Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: baby boomers (page 1 of 2)

Millennials (And More) In A Time Machine

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Market to Millenials! Market to Gen Z! Are we repeating what has been done time and again?

We tend to look at generations as a snapshot in time. Let me explain: The oldest Gen Z (or whatever we call those youngsters with no knowledge of pre-Internet days) is not more than 20 or so, at the most. Millenials are in their 20s to mid-30s. Gen Xers are what we would call middle age. Boomers are close to or enjoying retirement (or lifelong work). Their parents are focused on the “golden years”, as we would say.

But what if we looked at them all from the same perspective, at the same point in time for each?

Let’s take a Millenial, Gen Z, Boomer, and Gen X and put them in a room together. The catch: They are all 25. Ok, we’ll say the room is bigger on the inside to address any temporal crises this may cause. So we have a gathering of identically-aged people, yet they are each from a different generation. The Boomer’s “present” is 1975, the Gen X is living in 1995, our Millenial is from this era, while the Gen Z representative has been plucked from 2025. Once we get over those awesome pants the Boomer is wearing, it’s down to business.

We could imagine asking them the same questions posed in publications today. “What can a financial institution do to appeal to your generation better?” “What are you looking for in a banking experience?” “Does feedback from friends and family influence your decisions, and in what way?”

Leave the social media, mobile banking, and other technology-based solutions on the table. These are tools, not strategies. Focus on the responses, the emotional aspect of decision-making. I wouldn’t be surprised if their answers are similar. Yes, feedback from friends is important (despite needing to actually call, write, or visit for some of our time-travelers). Having a safe and secure experience is essential (whether it be chip cards and a secure mobile app or a branch representative who respects your privacy). Appealing to all of them would be based in education, convenience, cost, and service. For me, a great customer service experience is #1 when choosing a business. Would anyone argue this has changed? Whether I’m corresponding by Pony Express or being guided through FaceTime, I expect top-notch service that respects me as a member.

We put a lot of time and effort into learning what it takes to appeal to the latest generation. I agree this is important. However, why reinvent the wheel, so to speak, if this task has been done time and again? How did you appeal to 25 year-olds 25 years ago? 50? I’d be willing to bet the fundamentals are unchanged. It’s just the means.

This sounds like a conversation for your upcoming board meeting. Ask your long-serving members to think back. Dig into the archives and pull up marketing plans from 1975 (or further!). What can you learn from this exercise? Have you been appealing to Millenials all along?

Hey, what’s old is new. NES Classic, Pokemon GO…even Tamagotchi has an app. Take your own old. It may just work great in today’s world.

Image credit: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/tardis/images/6289809/title/tardis-space-photo

Give Your Card A Security Update

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Update 7/12/16: An earlier version of this article claimed Samsung Pay did not use tokenization. They do, my mistake! Corrected. (CUInsight version not updated)

A family friend was in town this past week. She is part of the Boomer generation, so, a user of new tech, but semi-begrudgingly. At one point, we discussed how her Android phone supported mobile payment. “It’s easier and more secure for you!” I explained to her. “You’ll never need to go through the hassle of getting a new card number again!” Her response? “Yeah, still wouldn’t bother. I’d prefer to just swipe.”
This is the type of apathy you’re facing. She didn’t grow up in a world of data security breaches, and considers a reissued credit card “par for the course”. It’s not that she doesn’t believe me when I tell her that mobile payment is vastly better. She just doesn’t care.

Maybe I framed it wrong. As we all have, using terms like tokenization instead of just calling it what it is: A security update for your credit card. So what is tokenization (To-Ken-I-Zeh-Shun)? Besides a big, scary word, of course. It’s always thrown around when mobile payments are discussed, but a recent survey shows understanding is lacking. Nearly a third of people admit to not knowing what it means and almost half say that it wouldn’t encourage them to use mobile payments. My interpretation: That latter group doesn’t grasp what it is either, but are afraid to admit it. So, what is it and why should you care? Tokenization represents how your card number is handled during the transaction. Still fuzzy? That’s ok.

Here’s how a normal purchase works (greatly simplified and leaving out payment processor):

1. Swipe at terminal (or type number on computer).
2. The number on the front of your card goes to the merchant.
3. Merchant asks credit card issuer (your credit union or bank) if the number is good.
4. Bank or credit union looks at number and gives a “yay or nay”.
5. Merchant keeps your name and card number so they know who you are when you buy again.

