A case for values-led marketing

Credit union executives regularly ask me, “how do we stand out when we have so much competition?” There is no easy answer to that question because every credit union is different. Their memberships are different. Their communities are different. Their SEGs are different. Their budgets…the list goes on and on.

In the 18 years I have been working in this industry as a credit union marketing VP and now as a consultant, the days of focusing solely on low rates and products have changed, especially now that we are mid-pandemic.

While companies have quickly jumped ship on “we are here for you during this time” messaging for COVID, focusing on values and caring has always been a tenet of the way credit unions position themselves on the “about us” pages of their websites. But what about the rest of their marketing? Until the last year or two…not so much.

Most of the clients we have worked with at TwoScore have been with us since I started this company in 2014 and, in that time, we’ve built successful marketing programs for dozens of credit unions of varying sizes, fields of memberships, and charters to help them “punch above their weight” and compete with larger financial institutions in their communities.

Many of them had not ever had consistent marketing programs, so their loans and membership numbers increased rapidly. To continue the positive momentum and growth, we also worked with them on employee engagement tactics to help leverage employees in the marketing process. After all, employees are credit unions’ biggest assets, especially when it comes to marketing.

Our credit union clients consistently outperform their peer-sized credit unions in loan growth, membership growth, and growth in average member relationship. Why? Because values are the cornerstones of their strategies.

Membership growth in particular is one of the hardest nuts to crack from a marketing standpoint, and committing sufficient dollars on acquiring new members is not possible for a lot of credit unions due to budgetary constraints. Therefore, we focus on the members who have already said “yes” to the credit union as a member and engage them for adoption of other products and services.

Here’s a case study from just one credit union we began working with in 2016, employing all of these strategies with their values at the center stage:

  • 22% decrease in member attrition from January 2017 – December 2019
  • 97% increase in lending from 2017 – 2019 in auto loans, home equity loans, home mortgage loans, and personal loans
  • 69% reduction in loan runoff from 2017 – 2019

Across all of our clients, here are some average statistics from these strategies:

All clients

  • 28% greater growth in average member relationships compared to all U.S. credit unions
  • Average of 30.34% loan portfolio growth from beginning of relationship with TwoScore

Credit Unions $20 – $50 million

  • 71% greater membership growth vs. peer credit unions

Credit Unions $50 – $100 million

  • 823% greater membership growth vs. peer credit unions
  • 15% greater net income vs. peer credit unions
  • 61% greater year-over-year growth in average member relationships vs. peer credit unions

Values-focused marketing takes consistency and patience, but it is a great way to maximize your budget, align your employees and managers around common goals and vision, and differentiate your credit union from competitors.

Amanda Thomas

Amanda Thomas

Amanda is founder and president of TwoScore, a firm that channels her passion for the credit union mission and people to help credit unions under $100 million in assets reach ... Web: www.twoscore.com Details