2020 essential: Digital first marketing strategy

According to a recent report by emarketer.com, “In 2019, for the first time, the average U.S. adult will spend more time engaging with their mobile devices than watching TV.”  What does that mean to your credit union?  A digital first marketing strategy, like that of the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign, is essential in 2020 and beyond.  Americans interact daily with their mobile devices. To remain top of mind, credit unions must create and nurture their digital presence.  These simple, effective steps can help develop, maintain, and sustain a digital presence.


Consumers can research and interact with brands in real time; and guess what, they like it.  Gone are the days when the credit union itself was the consumer’s first point of contact during the research and decision making process.  Prior to walking into a credit union, a potential new member will research the website, read multiple reviews and testimonials, and scour the brand’s social media platforms.

Developing a digital presence that packs a punch is entirely about one thing – what matters to the credit union.  Digital storytelling creates and communicates the brand voice, vision, and values.  It allows the credit union to communicate on a human level and present a consistent, strong image in line with the credit union values.  Design the message, create the content to share the message, and deploy it to through the correct digital channels.

There are a variety of digital channels to consider: email, social media, website, blog, mobile apps, and instant messaging platforms.  Select the channels your members actually use and go all in.  Dig into your membership data and your website’s Google analytics for specific demographic information to point to the right channels and social platforms.


Nurturing digital platforms is vital to create a cohesive customer experience.  The sense of community members feel when they walk into the credit union doors is a feeling that can be replicated on social media and through targeted email marketing.  Utilize credit union staff to help create targeted messaging, too.  Customer service representatives are undoubtedly the credit union’s front-line; by interacting with members regularly, by collecting information and details about important aspects of member’s lives, and by providing specific details to address real world issues facing members.

Members share their financial lives at the credit union – how will their lives be improved with your services?  Saving for or paying off college, starting a family, buying a house, and planning for retirement are some of the aspects of life that credit unions should approach. Let the brand’s digital story address those monumental life events.

To personalize and humanize the credit union marketing message, target messages to specific audiences by segmenting email lists and selecting appropriate social platforms.  Refer back to the demographic research used during development to target the audience.  Send personalized emails and create audience specific social posts based on demographic research.  For example, send a message about promotional savings rates to millennials that speaks to their interests of saving for a house and another to the baby boomer generation that speaks to their interests of saving for retirement. While the saving rate promotion remains the same, the message should be unique and personal.


The digital tools for creating and deploying strong brand voice, vision, and values are abundant. Along with those tools, comes the ability to analyze how well messaging is received by customers.  Look closely at the insights within social media platforms and email marketing tools to determine how and where improvements can be made; tweak subject lines, alter content formats, or adjust email and posting schedules to effectively reach members.

In addition to evaluating the effectiveness, sustaining a strong digital presence must include engaging with the audience.  For many years marketers toted the adage “Content is King.”  While quality messaging and consistent, honest brands can do very well – the adage should read, “Content is King; Engagement is Queen.” Those that engage with their customers will undoubtedly surpass the competition.  Sustaining a strong digital presence requires participating in the social conversation, not simply posting good content.

A digital first marketing strategy in 2020 will help credit unions remain relevant and top of mind for members and prospective members.  Develop a brand voice and story that is consistent with the credit union’s values, maintain a presence on the social platforms and digital channels of significance to the audience, and keep an eye on analytics to improve along the way. LSC is a proud contributor to CUNA’s Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign; we suggest looking at it for inspiration as you develop, maintain, and sustain a brand in 2020.

Libby Calderone

Libby Calderone

Libby Calderone is President/COO of Envisant. In her role, Libby is responsible for the growth and retention of Envisant's business, as well as its future business strategy and enhancements, ... Details