If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else

This is one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes and I have always thought it would be fun to use it in a strategic planning discussion.  So if you consider this a part of your summertime reading list we can have some fun with what is normally a serious business topic. 

This quote by Yogi seems to illustrate the strategic challenge credit unions face as they begin to use member data to drive new marketing initiatives and to improve their member’s overall experience.  Implementing data driven marketing is an organization-wide project that includes the technology to collect and analyze data, as well as, automated marketing platforms to deliver a relevant/timely/personalized digital experience for members of your credit union.  Successfully implementing a project of this scope is clearly a challenge for any organization.     

As many of you have no doubt experienced, implementing these projects can be long and complex; involving teams of people in and outside your organization.  During the course of the project these teams make hundreds of tactical decisions, on their own, implementing your new data marketing platform. How can you make sure this myriad of decisions will be consistent with your vision?  Will you arrive at your destination….or someplace else?   

That brings us to two critical questions:

  • What is your vision or “project destination” for building a data-driven marketing function?
  • How do you manage your project to make sure you arrive at your destination?

Your Vision 

To make sure you create the data marketing platform that best serves your organization, all potential stakeholders will need to be able to voice their specific business requirements. This part of the process has many potential pitfalls.  An outside facilitator working with your team provides one of the best ways to resolve conflicts and to set priorities when it comes to determining the appropriate set of functional requirements for your credit union.   

Be sure to choose a facilitator with extensive data-driven marketing experience in the financial services industry and who will also take the time to understand your organization.  Your vision should incorporate factors that include your organization’s growth strategy, core operating capabilities, resources and sales/service culture.  Cookie cutter approaches rarely provide an effective long-term solution.  

When crafting your vision it’s important to remember that data driven marketing impacts how every member facing department in your organization will operate.  Generally speaking data changes the way you approach marketing; meaning new strategies will focus on each member’s financial needs and not just pushing products.  Armed with data-driven sales tools your associates will begin to develop new and more effective ways to offer members the products and services they need.  

Make sure you don’t arrive “someplace else”    

It’s important to create a project management structure where stakeholders have ownership and they clearly understand the desired outcome (destination) for your project. Using project management tools like Basecamp, assigning a dedicated project coordinator and frequent (brief) update meetings will improve the chances your project will stay on the right track.  Assigning a Project Implementation Manager, preferably someone from the senior management team also increases your chances for success. This person becomes “the face” of your project and provides a point of contact for associates from other member facing departments to resolve issues and provide education/training on the new data strategies.  

It’s critical that your destination should include the ability to quantify both the revenue and expense components of member relationships with your organization.  Building data driven marketing programs with a strong ROI makes your strategy sustainable; supporting long-term future growth and the ability to provide more advantageous pricing for underserved members.

Frank Koechlein

Frank Koechlein

Frank Koechlein is the President at Empower Your Analytics and coauthor of the marketing resource book “The New Marketing Analytics”. Frank has over 40 years of marketing experience in the ... Web: empoweryouranalytics.com Details

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