As you can see, the number on your card passes through multiple hands, and even stays with some. While your financial institution guards the number, others along the line may not. This is how major breaches occur. Bad actors break into these non-bank systems and steal the list of names and numbers, then sell them on the black market. Sometimes they lie in wait, gathering new numbers for months before anyone even notices. Then, the numbers are sold or posted online, and that’s when your frustrations begin.

Here’s how a tokenized mobile payment works:

1. When you add a card to your phone’s “wallet”, it asks your bank or credit union to verify your identity.
2. Your issuer then creates a new number just for mobile payments (which you never see).
3. Upon paying with your phone, a fingerprint is required to show it’s really you.
4. The phone then uses your “mobile payment” number to make another one-time-use number and sends that to the merchant.
5. The merchant asks your bank or credit union if this number is good, but learns nothing from it, since it will never be used again.

The number on your card never leaves your possession. Best part of this? If every one of those systems was hacked, your card number would still be safe. The issuer just makes a new “mobile payment” number for you, and that’s it. No canceling accounts, changing numbers, or mailing cards. In fact, it might happen without you ever knowing. Think of it like a security update for your credit card.

Tokenization isn’t scary. Swiping your card the old way is. Your credit union put a lot of work into supporting the mobile payment systems…growth will remain stagnant if only 1/4 see the value. Help your members live a safer financial life and spread the knowledge!

5 Ways to Better Budget for Tuesdays

You’ve read a whole lot of “5 Ways to” posts around the web. And I’m sure they were all helpful. But this is the last one you need, for finance, at least. Yep, I’ve figured it out. The ultimate congregation of brainpower, diligent research, and sheer brawn comes together in this list. Not only will my readers become instantly wealthy, they’ll meet the person of their dreams and join together to purchase that island they’ve always wanted. Because they followed these five tips.

Oh, you want to see them? Sure, you could scroll down and skip all this amazing writing, but then you’d miss out on exclusive reveals of industry statistics and trends. (Disclaimer: This post will contain no exclusive reveals of industry statistics or trends. But who reads disclaimers?) Hey, did you know that people who spend money they don’t have find themselves in rough situations? Yes, I spent 20 years living in the Everglades in order to bring you that information. Let me tell you, the mosquitoes are bad, but, they pay their debts.

During that time, I was also investigating the idea of generational gaps in financial literacy. Turns out, Filene Research was doing the same thing, and likely with much better controls than mine (alligators represented Boomers, escaped pythons slithered in for Gen X, and ospreys flew by for Millenials). While all I learned was that alligators sometimes get eaten by pythons (unsuccessfully) and ospreys respond to your call (also, they have really sharp talons), Filene generated a useful study. Their results told us about how poorly various groups (separated by age, sex, ethnicity, and economic class) understand basic financial concepts. But who wants to hear what we’re bad at? You know what we rock in? Spending. A-mer-ic-a! A-mer-ic-a!

The average American household carries $7,400 in credit card debt. Counting only the ones who have debt of any kind, that average rises to $15,863. Mmm, interest payments. I’ll give you a hint: That costs a lot more than just the debt.

So, you’ve stuck with me this long, and I do appreciate it. But that’s only because you know this is the last of the 5 Ways lists you’ll ever need. And now it’s almost over. What will you do with all your newfound time after this post is complete? Learn to play an instrument? Speak another language? The possibilities are endless. Except for poorly managing your finances, because we have that fixed.

What are my ultimate 5 Ways to Better Budget for Tuesdays? (You have my permission to use it for Thursdays also, but absolutely not Wednesdays!)

  1. Spend less money.
  2. Make more money.
  3. Save more money.
  4. If you owe someone money, pay it back.
  5. If you can avoid owing someone money, do that.

Go ahead, share them, far and wide. Credit me, or don’t. It’s the information that matters.

You’re welcome, America.

Rationale behind this post: The discussion on why financial literacy is so bad in the United States can be traced to a lack of education in traditional schooling. Not a surprise. However, later in life, people are faced with countless advice sources, from articles to newscasts, to “5 Steps” posts similar to this. Some of these offer productive advice (which can be simplified into the previous list), but many create more problems than they solve. I wanted to poke fun at the near obsessive sharing of these types of lists with a tongue-in-cheek discussion. The funny part? If you’re reading this, you are among a privileged few. Those who never got this far must be thinking, “Gosh, that CU Geek is a real jerk!” Must be fun to get distracted so quickly.

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