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February 02, 2012

Everybody's Reviewing It! Why Gen-Y Depends on Other People's Opinions Online


by Ron Daly 

Ah, Gen-Y - the "El Dorado" of marketing demographics. People are hazy about where they are, what they do, and the richness of the treasures they possess. And after about five years of hearing how critical it is to win over the Gen-Y crowd, we get a little insight into how they buy and behave with their money.

One of the critical things a business (or credit union?) must do, according to a study done by Bazaarvoice, is point Millennials to user reviews (which they describe as "user generated content", or "UGC"). The opinions of other online users of a product or service weight heavy, particularly with regards to electronics. They're more eager to hear from people with "relevant experience" and they're three times as likely as the Baby Boomers to ask for people's opinions on a social media network. 

Why would the opinion of someone a Gen-Yer has never met mean more than their real-world friends and family? Well, in the real world, maybe not. If someone runs up to you on the street and screams "BUY AN iPHONE!", it might not make you break out your wallet right then and there. But when Bazaarvoice means "stranger", I'm pretty sure they mean a "reviewer". And what does a review have? 

  • A star rating - Quick and easy. If there are five possible stars and three of those stars are filled, that's a metric. There are typically a row of those stars followed by a number in parentheses indicating how MANY people have responded/rated that product. If a product has four-of-five stars and a thousand reviewers, well, that product is probably pretty good.
  • Short write-ups - A short review says a heck of a lot. If it's thoughtful and fully formed, it tells you the reviewer took their time and is a smart, well-informed consumer. If it says "Dis produkt is h0rrible, teh wackness"? That person's probably not so trustworthy. 
  • A link back to more information - Some online channels will give you permission to see other things that reviewers have reviewed on that site. This helps you figure out whether a person is ALWAYS negative or just negative about the thing you want to buy. 

Online reviews are interesting and helpful because not only are you evaluating a product, you're evaluating its users. But you don't see a lot of online reviews on a CU's website, do you? At least, I don't. 

Why is that? 

According to that same study (presented in a friendly little infographic on this site), 29% of millenials won't make a decision about credit cards or insurance without feedback from other users. Maybe more important: 

"Most Millennials say companies that include customer feedback on their websites are "honest" (66%) and "credible" (53%). "

Pretty great first impression, right? Think that could work for CUs? Who's willing to start this out? We know of a few CUs over on Facebook that let Facebook users review their products, but who's going to up the ante and include a place for reviews on their actual website? Is some CU out there already doing it? 

And before you go on about how you want to manage all your content and control every aspect of your "online presence", consider that over six hundred thousand people in the US moved their money in the past three months and attributed that switch to Bank Transfer Day, an online event that largely happened TO credit unions, not BECAUSE of them. 

Food for thought. 

Want to "review" this article? Have some insight? Talk to us in the comment section. 




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Hi Ron,

Looking for an example of this in the CU space? Look no further than America First CU in Utah ($5B in assets; 562k members).

And, they've been doing this since at least February 2008.


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