“These kids today…….” Is a phrase often uttered when discussing marketing strategies for reaching the Millennial Generation. “These kids today require different approaches.” “We have to reach these kids today.” “These kids today are so different.” The problem with that phrase? These kids today are having kids.

That’s right: consumers from the Millennial Generation are becoming parents. And that is a game changer for marketers. So what can credit union and banking professionals do to reach this critical demographic? You can read Millenials with Kids by Jeff Fromm and Marissa Vidler. The subtitle notes that this group is extremely powerful and different. And their book offers extremely powerful and different marketing approaches.

The authors note, “Many Millennials are parents now. Millenials are growing up and with that come more responsibilities. Now one in four Millennials is already a parent and that number is growing every day. As parents, Millennials are not changing their lifestyles to fit parenthood but are instead changing parenthood to fit their lifestyle.”

Below are three principles from the book and how we can apply them in the financial services world. For the remaining suggestions (and there are plenty of them), be sure to pick up a copy of Millennials with Kids.

(1) Millennial parents are not a homogeneous cohort

“Success will come to those who recognize and embrace this generation’s heterogeneity,” the authors note. They go on to identify multiple sub-segments of the Millennial parents: Family First, Style and Substance, Under Stress, Image First and Against the Grain.

  • Application: When creating your brand plan and strategic plan, don’t have a target audience that says “Millennial Generation.” That is way too broad. Instead, dive deeper into the subsets that match best with your unique value proposition. Maybe it’s Millennial moms, DINKs (dual income, no kids) or one of the segments the authors identified above.

(2) Millennial parents are pragmatists

When it comes to their lifestyle and brands, the Millennial Generation is focused on practical application. They have lost faith in institutions (including financial institutions). Fromm and Vidler cite a survey that says only 10% of Millennials have a great deal of confidence in their bank. They go on to say, “If there is one overriding lesson….it’s that they are no longer as enigmatic as we once thought and there is a newfound pragmatism about them.”

  • Application: Communicate what is real and authentic about your credit union or bank. Yes, cut the B.S. Where possible, show what a solid community citizen you are. Don’t just say you make a difference in the community but demonstrate practical examples of how you are doing it.

(3) Millennial parents are focused on time

“The new currency is time,” the authors say. They note how we communicate our marketing messages is radically different than just a few years ago. From Twitter to YouTube to Instagram, it’s all about communicating in short and visual messages.

  • Application: Cut the copy. More than likely, you are writing and saying way too much about your financial institution in your marketing pieces. One of the best ways to avoid this trap is to conduct a marketing audit. This will help ensure your pieces are connecting with this critical younger market.

Those are just a few insights from the book on how to market to Millennials with kids. This generation has changed technology, entertainment and business. And now they are changing parenting. Which means you’ll have to change your marketing techniques as well.

You cannot market to the Millennial parent the same way you marketed to the Gen. X or Baby Boomer parent. If you want to learn what adjustments you should make to your marketing strategy with this unique group, then I highly suggest you read Millenials with Kids.

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