It's easy to dismiss millennials as an unimportant generation to the financial industry. They're young and won't be the primary customer base for years, right?
But with more than 80 million people strong, millennials are essential to your overall marketing strategy. They're necessary in order to sustain future growth of your bank or credit union.
To get into the mind of this generation, it's important to keep a few key insights in mind.
Despite what you may assume of the "plastic generation," a majority of millennials don't own a single credit card. Among 18-to-29-year-olds, 63 percent don't have a credit card, according to Bankrate. That's compared to 35 percent of adults 30 or older.
Millennials also shy away from paper money more than previous generations. In fact, according to the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), a fourth of them typically carry less than $5 in cash at a given moment.
Millennials are by and large predisposed to dislike banks, particularly large ones. In fact, according to a study from Viacom unit Scratch, 71 percent would rather go to the dentist than the bank. In addition, 73 percent of millennials would rather utilize a non-financial brand such as Google, Amazon or Apple for financial services than a traditional, nationwide bank.
This generation is more apt to get financial advice from their parents than any other source - 62 percent, according to Bank of America, with friends being the next highest (29 percent). Parents yield a great deal of say over millennial financial decisions - a University of Oxford study additionally found that they are twice as likely to turn to their parents for financial advice than their banks.
While the millennial generation has a great deal of brand loyalty in a lot of sectors, banking isn't one of them. According to Accenture, millennials are twice as likely to switch banks in a 12-month span than other age groups, an average of one in five.
As it turns out, this younger generation's culture isn't about gratuitous spending. In fact, a 2014 retirement survey of full- or part-time employed millennials found that 70 percent started a retirement savings by age 22. This is compared to the Generation X average of 27 and baby boomer average of 35.
Millennials aren't necessarily attracted to recognizable or national brands when it comes to selecting a bank or credit union. An ICBA study found that a majority (54 percent) prefers working with locally owned and operated community banks.
Millennials are more inclined toward starting their own businesses than previous generations. An ICBA study found that 46 percent are interested in starting and running their own small business, compared to 34 percent for Generation X and 17 percent for baby boomers.
This generation's priorities when it comes to money are also very different from others'. According to Ipsos, millennials rank, in order, vacations, retirement savings and high-end electronics as highest priorities when it comes to spending and budget allocations.
To satisfy this generation of web-savvy consumers, you'll need to constantly enhance and improve your online presence. Accenture found that 72 percent of millennials utilize mobile banking and 67 percent of them feel their banks' online experience is inadequate.
Armed with this knowledge, go forth and market. Sure, millennials can be difficult to please, as made obvious in the 10 notions above, but they're essential to the future of your bank or credit union. They are your newest lifetime customers - start taking steps to cater to them now rather than later.
Sources: Bankrate, ICBA, The Millennial Disruption Index, Bank of America, USA Today, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch