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Generational Patterns that Financial Services Marketers Should Consider

Nov 15, 2022   |   SEO
Generational patterns for Financial Marketers

The rapid development of technology and shifting social priorities has resulted in generational patterns between Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z that can be useful to consider when using age demographics as segmenting criteria.  

Research from BAI indicates clear preference patterns in how customers from the different generations want to engage with banks and credit unions and achieve their financial goals.  

Learning how to adapt to these patterns, preferences, and technology can help credit unions better engage their customers and attract prospective bankers across the different generations.  

Here is what you need to know about the banking habits of the different generations. 

Financial services preferences of the different generational groupings

Gen Z 

Gen Z

Generation Z is the latest generation to come of age. While this generation currently comprises those under the age of 24, a growing percentage of them have begun to reach adulthood and take control over their own financial futures. A number of people in this age group report being financially independent as well, which means that credit unions do not want to leave them behind as they design their marketing and service campaigns. 

One of the defining characteristics of Gen Z is that they have been entirely raised in the digital age. They grew up attached to smartphones, social media, and having nearly everything available at the click of a button. This has influenced Gen Z priorities, as they are a mobile-centric generation. They rely on features like mobile banking apps and the ability to open and manage their accounts online. They also appreciate around-the-clock service and other convenient features that can make it easy for them to fit banking into their busy lives. 


Millennials have grown up as well with this generation falling between 25 and 40 years old. Eighty-five percent of this generation is also financially independent and many are well-established in their careers and financially stable, making them an appealing group for credit unions to engage.  

This was the first generation to come of age with technology at their fingertips, which makes them more open to alternative banking options, like PayPal, than the generations older than them. For this generation, speed is a primary concern– whether they want to make a money transfer or receive a payment, the faster the better in their eyes. 

Credit unions should also note that this generation also has many more interactions with their financial institutions compared to other generations. They are also open to receiving financial advice from AI sources. Offering these customers easy ways to connect with banking representatives, options to get personalized, automated financial advice, and the ability to manage their accounts through mobile devices will go a long way in keeping this generation satisfied. 

Gen X

Generation X, whose members are generally between 41 and 56 years old, serve as a bridge between the digitally-confident younger generations and the Boomers. Gen X found digital capabilities becoming increasingly prevalent during their young adulthood and feel largely confident with the capabilities. However, they still retain a preference for traditional banks and banking priorities like older generations.  

When looking for a provider, members of this generation want to see low fees, great rates, and fast payments when they look for a financial institution to patronize. 


The boomers are the oldest generation we will explore here. This population is 57 years old and up, coming of age before technology took such a prominent role in our day-to-day lives. Therefore, boomers on a whole are not as likely to prioritize digital capabilities and mobile apps in their banking. Instead, they look for features like access to a convenient branch. More boomers than members of any other generation prefer to open new accounts in a branch. These customers value face-to-face service and tend to remain more loyal to the institutions they do business with as well. 

Using technology to appeal to the different generations 

Engaging the members of these different generations will require credit unions to incorporate a few different types of platforms. Creating a leading mobile app that allows people to open accounts, manage their money, and even receive financial advice, for example, will appeal most to Gen Z and Millennials. Technology that allows banking customers to ask questions and manage their money around the clock will also help credit unions interact with this generation. Creating an in-person banking experience that is helpful, streamlined, and provides high quality service will help better engage customers from earlier generations. 

Some platforms and technology that credit unions might find helpful include the following: 

  • A mobile app to help digitally-focused customers bank on the go. 
  • A helpful online website that uses chat boxes to offer assistance for customers and allows them to fully manage their finances online. 
  • Access to SMS messaging or Whatsapp services to allow customers to connect with the credit union to ask questions, confirm deposits, or other helpful instant communication. 
  • Physical location experiences. Taking steps to provide better service for customers on location, from applying for loans to opening new accounts, will also go a long way in engaging customers interested in in-person banking.  

As you work to build these engagement strategies, we will also explore some of the latest trends in engaging credit union customers that you can put to use. 

Advanced marketing tactics to attract credit union customers 


With geofencing, businesses create a virtual geographic boundary or perimeter and then target the people within that perimeter with particular promotions and offers. This type of advertising is designed to provide hyperlocal targeting and a more personalized experience, as it offers customers products and services that might immediately appeal to them based on their location. 

This strategy allows credit unions to promote financial products based on what customers in a particular area might be interested in. For example, they might promote lower interest rates to customers around competitor properties. They might then promote mortgage rates and products to those attending large home buying and selling events, such as Parade of Homes

Adding a personal touch to technology 

As technology becomes a standard part of customer service, credit unions can also look for opportunities to add a personal touch while still offering the convenience that comes with technology. For example, offering chatbots and chat options for customers to answer questions and direct people regarding different services can allow customers to access financial services around the clock.  

