Banks are developing marketing strategies to better reach millennial women with messages about their products and services.
January 25, 2017
By Robert Stowe England
When J.P. Morgan Chase pitched its Chase Slate credit card four years ago to Brooklyn College freshman Judy Tan, the bank made the offer by direct mail. She was already a customer of the bank since her father went with her to a branch to help her open a checking account and sign up for a debit card. When she received the offer, Tan, 23, was inclined to apply because she’d read an article online that encouraged young people to build their credit scores early in life by obtaining their first credit card—or lose out later because they lack a credit history.
The potential consequences “spooked me a bit and it was the primary reason for applying in the first place,” recalls Tan, who graduated in 2016 and now works for Age Brilliantly, a non-profit online platform for older adults. Yet despite marketing the card to Tan, Chase rejected her application—at first, anyway. Following the advice of a branch officer, Tan waited awhile and tried again. The bank approved her application on the second try.
Banks are keenly aware of millennial women as a crucial segment.
Millennials as a whole already represent more than 75 million U.S. citizens (24 percent of the population) and will have the greatest spending power of any generation by next year ($3.39 trillion). Assuming roughly half of those numbers represent women, it boils down to an enormous pot of money for banks to consider.
“From a pure business standpoint, millennial women are a huge group,” says Peter Wannemacher senior analyst serving e-business and channel strategy professions at Forrester Research, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. “So they are going to be one of the segments that you as a bank pursue and target.”
Yet there’s often confusion about how best to do that. For example, young women may prefer a different news channel than young men—but such targeting is tactical and not strategic, Wannemacher contends.
To this end, there is good news. Tan’s experience demonstrates how an offer through a conventional channel can succeed even though millennials as a whole strongly prefer digital channels, according to Tuck Ross, head of social media and senior vice president of marketing and digital sales at BBVA Compass, based in Birmingham, Ala.
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