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Live and In Concert

How do you hone in on members’ needs and expectations—and get them singing your tune?

November 04, 2013
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I recently attended three live concerts: I partied with Jimmy Buffet and his Parrotheads, was crooned to at a Josh Groban concert, and enjoyed a jazzy performance by Harry Connick, Jr.

I discussed these entertainments with a friend to compare and contrast the experiences. We speculated particularly on age differences of attendees. Was age a factor in our enjoyment or attendance? What was the personal appeal, and am I a “typical” fan?

I can only provide anecdotal demographic observations based on a single venue, but I noted some trends among fans in consideration of what motivated me to spend and attend.

For myself, the Jimmy Buffet concert was suggested by an older friend. Josh Groban is a favorite of a young relative; I purchased tickets as a gift. I acquired Harry Connick, Jr. tickets for me.

Groban’s mellow crowd appeared split between those under-25ish and the over-55ish. Harry’s funky fans seemingly fell squarely in “mid-life;” many contemporaries of the 46-year old musician. Buffet’s fans defied age boundaries—they shared more in attitude than commonality in years!

Age might be a contributing factor in member decisions to use your credit union’s products and services, but what other circumstances motivate participation? How can you tailor offerings to various groups? And how can you retain the business of those outside the target demographic that “fall into” your audience?

Research this week identifies demographic and marketing trends. Consider possible harmonious strategies you will compose to attract and retain dedicated fans.

‘I sell escapism.’—Jimmy Buffet

How do you relate? “Millennials With Kids Are Not as Coddled and Image Conscious as You Think,” says Adweek.

Why? “They’re experiencing financial stress and disadvantage,” as 7.8% of adults age 25 to 34 are unemployed. Consequently, “price and practicality trump style for new parents” who previously preferred brand names but have switched to less prestigious manufacturers in search of affordability.

“Debt savers” are those accumulating debt faster than retirement savings, according to a HelloWallet report. The profile of a typical debt saver: a college grad over 40 years old earning more than $50k annually. Such 401(k) participants commit 20% of paychecks to debt repayment. Their savings will only last “half as long in retirement.”

“The HelloWallet report is the latest in an expanding line of research suggesting that the United States is facing a looming retirement security crisis… The nation is on the cusp of a shift in which more Americans are on a track that will lead to a decline in their living standards when they retire,” reiterates a Washington Post article.

How many of your middle aged members understand and appreciate the importance of balancing retirement savings and debt?

Meanwhile, “Oldest Americans are Lucky Generation,” says Boston College, reporting on a new Federal Reserve study. “Americans in their 70s and 80s have earned more and are wealthier than the baby boom generation—for the simple reason they were born at the right moment in history.”

At the time of their birth, the economy boomed in the wake of World War II. Further, “a 20% decline in births during the Great Depression put workers in relatively short supply” by the time this group entered the workforce, resulting in higher earnings.

This interesting Fed study, which examines birth year as a variable in income and wealth, is linked to the article. “There is some evidence the erosion in incomes and wealth may be continuing for Generation X and Millennials. But only time—and more data—will tell.”

Did you know “young borrowers—18 to 25 years old—are among the least likely credit card users to have a serious default on their cards? Not only that, they’re also more likely to be good credit risks later in life,” says a new study by Arizona State University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

It is proposed that the Credit Card Act of 2009 “has clearly had an impact on how many young people are getting credit cards. Individuals under 21 are 18% less likely to get a credit card following passage of the act, and that’s not necessarily a good thing” as young consumers miss out on opportunity to build credit history and learn the ins and outs of lending.

This ability of the younger set to effectively manage their finances is echoed in a MarketingProfs infographic, “College Millennials Get Frugal.” “More than three quarters (80%) of U.S. college students describe themselves as more cost-conscious this year than a year ago” and financial forethought seems evident in these findings from college students:

  • 45% of students “met or exceeded their summer job earnings goal.”
  • 53% say expenses are up while personal funds are down.
  • 54% will rely on off-campus jobs during the school year to help make ends meet.

‘Twitter tells me everything, and I have calluses on my fingers from all the mouse-clicking.’—Josh Groban

Technology is an important consideration in your outreach efforts. Research findings sing the songs you need to hear on digital marketing trends in reaching those of all ages.

“Technology is transforming marketing once again. Although up to this point, most of the impact has been tactical, over the next decade or so there will be major strategic transformation,” says Forbes.  Three of several marketing changes to anticipate:

  • Brands need to develop content skills as marketing moves from messages to experiences for the consumer.
  • A sense of purpose and passion will dictate consumer behavior with brand associations rather than brand attributes.
  • A move from “strategic planning to adaptive strategy” as big data allows companies to work in real time with current data rather than looking backwards with older and smaller sample numbers.

Finally, note “22 digital Marketing Techniques that Demand Attention,” as suggested by Smart Insights. Among the business growing marketing suggestions:

  • Define how digital marketing efforts relate with other marketing channels.
  • Engage consumers with visual apps and content.
  • Evaluate marketing message content and investments in social media.

I enjoyed each of the concerts I attended, even those I visited at the suggestion of others. I was initially perhaps not a “targeted consumer” based on an age demographic or other variable, but I still bought tickets and CDs as I became engaged in the experience.

How do you hone in on the needs and expectations of various cohorts? Do you know how consumers behave and what they need? Further, how can you draw in and keep those just outside an expected audience with engaging marketing strategies and scintillating experiences?

As Harry Connick, Jr. said, “You can’t have a perfect show every time,” but attentiveness to consumer needs and nurturing engagement will allow you and your members to whistle happy tunes.

Live and in Concert

JIm Bray
November 05, 2013 2:19 am
Amen, Amen, Your financial well being has a lot to do with the time of your birth. I used to envie those guys at Employers Insurance who came home from WWII and stepped right into a growing economy full of opportunities. Never gave much thought tot he fact that their "opportunities" occurred because they had survived the Depression and hadn't been among those killed in action in the Great War. They wer, frankly, in short supply.


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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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