CFCU’s Marketing Manager, Rebekah Monroe, talks about the implementation process and member & staff response
Larky sat down to chat with Rebekah Monroe, Marketing Manager of Christian Financial Credit Union (CFCU), about the launch of Community CA$H, their branded version of Larky’s mobile discount platform. With assets of $323 million, CFCU has seven branches around Roseville, Michigan. CFCU rolled out its member loyalty program (including a mobile loyalty app and website) to its 40,000 members during the last week of November 2014.
Q: Why did you feel that a member loyalty program was important for CFCU?
A: Competition is fierce for our members’ wallet share. We knew that in order to gain and maintain top-of-wallet status with our membership, we needed to do something to build more loyalty in our credit and debit card products.
Q: Why was CFCU interested in a mobile discount program like Larky?
A: Our CEO, Patty Campbell, is a very forward thinking leader. She sits on Filene’s Research Council, and she’s always pushing us to be on the forefront of innovation and technology. When she met the founders of Larky, Andrew Bank and Gregg Hammerman, Patty was intrigued. Then when Larky became part of the Filene Impact Pilot for 2014, she knew CFCU needed to take the lead to be one of the first to launch the Larky platform.
Q: What are your top goals for the program?
A: We would like to increase share of wallet and drive interchange revenue. Supporting local businesses (by offering local discounts) is a great side effect of the program.
Q: Did Community CA$H replace a rewards program CFCU already had in place?
A: Our members are entitled to some benefits through the Invest in America program and CashBack rewards through our credit card product, but we’ve never had anything like Larky’s program.
Q: Why did you feel it necessary to go beyond your existing credit card points-based rewards?
A: Our members like the CashBack rewards, but Larky allowed us the opportunity to do something different than our competitors. We can’t offer the breadth of rewards that big credit card companies and banks can offer, since we’re a smaller, local institution. But this can help us stand out and give us a competitive edge. Plus, the feel of the program is local, just like us. We’ve maintained a mantra for several years that “we’re main street, not wall street.” This helps us reinforce this brand.
(The image above is an ATM screen graphic promoting the member discount program.)
Q: Who was involved in decision-making and implementation?
A: We brought together a team from our marketing and payments areas. We also included business development as we wanted our small business members to participate in the program by offering discounts and perks to our members. It also shows our support for our small business members, since we’re sending them new customers.
Q: Was compliance approval an obstacle?
A: No, not at all. Since the transactions in Community CA$H happen outside our institution, there is no information shared between us and the merchants. Members are using our credit/debit cards for which they have already received the necessary disclosures. There is no member data that is stored by Larky, so we didn’t have to worry too much about compliance issues.
Q: Where did the name Community CA$H come from?
A: Our goal with the name was to reflect CFCU’s image, as a community supporter and advocate for small business, plus we wanted to add a little of Larky’s fun spirit to the program. The marketing team came up with some initial names, but none of them quite hit the mark, so we decided to ask all of our employees for ideas. In fact, we made it into a friendly competition, and a prize was awarded to the winner – we love “Community CA$H.”
Q: How did you get staff buy in? And how did you make sure they knew how to use the program?
A: We launched Community CA$H with our staff three weeks before we rolled it out to our members, so they were our test group. First the Larky team came on-site to do a fun training session during a staff meeting. We also posted Community CA$H information on our intranet and added it to our new staff training process. During testing, our staff members found bugs, asked good questions, and made sure everything worked with participating merchants. Larky was great about fixing glitches and reworking things, so the program was easy and intuitive to use. The response was positive all along, which got the implementation team excited about rolling the program out to our members.
We also provided a rewarding incentive to use the program with another staff contest. When employees made a purchase at a local merchant in the Community CA$H program, they brought in their receipts as an “entry ticket.” Each receipt entered them in a drawing to fully reimburse the amount of their purchase.
(The image above is window sticker for participating merchants.)
Q: Could you explain the launch process with your members?
A: Sure. We promoted Community CA$H in all kinds of ways – including a video, signage in our branches, and in emails to our members.
A local vendor helped us create an instructional video. Initially, that video was a pop-up that users had to read when they visited our website to get rates, log in to Online Banking, or just browse. The video is still on our homepage and on our YouTube channel.
Our team also developed clever signage for our branches. We developed large wall graphics that resemble the inside of the app and a large cardboard cutout that explains what the app is and how to download it. Of course, because our staff has been using the program, they are comfortable discussing Community CA$H too. We also included information about Community CA$H and a link to the video in e-mails to all of our members. (Here’s a peek at the video.)
Q: What metrics are you watching to gauge the return on your investment?
A: Well, we just launched the program right before Thanksgiving, as a way to say “thank you” to our members and help them save money during their holiday shopping, so it’s pretty early to try to measure usage. Right now we’re tracking downloads of the app, hits on the microsite page, and comments in the app store. Later this year we’ll do a study of our members to see how Community CA$H impacted card usage and loyalty.
Q: One last question – what would you call the Larky mascot? A monster, a Yeti, a Bumble, or something else entirely?
A: Hah, we refer to him as “The Little Yellow Larky Guy!”