It’s that time of year again: planning season. As kids finish up their Halloween candy stashes and the local stores are rolling out their turkeys and tinsel, we’re anticipating all the new and exciting activities to tackle in the new year.
Every year, marketers have new trends and technology to consider incorporating into their plans. Some of them are quick fads, while others signal a shift in what consumers expect from their interactions with businesses and brands. As you’re finalizing your marketing calendars and budgets for 2020, here are 4 trends likely to stick around that you can take advantage of now.
Consumers have gotten really good at filtering out generic ads and marketing. However, in this era of technology and availability of data, marketers are able to offer increasingly more personalized experiences that consumes are receptive to.
Most credit unions are naturally member-centric, so personalized marketing is a great fit and can help us improve member retention as well as campaign ROI. This style of marketing means the offer should be for a product, service, or piece of advice that is a good fit for the member at the time they are receiving it and delivered using a preferred channel.
How to use this trend:
Get to know your member segments as well as you know your friends. Beyond basic demographics, you also want to understand their psychographics – the things they truly care about so you know how you can fit into their lives to help them achieve their personal goals.
Because when a member doesn’t have an auto loan with the credit union, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be interested in financing or refinancing. Instead of pushing products, we can make suggestions based on what we know about the member’s goals, challenges, and behaviors. That member may be happy with the public transportation in their city, but loves world travel and would benefit from the travel rewards card you offer.
When you send your messages, don’t forget to use imagery and a tone that resonates so the recipient knows you’ve done your research and can truly add value to their lives in a two-sided relationship.
Digital channels work particularly well for personalization. Use dynamic fields in emails to add the member’s name and show them content specific to their account and service usage. Additionally, trigger follow ups based on the content they engage with on your website, on social media or in previous emails so you can further the conversation.
- Consumer Privacy
While consumers are willing to share information in exchange for more personalized experiences, they are also concerned about the security of their sensitive information. And this isn’t surprising after years of major data breaches from insurance companies, retailers and credit bureaus – followed by more breaches of trust with social media and tech companies.
Members understand that we have a lot of data about them and that some loss of privacy is the cost of banking and being a part of our connected society. What they want to be reassured of is that 1) they have some control over how their information is being used and 2) we are using the data we have responsibly.
How to use this trend:
Data security could be a differentiator for you if you are confident in your protection of member information. You can already see Apple using security as a selling point to separate from the pack. The key here is transparency and being able to live up to your promise.
Let members know what they can expect from you. You already have most, if not all, of this information in your privacy policies. Share the key points with members like you do any of your other strengths. They will appreciate knowing they’re working with a financial institution that has integrity and their well-being at heart.
- Chatbots, AI and Messaging
We can certainly expect to see more artificial intelligence incorporated in just about every sector in the near future. One place where AI is being adopted in financial services is with smart devices and chatbots on websites, social media, and mobile apps.
Something marketers can get excited about with AI is that we gain an increased ability to serve members 24/7. Chatbots can perform many operations, plus get answers to member’s questions without being threatening or intimidating. They also free up the time of team members to engage in relationship development activities.
How to use this trend:
Work with your IT team to continually improve upon the experience and let members know all of the functionality available to them. Make sure you’re shifting to respond to longer keywords and phrases that are more frequently used when someone is talking to a smart device. You can also give a whole personality to your credit union’s chatbot and smart device character so members still feel like they’re connecting with you and your brand.
Start with being able to respond to basic questions and prompts like “what were my last 3 transactions?” Make it easier for the member to get the information they’re looking for by asking follow up questions and making suggestions. If the user asks “what kind of credit cards do you have?” a good response could be “are you interested in low interest, cash back or rewards?” followed by the relevant information and then help with submitting an application through the bot. Think about what the user is really hoping to do and use that to guide service development.
- Interactive Content
Content has been a hot topic in marketing for a little while and we will continue to see high-quality content being developed with interactive components. Interactive content takes marketing content like blog and social media posts to a new level by being more engaging and customized to the particular person using it.
As more businesses showcase their expertise and value using content strategies, you can stand out and keep members or potential members looking at your work by adding an interactive element that allows for a two-way dialogue.
How to use this trend:
Some of the easy ways to engage your audience include quizzes and polls – two things you may have already been playing with in your marketing. Social media is a great place for quick polls to get members talking and to gain insight on a topic in which you’re interested.
Take it a step farther by asking for quiz input so you can offer a customized solution to the member based on their preferences and current state. Videos can have hotspots added so members can click for more information or trigger a specific clip to play next in a “choose your own adventure” style of how-to video.
Quizzes, polls and video can all be worked in as an interactive part of a longer-form piece of content like a blog post meant for awareness or engagement. With interaction, you can get the conversation started about how to customize the right solution for that specific member.
While working on end-of-year reports, make graphics and statistics more engaging by adding sliders, clickable hotspots or video. This is a fun way to do something new, highlight the amazing work your team has done over the last year, and get members to notice some of the major credit union objectives and accomplishments.
As always, have fun with your marketing and make it special by thinking about all the ways you can creatively connect with members for a more personalized experience. They’ll certainly appreciate your efforts and you’ll see it in the results.