5 New Year’s resolutions for credit union marketers

The new year is here and it’s clear that it’s a time of transformational change. New technologies, a new generation, and new competitors are joining to dramatically reshape how financial institutions reach out to both potential and current members.

So, what should you do to help your institution keep up?

To get you started here are 5 resolutions you can make to help your credit union thrive in 2018:

Think mobile. Mobile traffic to top retail banking websites is up 121% since 2014, according to CMO.com, citing research by Adobe Digital Insights and 87% of financial executives say mobile will be an equal or better source of new account origination in the next three years.

Promise yourself to double down on growing your mobile channel, both in terms of users and uses. Also, explore how to implement new account origination via mobile. This will pay off in the years ahead, especially when recruiting millennial members.

Study the best. It’s easy to preach about going mobile, but personal experience is essential. Each month, dig deep into one mobile app (PayPal, Venmo, Uber, Amazon, or whatever leading, consumer-facing app you want to get to know well). Especially explore leading credit union and bank apps.

The point of this research is to hunt for ideas and tools you can adapt for your own credit union. With Amazon, for instance, the use of artificial intelligence to generate shopping choices is dazzlingly good—how can your credit union do something similar? Ask these kinds of questions about each leading app you explore.

Go local. Credit union marketers will tell you that real success focuses on the value of a credit union’s local roots. In an age when money center banks are getting ever bigger, an emphasis on the credit union as a local business is a winning strategy. In fact, Snap Retail, citing Edelman Digital, says 40% of millennials prefer shopping locally.

Come up with marketing messages that highlight your credit union’s local roots. Run online ads (geo-targeted to local consumers) that feature local places and people. At every turn, remind members and prospects that your credit union is run by and for locals.

Embrace analytics. Make 2018 your year of data analytics. You might be thinking this is too expensive or too difficult and time-consuming for your credit union. A half-decade ago it was, absolutely. However, now CUSOs and consulting firms are developing data analytics tools that are specifically designed to usher credit unions into this revolution, making the process easier and more affordable. It’s important. A credit union that has mastery of its data analytics—really knowing their members’ wants and needs—is that much closer to success. Data analytics takes the guesswork out of decision-making. That’s why just about all the top credit unions admit (at least off the record) that they are investing substantial resources into their data analytics efforts.

Let go. Where to find the time to do your new resolutions? Easy. Stop doing other things.

“Like what,” you ask?

A lot of credit unions do the same-old marketing, year in and year out. These include using the same statement stuffers, direct mail pieces (sent via US Mail), print ads, and sponsorships. Make a resolution to track how each of your campaigns performs, and be ruthless about eliminating the duds.

Say that to many senior credit union marketers, and they agree it’s a good strategy. Yet they encounter a significant obstacle when the board or the CEO expects to see those kinds of more typical campaigns. In that case, speak up. Explain that the performance just doesn’t warrant the cost in this ever-evolving financial services industry. The numbers will do your persuading.

Getting the idea? Transforming a credit union for 2018 doesn’t have to be difficult. It starts with a few resolutions. Stick with them, and you will see results.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and successful new year!

Robert McGarvey

Robert McGarvey

A blogger and speaker, Robert McGarvey is a longtime journalist who has covered credit unions extensively, notably for Credit Union Times as well as the New York Times and TheStreet, ... Web: www.mcgarvey.net Details