3 steps to cross-selling success at your credit union

Big data, data mining, data analytics – these are terms most credit unions know and consider critical to success in a data-driven future. At the same time, many leaders in the movement have questions about how to leverage these tools for easy-to-implement and affordable member engagement strategies.

Of course, credit unions are not alone. While analytics has been a go-to strategy for greater consumer engagement across many industries, few organizations have the time or resources to execute the analysis well. In fact, even though data-driven cross-selling campaigns are popular, they often are implemented without much planning or focus. As a result, marketing initiatives designed to sell additional services to existing customers are not as successful as they can be.

Often, the culprit to a less-than-stellar campaign is simple – it began with the wrong data.

Starting with the right data

The first (and most essential) step to a good cross-selling strategy is to identify those members most likely to engage in a new product or service. If this step is not taken, the entire marketing campaign is at risk. Even the most creative, compelling message will not land if the audience is wrong.

Whereas campaign managers may be tempted to identify their audience based on transaction data, deeper, more emotional data typically creates a better picture of the target. Many different factors are capable of predicting a member’s capacity for higher levels of engagement. For instance, a member’s distance from the branch may indicate how strongly he feels about his community or about supporting local businesses.

Contrary to popular belief, emotional responses can be measured, albeit with an important caveat – doing so takes a significant amount of data. That’s why it’s so important to gather member information from multiple sources. After credit unions have the data, the marketing team can assess whether assumptions or generalities hold true within their own unique member segments. Each campaign builds on the previous to create even more targeted campaigns with the right offers tailored to the right members.

Using the right channel

After the members with the highest tendencies for cross-selling are identified and segmented, marketers must focus on selecting the most appropriate method of contact for each segment within the most-likely category.

In a recent savings and securities cross-selling campaign for a major financial institution, for instance, two methods of contact were outlined: telephone outreach from a central office and personal telephone outreach from a branch employee. The segment with the highest level of potential engagement, plus the highest deposit balance, received personal calls from staff. The campaign was successful, generating a great deal of new accounts without having to spend nearly as much time on the phone with those unlikely to be interested in the savings and securities products.

In a separate case, a financial institution chose personal calls for individuals with the highest level of potential engagement who were also currently enrolled in four or more services. The marketing team achieved similar success, not only in regards to campaign results, but in overall return on the campaign investment.

Of course, the telephone is one in a growing list of communication channels. When you are ready to take your proven cross-selling strategy to the next level, commit to exploration of multi-channel strategies. As social, web and geolocation tools integrate with digital banking, members expect to hear from you at opportune – rather than intrusive – times.

Craft the right message

Once candidates are identified and methods of contact are outlined, the marketing team must craft the message by tailoring each promotion to each specific segment. As any good marketer will tell you, customized promotions are hands-down the most effective.

Moving beyond manually identifying trends or letting gut instinct drive your talking points is a must for the success of any marketing message. Those marketers who take a scientific, data-driven approach to creating effective, customized communications are positioned for the best results, not to mention the best member relationships. Create the processes and procedures that dig deep into the data. Find segments and trends that assist in winning new and existing clients for your products.

Karan Bhalla

Karan Bhalla

Karan Bhalla is a Vice President for EXL Analytics (formerly Managing Director for IQR Consulting), which helps companies leverage data assets to increase profitability across industries from financial institutions to ... Web: www.exlservice.com Details

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