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Life Cycle Marketing for Credit Unions: Mid Age Households

This second report in Filene’s series on life cycle marketing focuses on families where the head of household is between ages 35 and 64.

  • William Kelly Center for Credit Union Research at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Executive Summary

A recent Filene study that focused on the largest credit unions found that top management generally does not emphasize marketing strategy in terms of segmenting membership. Instead, management focuses primarily on marketing by product. To the extent members were compared by groups, age is the most common way to segment, and executives are interested in building a lifelong relationship with members. This study is the second in a series of four publications from a major Filene study on segmenting members by life cycle stage. It covers the middle aged group.

What is the research about?

The study is based on a segmentation method that was developed in the research literature on life cycle marketing to consumers. It defines the mid age group as ages 35-64, and divides this group into five segments, based on marital status and the presence or absence of children in the household. The segments are childless singles, childless couples, single parents, full nest, and delayed full nest. Data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances is used to determine the demographic characteristics of each of the five segments, as well as the usage of a number of types of financial assets and loans.

What are the credit union implications?

The results indicate that using age alone to segment markets has significant shortcomings, because it masks very substantial differences among the five segments, both in their demographic characteristics and their use of financial products. The results provide key information about each of the five mid age segments that will allow credit unions to substantially improve their marketing to mid age households.