Put in my…5 cents…? What the what? It used to be 2 cents. When did inflation start affecting sayings? I am certainly more than willing to put in my 2, 5 or even 25 cents – not sure if my opinion is worth that but I’d throw some change in to give my say. Honestly, I usually throw my opinion in for free and without prompting.

I was in a team interview a few weeks ago with a potential new Relationship Development Leader, a millennial if you will, looking to join the YMC team. The interviewee said he would always put in his 5 cents. No one said anything, but I thought, “Am I the only that realized how crazy that sounded?” Is it my age?

Anyway, of course that sent me over the edge, and I started thinking, “Wow! How times have changed.” I get a bit obsessive over things and my mind runs in many directions quickly.

2 cents. 5 cents. When did this change happen? Was it discussed? Or, did someone have 5 cents in their pocket one day and thought, “Why not? I’ll put in my 5 cents.” What about, “Here’s a quarter call someone who cares?” Should we instead say, “Here’s my cell, text someone who cares?”

Credit Unions. We market to so many different demographics and ALL the ages. We talk a good game of driving our average age down, having products and solutions to capture various markets, and listening to our members’ needs. We spend time creating bundles to fully arm our members with financial tools, financial literacy, relationship pricing and so much more. Huge dollars are invested in new technologies, delivery channels, branch environments, staff development and employee benefits. We adjust our language for SEGs, for cultures, for underserved markets. I pride myself on always putting the member first – their experiences, interactions, and relationships. I pride myself on relevant automation and using it to deliver a member specific, perfectly timed communication.

5 cents. That’s all it took. Two words to make me stop in my tracks, obsess, write this blog. Two words that made me think – am I out of touch? Am I delivering the right message with the right language to the right member?

My point? I am actually not sure that I have one. But it is making me think and I like that. Pondering ideas. Pondering is like a one-person brainstorming event in my head.
Embrace pondering.

Strategic planning season. My 5 cents about it? (Since the value has obviously gone up.)
When we look to enter new markets or increase penetration among certain age demographics, we must also learn the lingo. The language we used years ago to craft our message might not be relevant today.

Two cents. $2 bills (which, by the way, my daughter tried to use at Five Below and was told they don’t accept them). CDs. DVDs. Cassettes. Dare I mention 8 tracks? Stick shift cars. MySpace. Hotmail. Earthlink. Dial up internet. Shoulder pads. Driving to get your own take-out meal. All of these things are irrelevant, outdated. Are our messages outdated?

Checking accounts. Do we really need them anymore? And who uses those anyway? Do they still teach children how to draft a check in high school? Unless you have kids and need to send random $10 stipends to the PTA or PTO.

Cash. I barely even know what that looks like anymore. But it is dirty, and I can Venmo easily enough. And, if I don’t have it, my kids can’t get it.

Waiting 7-10 days for your plastic, your spending power. DAYS? Who waits days for anything anymore? Target, Amazon – same day delivery. SAME DAY. That means under 24 hours. Crazy. Apple instantly delivers your new “card” to your digital wallet and then you have to go into the app to actually request a card to be sent to you. Plastic doesn’t need to be touchable anymore to be useable.

Perhaps we need to start turning our messaging. Do our members or potential members care about the nearest ATM to get cash? Will they in another 12 months? Do our members care about checking? My checking account is just a place that my direct deposit goes every two weeks. I don’t think about it – I have my bills on autopay and I take a look at the end of the month in case I have to adjust a payment or pay ANOTHER medical bill. Anyway, the point being my checking relationship is really defined by my debit (or charge) card. Physical plastic? That’s become my backup – I leave cards in the car just in case I run into a store that does not accept me tapping my phone as payment. The days of my losing my card are almost behind me – now, hopefully I don’t lose my phone.

One month left in 2019. One month of planning, drafting strategic goals, shoring up marketing plans. Are you doing anything different in 2020? Is your messaging changing?
Are you building foundations for the next 3, 5, 10 years when plastic is almost certainly gone? When cash is irrelevant? When your delivery channels have advanced lightyears in just moments.

If you aren’t already are you ready to embrace pondering? Brainstorm – project – plan. It’s time.

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