Credit unions might also consider features such as Zoom advisory meetings. Some customers might want to receive personalized advice from a trusted banking professional, but they would appreciate the chance to have the conversation from the convenience of their own home.  

These types of services can help you appeal to those looking for convenience in their financial management but also good advice they can trust and quality products that will help them best manage their finances. 

Local SEO 

Credit unions function as largely local institutions. The banks that people have in their neighborhoods often attract their attention as they see the institution regularly and they have the convenience of location if they want to bank in person. A focused effort on local SEO and Google Business, therefore, can attract the attention of people looking for a credit union or bank in their area.  

When you build a strong Google Business profile, you can feature Google Message posts, reviews for your business, pictures, explanatory videos, and your location to people actively looking for a financial institution. When people make a local search such as “banks near me” or “mortgages near me,” your business will show up in the local pack in the search engine results page, helping you attract your potential local customers. 

To build out your profile, you want to fully fill out each section so that customers can easily find your hours and services. Take professional-grade pictures that help to advertise the welcoming and professional nature of your credit union. Ask satisfied customers to leave you reviews to compliment the profile. If customers ask you questions on the profile page, answer them professionally and promptly so customers get accurate information and know you care about their experience.  

You can then complement this profile with SEO efforts, including highlighting the areas you serve on your website to target local searches. PPC campaigns that target local keywords can then help you round out your local SEO efforts. 

Offering educational resources 

Finally, a great way for credit unions to show their customer service and build their client base for the future is to offer educational materials. Financial literacy is critical for people of all ages, and people who want to learn how to better manage their money will appreciate the resources that can get them started on the right path. 

Financial literacy also helps credit unions engage the entire family and demonstrate their commitment to genuinely helping customers. It can also provide institutions with opportunities to highlight their own products. 

There are a variety of different types of products that credit unions can offer to educate target consumers. For example, you might consider including: 

  • Articles and guides on popular financial topics 
  • Seminars for people to attend in person or remotely 
  • Calculators for mortgages, interest rates, and other financial products 

Optimize the content on your site to highlight these products and bring in more potential customers. People searching for this information and these tools can then find your credit union, and the information you provide can enhance your reputation and marketing endeavors.  

You can further promote these products through email and social media marketing. Offer them as a free service for your digital community. It can build brand recognition and encourage more people to learn about your credit union and what you have to offer. 

Get started marketing your credit union 

Credit unions’ natural strength in personal and in-person service appeals most to Boomers and Gen X, but as they age they use fewer financial products, especially loans for houses and cars. Therefore, creating campaigns that use modern tactics and attract Gen Y and Gen Z is critical to the maintenance and growth of their member and asset bases.  

As credit unions prepare to move forward building experiences for their target consumers, understanding the different priorities of the various generations and the trends impacting credit unions right now can help them better serve their customers. See how you can create tailored experiences for different banking preferences and provide the service and capabilities your customers will value. 

To know more about how Milestone can assist with your credit union needs, contact us at [email protected] or call us at 408-200-2211.  


  • Why does Milestone CMS drive an immediate increase in
    revenue and leads from websites for credit unions?

    Milestone’s CMS offers advanced SEO technology built into the platform that drives an immediate increase in revenue and leads from the website. The faster speed, AMP, schemas, indexability, and crawlability of the website results in better organic search presence leading to an increase in revenue and leads by close to 25%.

  • What is schema markup and is it relevant for credit unions?

    Schema are code that is added to the HTML of your website. This code helps search engines understand and differentiate your content. Schema markup helps search engines understand who your target audience would be and delivers the most relevant results to the query.

  • How do you rank my credit union in the Local 3-Pack?

    We would recommend optimizing your store pages for mobile, include relevant content, complete your Google My Business profile, secure positive reviews, add photos, make sure your name, address, and phone are complete, accurate, and consistent, and use advanced schemas.

  • How does Milestone CMS cost compare to competitors?

    Milestone CMS platform is build with key components necessary create, optimize and drive conversions from a website. The Milestone CMS powered website is priced for the lowest overall cost of ownership using a SEO-first approach so that our customers don’t have to worry about security, speed, technical SEO, or hosting infrastructure.

  • What are the best way to do credit union digital marketing?

    Credit unions can market themselves by using a number of different type of digital marketing strategies to reach, engage, and convert prospects to members.

    Effective use of search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media, email marketing, and paid advertising are to name a few. Each marketing channel has its own benefits and can be used to reach members in different ways.

    The overall goal should be to reach the widest possible audience to build a sustainable growth model.

Helpful links and resources:

  • BAI research report – Read more
  • Banking Attitudes, Generation-by-Generation – Download
  • Top 10 Tips to Market Your Credit Union in 2023 – Read more

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