A common mistake in targeting GenY

For a variety of reasons, Gen Y is a very attractive demographic for financial institutions.  If you can get them young, they are likely to stay a long time.  And over that time, you have countless opportunities to cross-sell a variety of products and services.  But advertisers often make one common mistake when attempting to target them.   In actuality, Gen Y is made up of two distinctive groups – and their needs are entirely different.  Understanding these differences, and how your products are relevant to them, can mean the difference between money well spent and money down the drain.

When you want to target GenY, you’re really thinking age 18-34, right?  Instead, you need to be thinking about age 18-24 and age 25-34.  Gen Y.1 is the first group and is made up of primarily 18-24 year olds who are financially inexperienced and are not committed to any single financial institution. The second group is Gen Y.2, and encompasses a slightly older group who are more mature, and more interested in financial products and services.

Let’s take a look at how the two groups differ.   For starters, Gen Y.1 consumers are more often underbanked than Gen Y.2 consumers. Their money is more likely spent on pursuing an education, while Gen Y.2 often have full time jobs. Those in Gen Y.1 usually have someone else managing their finances, while those in Gen Y.2 are more often in charge of their own funds. Looking at this, a common pattern is noticed: Gen Y.1 is at a different financial maturity state than Gen Y.2. To earn the loyalty of young consumers, financial institutions need to design products that are both suited for the fiscally juvenile Gen Y.1 and their more responsible counterparts in Gen Y.2

If they’re so different, how can a financial institution create campaigns that appeal to both the younger and older sub-sections of Generation Y? For the younger half, start appealing to them as soon as possible and worry less about whether they are profitable or not. Market products like prepaid cards, student loans, and checking accounts to them (and their parents) as early as possible. Design mobile banking for speed and simplicity, like considering an app that provides the ability to check balances without entering a password each time. Or add support for financial co-management tools such as giving parents the ability to oversee the Gen Y.1 consumer’s account, receive alerts, or easily transfer money.

What about services that attract Gen Y.2?   This group of consumers appreciate having a wide variety of tools and actions at their disposal when it comes to online banking. Since they are often learning how to break away from financial co-dependence, tools that help manage and create budgets can become a real advantage when selling to Gen Y.2. Providing online and in-branch financial helpers will teach them to become better purchasers of financial services and products for the future. Another aspect of Gen Y.2 is that, unlike the younger consumers, they have a need for products like home loans and brokerage accounts. By acting as a trusted teacher and provider, you can go a long way to earning Gen Y.2’s loyalty and long-term trust.

In December 2013, The Consumer Banking Study was completed which highlighted the factors that Gen Y respondents found attractive in a financial institution. These include fine-tuned mobile banking sites and applications, customizable rewards tied to their checking account, cash back options, having a recognizable brand, and local banking.  Often, Generation Y consumers labeled customizable reward options as “somewhat important” with examples being online shopping credits, loan discounts, and free checks. The study also said found that a recognizable banking brand is more important to Gen Y adults than to anyone in Gen X or the Boomers. Banking locally was also fairly popular with Gen Y. However, some responses from Gen Y who don’t bank locally say they prefer big banks because of conveniences they don’t expect to be provided at community banks or credit unions.  Therefore, it’s important to stay on top of changing technology, and make sure your services are as quick and convenient as possible.

It’s no secret that Gen Y is a valuable audience to attract.  But understanding your audience is at the heart of every successful campaign.  Understand the two groups that make up Gen Y, and you’ll find that your marketing efforts will be much more successful.



Six tips to effective online advertising

Every time you turn around, the Internet is offering more possibilities to advertise and target efficiently.  But how do you know what is right for your campaign?  And how do you ensure that your digital dollars are being used wisely?  Here are six tips to make sure your money spent online gets the most bang for the buck.

1.     Make sure you’re targeting the right audience.  I think we reiterate this in almost every article, but it’s one of the key factors in all effective advertising, and it is one often forgotten. It’s critical to know who is most likely to buy the product your advertising, or identify who you most want to reach. These days, you can easily target geographically, demographically, by behavior, and more.

You can target people who are within 1 mile of your branch, or send them a mobile message in a home improvement store.   You can retarget people who’ve been to your site.  Or you can send out direct mail, and scrub the list to target the same folks by email.  But at the end of the day, all of these smart tactics only work if you’ve first identified and narrowed your best target audience. Read More

tv advertising

Is TV advertising down the tubes or taking off?

