Maximizing Convenience, Rewards & Incentives: Proven Tactics to Engage Younger Consumers

Young adults standing together to take a selfie.

Banks and credit unions face a daunting marketing challenge: attracting and retaining Gen Z and millennial customers and members. While this task is difficult across industries, it is particularly tough for financial institutions. With competition like fintechs multiplying, your institution faces increased competition to win over this valuable audience.

The Gen Z and millennial demographics have unique financial needs and expectations for a value-driven banking experience that differ significantly from their predecessors. Simply digitizing their experience will not cut it. To secure Gen Z’s and millennials’ loyalty, banks and credit unions must adopt forward-thinking marketing strategies that reflect their distinct preferences. In this article, we’ll explore innovative and effective tactics to help you attract and retain these generations and stay ahead of the curve.


It’s interesting to note that millennials and Gen Z have more confidence in their capacity to solve important global issues than they do in securing their own financial futures. Their concerns are justified, as inflation, student loan debt, and a challenging housing market make it difficult for them to take important and desired steps like getting married, buying a home, and starting a family. They also earn money in different ways, often holding multiple gigs, working freelance, or earning in the creator economy. This unconventional approach to earning income can make it difficult for them to save money and cause them to be cautious about spending and investing it.

What does all this mean for financial marketers? Gen Z and millennials want a different banking experience that prioritizes helping them navigate the financial ecosystem and find ways to achieve short- and long-term financial well-being. Traditional banking products and their marketing messages, such as low-interest mortgages or auto loans, are no longer enough. Financial institution marketing strategy must embrace new outreach strategies and messaging that revolve around providing education to guide financial choices and offering easy virtual payment and deposit options. With a nuanced marketing approach, your financial institution can attract and retain younger generations and remain competitive. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Put the Spotlight on Security: Because Gen Z and millennials may have firsthand experience with data breaches and identity theft, it’s important to emphasize how your institution protects their data, credit, and privacy. By highlighting security measures and protocols, you can build trust and loyalty with these demographics.
  2. Hyper-Personalize Content: Personalized messaging makes everyone feel valued, and Gen Z and millennials in particular appreciate experiences that cater to their unique needs and preferences. Use data analytics to offer targeted and customized financial education and products, and watch engagement soar.
  3. Focus on Fun: Once you develop targeted and customized financial education and products, incorporate fun and interactive elements to cater to the desires of millennials and Gen Z. Create engaging mobile apps, online platforms, and gamified promotions that use interactive graphics, points, levels, and progress charts to enhance their experience.
  4. Share Your Authentic Values: Gen Z and millennials prioritize good stewardship and purpose-driven initiatives, but they can easily spot insincere activism. Be genuine in sharing your institution’s commitment to community causes that correspond with your authentic social responsibility. Being transparent about what your brand supports can help you attract and retain these demographics.
  5. Use the Right Channels: As you craft personalized and meaningful content, delve deep into demographic insights to understand exactly what touchpoints – like email, text, digital, and direct mail – will resonate and when to use them most effectively.
  6. Add the IRL Connection: While Gen Z and millennials are digital natives, they often express a need for emotional connections in real life. Banks and credit unions can meet this need by offering audio and video chat options that elevate the customer experience, creating a sense of personal connection and trust.
  7. Offer Rewards and Incentives: Rewards and incentives are big draws for this demographic. Pair special offers with value-added rewards related to their interests, like event tickets, special experiences, or free products. By tapping into their fear of missing out (FOMO), you can maximize engagement.
  8. Prioritize Convenience: Gen Z and millennials value convenience through digital-first experiences. They want easy access to information and products, streamlined application processes, and the flexibility to manage their own banking experience. Prioritize user-friendly interfaces, intuitive navigation, and seamless interactions to deliver the convenience they crave.

Gen Z and millennials represent a significant and growing market for banks and credit unions. Engaging with them is an opportunity that can be achieved by understanding their expectations and working toward delivering experiences that meet their needs.

Need guidance in gaining traction with Gen Z and millennials? Contact LIGHTSTREAM for help in connecting in new ways.