purchase. Millennials are compassionate and want to improve their world. Campaigns that donate a percentage of profits to a worthy cause or in some other way demonstrate corporate responsibility can resonate—if they’re seen as authentic.
  6. Use slang with caution, even if you are a Millennial. You risk turning your audience.

When you’re looking to engage millennials, or any other generation, you need a variety of proven marketing channels. A direct marketing campaign that includes mail, video, email and social media, is sure to accomplish your goal.

Going Mobile: Tips on reaching consumers when they’re on the go.

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Millennials, Technology

Going mobileMobile is still booming. People now spend more time on their smartphones than on their desktops and laptops combined. And the gap is widening. We are now officially past the smartphone tipping point. Now that users are in the mobile world, how do we get them into our mobile world? Here are a few tips to encourage them to download and use your mobile banking app.


Tip #1 — Keep it simple


Work with your IT team from the very beginning to make the process of downloading and using your banking app as painless as walking into one of your branches and opening up a checking account. On the other end of the process, train your in-branch team members as well as your online and telephone helpline staff on guiding your users through downloading and setting up your app.
These associates should know everything about this process just like they are expected to know everything about the other products you offer. The people jumping into a mobile banking app at this point aren’t exactly early adopters. They’ll need a little technology hand holding, and the financial institutions that do that will capture this end of the adoption bell curve.


Tip #2 — Get them watching


We all know how much it costs to process a check deposit at the branch level. If we can get our customers to utilize mobile bank deposits, we’ll be able to provide a more convenient service for a fraction of the price.


Enter video tutorials. By creating an easy-to-view, easy-to-follow video on how to deposit checks with your phone, you will send adoption rates soaring and ease up on all the time consumers spend on customer helplines.The phrase “Content is King” has run its course and is now about as trite and worn out as “You go girl”. But it became a cliche’ for a reason. And video content is the perfect way to train your new user on how to utilize their handy dandy new mobile app.


Tip #3 — Use every option


This moment is the perfect chance to leverage every marketing channel you have. When you launch an app shout it from every marketing rooftop you can find. Make sure you hit them with the formats they are most familiar with and then branch out to make a splash. After your launch, don’t abandon your promotion. Too many marketers make this mistake. Support your application with continuous marketing support.


Tip #4 — Keep it digital


By reaching out to your base with your digital channels, you’re one step closer to application download and adoption. Carve out a consistent and noticeable spot on your banking home page and use it to drive your customers to mobile. Use your social channels to promote the release of the app and then gently remind your audience of the mobile banking advantages.


Tip #5 — Don’t forget email


Recent studies have shown that 49% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. In this particular case, your email list is very useful because email from your financial institution gets opened. Once your customers do open your email make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Also, make sure there are direct links to the most popular app stores — iTunes and Google Play. Finally, make sure you’re tagging these links for tracking and analytics.


Tip #6 — Include snail mail


Yes, as outdated as this might sound, consider the audience. Reaching the percentage of your customers who have yet to start using your mobile banking app through a more traditional form of communication makes a lot of sense. Nothing crazy or flashy is required. Something as simple as a statement stuffer might work wonders and, at the very least, be a solid reinforcement of your message. For these reasons, this traditional form of advertising still has a useful place in your campaign.


Tip #7 — The human touch


What better place than your branch to walk people through downloading and using an app? If a member of your staff can make the life of a customer easier and more convenient, you’ve hit a home run. The branch is also a great place to promote your mobile banking with signage and collateral.



To sum it all up, the best branch your customer could have may not be a branch at all. The idea of banking convenience is being redefined one smartphone at a time. Get them to use your app and you’ve deepened the relationship that leads to a customer for life.



Keeping Track — ROI measurement tools to better assess your marketing


Advertising legend has it that in 1951 many major cities began to experience a massive loss in water pressure at the same time on the same night of the week. After studying this odd phenomenon, a wise water department official soon made the connection.


It was The Lucy Show.


The red-haired comedianne was so popular that nearly the entire city was quickly going to the bathroom and flushing their collective toilets all at the same time. And tracking advertising effectiveness (or lack thereof if your commercial ran at the beginning of the break) was born.


Oh, how things have changed! Gone are the Mad Men days of throwing a message out into the vast semi-empty world and waiting with bated breath to see if sales somehow magically went up. It was a golden era when marketing wasn’t trackable and in turn, marketers weren’t completely responsible. Media buying was less about direct results and more of a “spray and pray” discipline.


Define ROI? These guys couldn’t spell ROI.


You, on the other hand, market in a world where you need to show a substantial return on nearly every dollar.