The digital age has taken its toll on mass media vehicles, to say the least.  Newspaper and magazine readership is down significantly.  Radio stations are struggling for revenues.  And many marketers have been wondering about TV advertising with so many DVRs in play, as well as competitors like NetFlix. But this year, the broadcast media has some good news.  Due to new technology available soon, TVs will be able to capture what audiences are watching, and relay it to advertisers via the web, opening doors to new ad revenues. Read More

Six reasons your advertising might not be working

These days, we all wear a multitude of hats in our daily jobs.  And with technology and the industry changing around us at record speed, it’s easy to overlook a thing or two.  But at the end of the day, it’s results that count.  So here are six common mistakes that can mean the difference between advertising that performs, and advertising that simply chews up your budget.

Reason #1 – You assumed the consumer would read your ad.  You spent good money to create it and place it, so of course they’ll read it, right?  Wrong.  Remember that the average consumer sees thousands of ads in a day.  They are not looking for yours.  So if isn’t special, or relevant, or memorable, or well placed, it will easily be overlooked.  And your dollars are down the drain.

So how can you be sure your ad is the shining star?  Begin by viewing it from someone else’s perspective besides your own.  Imagine your next-door neighbor — would he or she be diverted from the news by your print or banner ad?  Does it stand out on the page?  Does it offer something that’s relevant and meaningful to them?  Does it offer a benefit they can’t easily get somewhere else?  Or is it so creative that they are simply compelled to see what it’s about?

If you answered no to most of the questions, it’s time to take another look.  If the ad is in the newspaper, the layout should help it stand out among the clutter.  Many people make the mistake of filling up the space in a print ad — but lots of white space does a much better job in a crowded publication.  Banner ads are trickier, because there is so little room.  But bright colors and simplicity can also place a role here.  And be sure the message of your ad is in the final frame of a web banner — once it stops playing and becomes static, you still want readers to see what you are selling.

If you or your ad agency has done a good job creatively, be sure the message of the ad offers something of benefit.  You’ll simply turn consumers off with an ad draws them in with the creative, and ultimately lets them down in the payoff.

Mistake #2.  Not understanding your target audience.  A good example here is Millennials.  This is a highly sought after group by financial institutions, as well as a variety of other industries.  Advertisers make the mistake of using the wrong media or messages to attract this elusive audience.  For instance, we’ve all seen television campaigns for mobile banking directed at the group.  But any research into Millennials will tell you that they watch little television.  Rather, you should consider where you can find them, and make sure you are there, too.  Consider things like fun, informative seminars about saving and car buying, and use social media to reach them.  If you’re after a teen’s first checking account, think about targeting parents around high school graduation.  And don’t forget to make the message relevant.

Sure, mobile banking is important to this group, but quite frankly, mobile banking isn’t enough to draw them in.  They just simply won’t bank somewhere that doesn’t offer it.  Messages about convenience, ease, freedom and saving money will be much more appealing.

Mistake #3.   Assuming your competitors know something you don’t.  Be assured, they don’t.  Advertisers often get caught up in what their competitors are doing.  Just because the bank across the street is running ads on Facebook doesn’t mean that you should, too.  In the vast amount of cases, your competitor is no more knowledgeable than you.  They may simply have been the victim of a great salesperson, and may not be seeing the results they hoped.  Even if they’re a friendly competitor you lunch with, don’t assume that they’re giving you all the facts.  If your campaign were not generating results, would you be telling everyone?  Of course not!

You will only muddy the waters of your own campaign by getting caught up in what others are doing.  If you are sticking to the right steps – setting clear goals, understanding your target audience, creating compelling ads, and using the appropriate media, you won’t go wrong.

Mistake #4.  Using the wrong tools for the job.  These days, it’s difficult and time-consuming to keep up with all the opportunities for connecting with consumers.  Technology is changing rapidly, and every time you turn around, another new avenue exists.

Some advertisers get caught up wanting the shiny new toy.  Others are too comfortable with what they’ve done in the past.  Neither of these directions is going to help you achieve the best results.  Rather, you need to look at each tool objectively against your goals and demographics, and determine whether it’s really a good fit.

As stated earlier, television is not the best choice for primary media against a younger target.  But it’s an excellent choice for building broad awareness about how convenient you are, or how great your customer service is.  If you only have a small number of branches, remember that the majority of your checking customers will come from a 3-mile radius.  So look at media that can be geo-targeted to your branches.  If you’re considering venturing into a new media, try testing it with a smaller budget first.  And that leads us to the next common error.

