Now is the time to take advantage of your data

It’s safe to say that the member communications/marketing plans put in place for the first quarter of 2020 have long been forgotten.  Since March of this year the Coronavirus has been responsible for unprecedented transformations in almost every aspect of member marketing, communications and servicing.  The rapid pace of these changes has astonished and confounded the management teams of many credit unions.    

In response to the pandemic, member product and service needs will rapidly shift over the next 12-24 months.  This shift will create market opportunities for financial institutions that can successfully pivot in the short term.  Successful credit unions are overlaying identified Coronavirus needs to their existing member segmentation.  This will become increasingly important as a broad group of members find themselves underbanked as a result of the pandemic. This strategy will position your organization for growth in both the intermediate and longer term.  The difficulty of getting this data is compounded by the unique set of operational challenges currently facing credit unions.    

The opportunity presented by using this data is to redefine marketing strategies in the short-term and to be prepared for the eventual new normal.   Successful credit unions will take advantage of this short period of disruption, by deciphering shifts in member behaviors, and using this knowledge to build strategies that will impact longer-term product preferences and brand loyalties. 

There’s no previous experience to fall back on that will help guide your team on how to communicate with members during a period of time like the last 7 months.  Now it’s more important than ever to measure behaviors, when possible, and listen intently to your members.  In this time of flux it is important to use this information as the basis for adjustments to marketing, product and communications to meet these shifting needs.   The stakes are high, your members are adapting to a new reality that will impact their preferences for the products they need, advice and guidance, as well as, the voice of your brand. 

It’s important to begin identifying and measuring every possible individual shift in member behavior and testing to determine the impact of each to optimally manage member relationships.  For many credit unions this pivot is a big challenge.  The difficulty of this challenge is evidenced by the fact that many have made only modest adjustments to their pre-coronavirus marketing plans.  However, there are exceptions, Navy FCU under the leadership of Pam Piligian, SVP of Marketing & Communications has looked beyond the immediate operational challenges and used data to improve personalization.  This helps create a new focus on member experiences beyond just daily transactions.  It’s a great case study and can provide insights to help you navigate the current environment.

The accelerated use of social media, mobile applications and digital marketing channels is directly tied to the increased need for remote member servicing.  In this environment the collection of data from member banking behaviors will be even more critical to understanding your member’s motives moving forward.  Less face-to-face member interactions offers less opportunities to “know” your members and is replaced by behavior tracking, data appends and research to create successful member programs.   

The Coronavirus has your members struggling to find a safe and trusted place to find solutions.  Be careful to be very transparent with the way you use member data.  This area can have a downside and it’s possible to lose the trust of your members.  As consumers get fatigued with the lack of transparency surrounding the coronavirus they can become uncertain of your motives if they perceive you’re putting profits first and/or lack a strong community commitment. 

So in short, member data helps your organization develop targeted content; delivering truly relevant and useful communications to prospects and members.  The ability to target relevant content helps members solve their specific financial issues and, as a consequence, build trust in your brand. 

With the additional challenges of workplace safety, staffing and member servicing, building a data-driven strategy can seem like an impossible task for 2020.  We’ve created a relatively straightforward process and it’s articulated in the New Marketing Analytics a book I published David Dirks (VP Marketing at HVCU).  There is a project guide based on the book and it is a great project management tool for teams who want to begin using data.  If you would like a free e-copy, send me an email [] and I will be happy to send one out to you.

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: Details