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Tag: gen x

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?

Snapshots in Time

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 mid-20s to late-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?

Imagine Your Favorite Time Machine…

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?”

Distinguish Between Tools and Strategies

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.

Service is Service is Service

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.

Board Meeting Agenda Material!

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

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.

Generation “They’re So Different From Us!”

Which generation do you think I’m referencing? Millenials? Gen Y? (which seems to have been absorbed into the former, sadly) Baby Boomers?

All of them.

It doesn’t matter how old you are; if you’re reading this, you know what I mean. When you were younger, people your parent’s age proclaimed, “kids these days have it so easy.” I bet you heard them continue, “they’re entitled, don’t want to work hard like we did, and just look at everything as a way to have fun! The world and workplace will never be the same.” I’m pretty sure this was followed by a, “get off my lawn!” and an exasperated, “garumph.”  An Egyptian tomb dating back thousands of years had an inscription (paraphrased): “We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control.”

Put aside the leaps in technology and communication/connectedness for a moment. How different, really, is any generation from another? Each wishes to make their mark, improving quality of life while minimizing labor. The Baby Boomers looked to their parent’s generation. A group of people which fought in two world wars, struggled through a global depression, and still managed to settle down into the largest growth spurt of human history. Then, they provided an unmatched quality of life for their families. What do you think one of such history would say after seeing the first hippie?

Those earliest of Baby Boomer parents…poor, poor souls. Can you imagine their faces seeing the rise of goth, punk…boom boxes? Generation X must have seemed as foreign as the Martians from War of the Worlds. “They will never understand the hard work it took to get here, and now they are just wasting their lives listening to, what is it, metallic music?” Yet Gen Xers have adapted to and helped shape our global workplace.

The buzzword of the decade in generation-speak is “Millenials”. Since there is no clear definition on who these always-connected and entitled brats even are, let’s just say anyone born after the early 80s. See? You can make such comments for any group. Though I’m no brat.

Alright, Millenials. From what I have been told, they are all ADD suffering, helicopter parent raised, technology-addicted youngsters for whom the status-quo doesn’t work. They aren’t receptive to traditional marketing, nor do they wish to work in a typical workplace. Given they, like generations before them, are the first to adopt new technologies, of course the “old” strategies are less effective. But this isn’t something new. The largest difference is the degree of change…in the past 20 years, we have seen a revolution of global interaction and communication unlike any in human history. Where the jet age enabled affordable travel near and far (and, ho, so fast!), the information age brought that exchange up to the speed of light.

So how can any of this help your strategies?

Look forward. Plan how your services can be made simpler, faster, and more focused to each member. Make them fun, usable no matter where you are, and always retain the human touch. And tell your members, all the time, because people of all ages have very short-term memories, and we might forget about all the great things you can do for us.

Continue the story in a new post: “Millenials Love Technology…Everybody Knows That”!

Image courtesy of http://www.startrek.com/uploads/assets/articles/voyage-home.jpg

Egyptian quote attributed to Buckminster Fuller in his book, “I Seem to Be a Verb”

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