It is a fairly well-established fact that in order for banks and credit unions to succeed in branding and marketing, they most focus on specific niche consumer groups. Long gone are the days when financial institutions could simply spray a message using mass media and hope for a great return on investment.

Have you ever stopped to consider who you are targeting and why? These niche groups will, in large measure, determine whether your brand sinks or swims.

Here are a few examples of potential target groups and reasons for going after them.

People that live near your physical branch locations. The closer they are to your branches, the more likely consumers are to do business with you. It’s simple geography. If people have to drive a long way and fight traffic to get to you, they’re less likely to use you. So targeting those that live near your branch locations (and you must set parameters here – such as within certain zip codes or square miles) makes sense for your brand.

Digitally-connected young professionals. These are primarily Gen X and Gen Y. For these consumers, the physical location of your branches isn’t nearly as important as your digital offerings. In order to target and reach these consumers, your website, mobile-responsive website, app and social media presence must be top-notch. These young professionals will expect to conduct the majority of their business with your bank or credit union using their smart phone or tablet — without ever actually having to meet you or come into a branch. Targeting these consumers, while low-touch, offers the added benefit of decreased overhead when it comes to certain additional staffing and brick-and-mortar locations.

Young families. It’s often said that the best way to reach parents is through their children. If you don’t believe that, check out your local grocery store breakfast cereal aisle and look at how many toys they cram into those boxes of sugary snacks. When you target young families, you must offer something of value to every member — including children. Kids clubs and specialized savings accounts can still make a difference, but many banks and credit unions now dig deeper. Some employee age-appropriate educational programs and even checking accounts, debit cards and first-time auto loans for some young consumers to help get them on the right track. Targeting young families is a terrific way for your bank or credit union to leave the brand footprint indelibly in the minds and wallets of your future membership.

There must be a rhyme and reason to the niche markets your bank or credit union targets. Often, these markets are determined as part of your strategic planning or branding processes. Once you decide upon these groups, make a concerted effort to focus your energies and marketing resources on connecting with them and developing relationships that last a lifetime.

For additional emerging niche markets, check out this video.