The Credit Union National Association released the 2013-2014 Environmental Scan. The E-Scan offers insights in 10 primary areas affecting credit unions, including lending, mobile payments, economics and of course marketing/demographics. The E-Scan is a must-read for any credit union executive and is also an outstanding planning tool to use.

As the E-Scan noted “How successfully credit unions attract the 100 million members of Generation Y will go a long way toward determining the movement’s future viability. Fundamentally, credit unions must raise Gen Y’s awareness levels.”

Because so many credit unions are struggling to get younger and because lowering the average member age is a strategic priority, the E-Scan’s marketing section focused on this key subject. Below are some excerpts from the key findings.

(1)   A Gen. Y plan. Putting up a page on Facebook and opening an account on Twitter does not equal a Generation Y strategy. The E-Scan notes several products that work with this young group and provides successful credit union examples.

(2)   Communicate properly. One of the best points this year’s marketing section makes is that Generation Y is actually divided into two groups: those that are in college or live at home with their parents and those who have already entered the workforce. In other words, you can’t lump Gen. Y into one massive group and send the same messages. Astute marketers will divide Generation Y and send appropriate messages to each.

(3)   A website of their own. “Consider creating a separate, less traditional website specifically for members of Gen. Y to satisfy their insatiable appetite for information and personalization,” the E-Scan notes.  Recommendations included creating a blog about young people’s financial journeys, relabeling the pages on your website, and making your website more interactive.

 (4)   Beyond blogs. While a blog might be important, it is just one communication tool in your arsenal. The E=Scan recommends thinking like a retailer by using Facebook and Twitter for special promotional offers. “Members of Gen. Y want their financial institutions to be trusted advisers who take them seriously,” the report says.

(5)   Branches become destinations. Many in the financial services sector have predicted that as Generation Y grows, the branches die. The E-Scan disagrees with that assessment. “But these members also want to use the branch for financial guidance and consultation. Your branch becomes a destination and your employees become consultants.”

One of the best parts of the E-Scan is its action items after each chapter. With marketing and demographics, the authors give six practical suggestions credit unions can take to reach Generation Y.

These were just a few snippets about Generation Y—there is obviously much more detail about this marketing issue and other relevant areas in the E-Scan itself. To get the full context of the marketing section and to read the other insights, be sure to purchase your copy of the E-Scan.

In addition to the report itself, you can also order the full E-Scan package, which includes the E-Scan report, the E-Scan Newsletter, the E-Scan DVD, the Strategic Planning Guide and the E-Scan Research & Advice Portal. When it comes to strategic planning, there is no better resource or tool your credit union can use than CUNA’s Environmental Scan.