Mistake #5.  Not tracking results.  Of course, it’s difficult to track everything you do.  But you should set some sort of basis for measurement, and keep up with it.  Online advertising is easily trackable — as long as you take the time to track it.  It’s not enough to look at CPC reports from Adwords or the web sites you’ve purchased.  They only tell you how many people clicked on your ad.  Do you know what happened to them after that?  Did they become a new customer?  Why or why not?  These are things you should know.

What about traditional media?  We all know it isn’t as easy to track.  But there are certain things that will help.  For instance, you can track specific promotions by giving a coupon code that must be presented at the branch or online.

Mistake #6.  Choosing an agency with the wrong skill set.  The right agency relationship is critical to your success.  There are all types of companies out there that provide advertising support, but they can be very different.  The lines have become blurred even more with the explosion of digital and social media.  There are digital agencies that will also do traditional advertising.  There are PR firms that also claim to handle your advertising needs.  But if 90% of your budget is devoted to advertising, and only 10% to PR, why would you hire a PR firm?  The PR firm will likely outsource your entire advertising campaign, and you won’t receive the experience or consistency you deserve.

Take a look at what your specific media mix is, and find the agency most appropriate.  Any reputable advertising agency these days is experienced in web site design, digital campaigns, and social media strategies, along with traditional media.  Hire a digital agency for special needs your agency can’t handle, or if the majority of your budget is spent in digital (unlikely for most financial institutions.)

Just as important is to look for an advertising agency with experience in your industry.  Ask to see sample work or case studies that are relevant to your situation.  When you hire an agency that has been successful with other similar clients, you won’t be wasting time or money while an inexperienced team gets up to speed and learns the ropes.  And you significantly increase your chances for your own success.

There’s nothing more rewarding than a job well done.  On your next go-around, remember the basic steps.  Define your goals.  Know your target audience.  And create compelling, relevant, well-targeted messages.  Finally, avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to more efficient campaigns and outstanding results.





advertising box

Simple marketing that gets results

Is it possible that four simple words could increase the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts?  Absolutely.  We’re talking about four simple words that are easy to implement, and could boost customer satisfaction for your product or service.   Quite simply, they are “How am I doing?” Read More


Advertising to the Millennials

Many advertisers are interested in attracting consumers between the ages of 18 and 34.  While this can be a very profitable audience for marketers, it can be a rather complicated and elusive audience to convert. Read More

Promotion gets a failing grade

Recently, I received a “thank you” from ATT in the mail.  It was a $10 Starbucks gift card.  A nice thought, I remember thinking, and set it to the side.  A week or so later, I grabbed it to head out to Starbucks and realized they hadn’t actually sent the gift card.  I had to call ATT, let them thank me in person, and then I would be given the card.

It was beginning to seem like less of a thank you.  But it really went downhill when I picked up the phone.  I had to go through a series of prompts, and I was then put on hold for several minutes.  I found myself thinking what a lousy advertising promotion this was.   And who was responsible?  What were they thinking?  Anyone who deals with ATT already knows that their customer service is terrible.  Why would they want to highlight that?  Why take a customer who is otherwise doing well and put them through a miserable phone experience?

When the representative came on the line, she thanked me for being a customer for so many years and asked if I would prefer to have the coupon emailed or sent by mail?  Well, email of course – then I could use it before I forgot about it.  Which is when she told me the email would take 6 weeks.  Mail would take 12.  It doesn’t get any worse than this, does it?

There are a lot of lessons here.  Make sure you have clear goals with your promotions.  Know your product well, along with its negatives.  And never, ever highlight your negatives.  Certainly don’t shove your customer’s face in them.

Do you need an app?

In a recent meeting, a client asked about creating an app.  He had seen a competitor offer an app, and therefore wondered if his company should have one, too.

At the end of the day, an app is no different than any other tool in your advertising toolbox – whether it’s traditional media, a digital advertising campaign, website retargeting, etc.  You first have to look at your goals, as well as your budget. Read More


Advertising an Old Brand in New Ways

Swiss inventor Georga deMestral first registered the trademark for Velcro 55 years ago.  And of course, we all know it became the biggest breakthrough material in clothing since the zipper.  Since then, it’s used by manufacturers to hold various items together, and the world has accepted its place in every day life.  So how do you breathe new life into a brand like this? Read More


Is a Bigger Agency a Better Agency?

News of the Omnicom-Publicis rumor got me to thinking of my big-agency days.  I spent many years as Creative Director of a large international agency and oh, it did have its perks.  There were enormous budgets for TV commercials.  And fancy hotels.  And limousines.  There were nice benefit packages and pension plans.  Read More