You'll hear it over and over—print is dead when it comes to marketing to millennials. But while digital dominates the audience's attention, traditional marketing efforts can still play a significant role in your bank or credit union's outreach to Generation Y.

You just have to be smart about your choices—here are some things to keep in mind.

Direct Mail

Your potential millennial customers aren't cold to mailers—in fact, they overwhelmingly still love to receive physical mail. A study from Quad/Graphics found that 82 percent of millennials actually read direct mail. Don't let this get you too confident, though—the trick is ensuring that reading doesn't lead to an immediate toss into the recycling bin. This is where your design comes in. Be different—choose stark imagery that jumps out and ensure your message doesn't get lost in flash or five-dollar words.

(Pro tip: Check out your local and regional competition—your desired customers and members are more than likely the same theirs. See what they're doing in their direct mailers and strive to set yourself apart from the sea of sameness.)


What worked in the past won't necessarily be a hard-and-fast method going forward. Garish headlines promising big savings and service won't necessarily be enough to grab attention from millennial drivers. And staged images of lenders in suits doesn't inspire "someone I can trust" as much as it perhaps used to. A study from Arbitron found that 72 percent of those viewing billboards stop in or make a decision to buy on the same trip. So your choice of design and copy is critical—your chance to hook a commuter is mere seconds. Don't waste it with jargon and stuffy folks dressed in their Sunday best. Make your moment count—say something of value that truly matters to an everyday millennial. And say it as briefly as possible!

Print Ads

Sure your newspaper placements might not as reap as many new customers or members into your financial institution as they did in the past. But print advertising still has an impact—particularly when the publisher in question has taken steps to diversify its distribution channels. The Journal of Magazine & New Media Research found that nearly half of millennials report continued readership of a print magazine on a regular basis. (This is in addition to more than a quarter that regularly engage with publications on social media and their websites, respectively.) 

Make design considerations for this multi-channel experience. Design print ads with more than platitudes and people triumphantly holding checkbooks. And consider their usability in a digital setting—how might a consumer interact with that same print ad on a tablet or a smartphone?

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