Credit Unions: The Do’s & Don’ts of Attracting a Younger Audience

Overcoming the challenge of marketing Credit Union services to a new demographic.

Credit Unions are a staple for communities. However, the value of Credit Unions may not be seen by every member of a community. Marketing to the younger generation can be challenging for any business. Further, connecting with younger generations through marketing is something financial institutions are working hard at.

To help navigate this, we’re providing the do’s and don’ts when setting out to engage a younger audience with your Credit Union.


Informative Marketing

One of the challenges that Credit Unions face is that younger generations lack awareness about these institutions and how their services can be advantageous to them.


  • Expect this demographic to be informed about financial institutions.

  • Enhance your marketing messaging by providing informative content that highlights your service offerings and specifically caters to the interests of younger audiences.

To educate this demographic, messaging can and should start at the most basic level – explaining what Credit Unions are. Then focus on promoting service offerings that would be attractive to them.

Young consumers think differently than older ones. They are pragmatic, focused on social causes, and individualistic. The good news? Credit Unions stack up to these expectations.



No hassle enrollment.
With all of the responsibilities young people are juggling (work, school, independent living, etc.), they demand simple solutions. Emphasize that signing up is simple and easy. If you live, worship, and/or work in the area, you are eligible.


Not for profit.
Credit Unions are there to serve the community. Appeal to this socially conscious demographic by iterating that you have the public’s best interest in mind and strive to make a positive impact.


Better rates.
Credit Unions are typically more cost-effective and have restrictions on how much they can charge. This message will go a long way given the challenges this demographic faces with student loans, cost of living independently, rising inflation, etc.


A personalized experience.
Credit Unions care about their members. Stress the individualized education and financial planning services offered.



Financial Planning and Education Services

Part of the value of Credit Unions is the financial planning and education services available to members. Younger generations are considerate of how this experience feels beyond the potential value being offered.

  • Feed into the shame and embarrassment potential members may feel about not being financially literate.

  • Prioritize providing a non-intimidating educational experience.

Finances are a sensitive subject and many people, especially younger ones, lack financial planning skills.

Taking control of your finances can be overwhelming at first, especially if resources feel unrelatable. Consider bringing in a Gen Z or millennial representative or financial expert. Financial independence will feel less intimidating when working with people that look and think like them.



Showing Up in the Right Place at the Right Time

WHERE you are promoting is just as important as WHAT you are promoting. A targeted message has little impact if it does not reach the target. We know Credit Unions offer valuable services. Think about the best places to relay this message for the most impact.

  • Expect the younger audience to find you.

  • Meet them where they are.

Where and how your Credit Union shows up is critical. Traditionally, you may have promoted through brochures, partnered with local businesses, etc. The reality is that messaging in these spaces will likely not reach younger audiences.

Target spaces where young people live and breathe. Think about where they get their information. Consider looking into different channel partners. For example, if they’re on Spotify, consider showing up there. Look into opportunities at local colleges. Operate in the same spaces as your audience.

Social media is indisputably the best place to reach a young audience. Social media is actually the top source of brand discovery and product research for Gen Z. Rethink your marketing strategy to include social media efforts that are appealing to this age group. Unsurprisingly, young people are turning to platforms like Tik Tok for financial advice and education. This could be an excellent resource for your brand to meet Gen Z where they are.

Beyond promotional channels, be sure to get involved. Host or participate in events, philanthropic or otherwise, in your community. While displaying your logo at a sponsored event is significant, it is more effective to be there as a true community partner. Consider organizing a “Family Day” as an opportunity to reach the youth before they are out of the house. Humanize your Credit Union by inviting active members, prospects, and employees to connect and build relationships.


Technology Capabilities

Credit Unions are often thought of as lacking in technological advancement compared to other financial institutions. Even though this is not true, this perception has an impact on those who have grown up in the digital era.

  • Be stifled by the misconception that Credit Unions are behind in technology.

  • Capitalize on the mom-and-pop feel while communicating technological advantages.

Informative messaging is key to evading a dated reputation. Promote that your technological capabilities are on par with industry standards.

Online banking is particularly important to the younger demographic. Placing an emphasis on your company’s app(s), mobile depositing solutions, and automated customer service will be a winning appeal.

That said, an attractive part of Credit Union services is the mom-and-pop feel. Tech capabilities in conjunction with a more personable experience is an effective differentiator. Lead with technology while also capitalizing on your Credit Union’s affable qualities.


Marketing Imagery

The creative assets you use to promote your institution influence not only the way an audience perceives your brand, but also the way they relate to it.

Imagery is an important tool in encouraging an audience to picture themselves interacting with the institution and the perceived outcome of that interaction. Think about the visuals you are using and how they might be received by a younger audience.

  • Showcase only a specific demographic in promotional designs.

  • Convey that Credit Union services are for people of all ages.

Families and retirees are popular visuals in typical Credit Union creative. This makes sense as these segments make up a large part of the membership. However, imagery also has to match the intended audience. Neglecting other age groups in this regard runs the risk of alienating them.

Meet the persona and look of the younger demographic. Research what visuals they relate to and utilize people in this age group in your campaigns. Let them know that your services cater to them too.

Targeting young families is a good practice. However, dynamics are shifting and so should you. In fact, a study conducted by Morgan Stanley found that by the year 2030, 45% of women ages 25-44 will be single. You may be missing out on these audiences because they can’t relate to family content. Including this demographic in your creative imagery can influence them as they are willing to switch institutions and investigate who they want to support their financial future.



This 2019 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) campaign, titled “See a Credit Union” is an excellent example of showcasing that Credit Union services are for all ages. People of all demographics can see themselves in this visual content and will in turn be more receptive to the message.


Personalized Mapping

One media campaign to address all audiences doesn’t work. Shotgun email marketing is outdated and won’t help capture a specific audience. Start thinking beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.


  • Send the same marketing messages to all audiences.

  • Customize messaging to create a personalized experience for different audiences.

Consumers are smarter than ever and demand a more personalized brand experience. Young people specifically are highly in tune with brand messaging and require more effort to reach through the noise.

Research shows that 35% of Gen Z desire to feel valued by a brand. Personalized campaigns and marketing messages convey that your institution sees them and is actively working to offer solutions catered to them.

Study up on these demographic values and interests to develop an understanding of what will get them through the door. Build out your member personas and journeys to better align your Credit Union’s messaging.

After you’ve built a strong foundation and figured out your “hook,” you can then create a campaign designed to reach those individuals.


Appealing to a new audience is no easy feat. Further, reaching a younger demographic that is fatigued by constant marketing messages is challenging for any institution. Credit Unions have services that are highly valuable to this audience. The key is getting them to see it.


Team Up for Success

Consider working with a marketing partner offering campaign development, persona development, journey mapping, and more. Outsourcing this work can give you access to creative-minded and strategic processes that you may not have in-house.

Learn more about the service that RAZR offers our financial clients.

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