WATERLOO, Canada (5/29/14)--When it comes to serving millennials, think pragmatism, not philosophy, and it wouldn't hurt to reinforce the difference between credit unions and other financial institutions.
Debunking the idea that millennials base their purchasing practices on values, the May 28 Digital Fieldwork report contends that credit unions aren't high on the list because of a lack of awareness and a perception that they are behind the times technologically.
"Millennials are very pragmatic and have high expectations around technology," said Laurie Paleczny, co-founder of Digital Fieldwork. "If convenience and functionality aren't there, they'll do business with banks, even if they do not always respect their values."
"Strangers in the Night: Credit Unions, Millennials and Digital Behavior" examined thousands of online data points for 18- to 34-year-olds from January to April.
Although millennials may have positive attitudes toward credit unions and negative ones toward banks, they still are confused about the differences. The question of "What is a credit union?" is asked on Google and user forums such as Reddit--most frequently by those considering switching from a bank.
Digital Fieldwork noted that millennials crowd source their financial advice on blogs and forums--areas that provide anonymity--not on Facebook, which is better for social engagement.
With more industry stakeholders than consumers as followers, Twitter is in effect an echo chamber for credit unions--40% of a credit union's followers follow at least one other credit union--the report noted.