Here are five tips that will help you become a more effective marketer:

  • Plan ahead. Put measurement into your marketing plan from the start. It’s vital and will help you make many of your channel decisions. And add a channel hierarchy into your plan. When you have multiple channels working together, the analytics on each channel can be blurred. But they should be. That means that your efforts aren’t siloed. Just manage those expectations in your plan with a clear channel hierarchy.
  • Use control groups. To determine true results, you’ll need to create a control group. With the growth of multi-channel digital marketing, this can be a difficult endeavor, but it’s worth the effort. Without a control group, your results can easily be criticized. Credit for success can be given to other outside events beyond your marketing’s influence. With solid marketing planning and campaign management tools, you can create and maintain a pure control group that will in turn maintain the integrity of your results.
  • Define your metrics. To gain a more accurate measurement of your marketing be sure to define the metrics of your successes. This step seems elementary, but when the metrics aren’t well defined, marketing results can be seen as “fuzzy”. Your results, on the other hand, need to be crystal clear. Making sure your metrics are defined and well communicated to all stakeholders will get you the detailed measurements your well-spent money deserves.
  • Give credit per channel. Each channel should have its set of measurements for the simple reason that every channel is different. So make the rules different. Rolling out a campaign means that certain channels will get the credit for a first impression, and other channels may get credit for a sale. They all work together but manage the results by the different definitions of success that each different channel will have.
  • Manage and communicate the results. With all the pieces of communication going out and the massive amounts of information from your analytics coming in, it may feel like you’re trying to drink from a fire hose. Automation is the key. Leverage the many great tools out there to automate your information gathering. Then make sure your results are effectively distilled and expertly communicated.


The numbers from your findings won’t mean a lot if they can’t be properly digested. Visual representation of your results through dynamic graphs and infographics will make your results shine. They will also make your findings easier to understand.

And there you are. By creating a plan, using control groups, metrics, separation and automation you can garner effective measurement ROI for your marketing. This practice is part art and part science. The more experience you have analyzing your results, the more accurate your results will be.


The opportunities are out there. By tracking the channels that lead to a successful sale, you’ll ensure your marketing is working. By making decisions and changes based off your analytics, you’ll be able to speak to the right person at the right time with the right message.


And that is the ultimate goal of all effective marketing.




Speak their language and their channel. 3 keys to Generational Marketing.

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Millennials

Generational MarketingLet’s open up with a big caveat. Grouping any person into a category can be dangerous. Broad conclusions like Millennials are glued to their phones, Boomers are brand loyal, and Gen Xers are cynical can lead to tired, stereotypical messaging.

There is some power that comes with focus. And breaking down your approach to fit your audience is just smart marketing. So let’s do just that. Here are three ways you can gain success through segmentation.

  1. Customize your offering to fit their lives.

Millennials are one of the more educated generations in recent history. As a credit union that means they’ll have more student loan debt than others. Educating them on how to deal with this and other debt will bring them closer to your brand.

Gen Xers can come to the party with a healthy amount of skepticism. An offer with a guarantee will build much-needed trust and show you’re communicating with transparency. Directness and honesty, a hallmark of all credit unions, will hold a lot of weight for this audience.

Baby boomers are often active and on the move. Pushing a loan application that’s fast and easy will be appealing to them. This ease of use can be a good rule of thumb while offering any product to this generation.

  1. Pick the right channel

Millennials are adept with their technology. An SMS or social media led campaign will hold a lot of traction for them. Email works as well but relying on one channel when reaching out to this or any audience is a no-no.

Gen Xers are easily reached through email. They will also frequently price check before making a decision so make your online offers easy to find and share. Surprisingly, direct mail also works for Gen Xers. A recent study shows that 74 percent of Generation X actively read and respond to direct mail.

Baby Boomers can surprise you to with their online media usage. Banner ads that lead to your website will gain you a successful response rate. Combine that with a strong print presence and you’ll pack a promising one-two media placement punch.

  1. Respond the way they’ll respond

Millennials feel most comfortable in the digital world. It’s not that they avoid human interaction, quite the contrary. They just want that interaction to be on their terms and through media that is most comfortable to them. Applying online or accepting a online chat with a loan officer to gain some more information will make for a very successful call to action.

Gen Xers often need research to validate their choices. Driving them to your website for more information will garner the best results. Granted, the sale won’t be as immediate but in the long run it will be more effective. Once they find the right information, they’ll commit with confidence.

Baby Boomers might start online and with print but their most effective call to action is by phone. They appreciate personal relationships and a direct conversation with an informed associate is the direct line for their business. Email is also an option with this generation who wants things quick and easy.

Let’s not blindly ignore the detractors.

Many pundits turn their nose up at marketing to specific generations. They claim that the definition of a Boomer or Gen Xer is constantly changing. Others would argue that these segments were created through shared experiences. In this new age of constant contact with the outside world they believe that everything is shared. And if everything is shared we all, in a sense, belong to one large diverse “generation”. Lastly, many remind us that age doesn’t necessarily dictate a life stage. Boomers can take out student loans and Millenials can research the difference between a traditional and Roth IRA. So see these options just as they are offered — as options.

If you choose to take these suggestions as potent generational rules, be sure to break them. While segmenting your marketing efforts by generation can garner results, there are rules that cross all generational lines.

When you have information readily accessible from multiple channels, when you seek to empower more than sell and when you reach your customer through their own self interests you’ll have marketing that works. And those practices will be effective no matter what you’re target’s age or affiliation.