We’ve spent the last year in a state of “hurry up and wait” as we’ve adapted to the challenges of living, working and running our credit unions during a worldwide pandemic. Throughout 2020 and still in the early days of 2021, shoes keep dropping (seriously, how big is the cosmic shoe closet anyway?). Planning for more than a week or month out has seemed pointless as the unexpected just keeps happening.
Now, there may actually be light at the end of this very long tunnel. Our focus needs to shift from the immediate, short-term needs to what we can be concentrating on now so we will be well-positioned post-pandemic. The conventional 4Ps of marketing are: promotion, place, product, and price. But with everything over the last year, traditional wisdom has needed refinement. Here are the 4Ps to focus on now to be ready post-pandemic.
Pain points: Find out, if you don’t know already, where the member pain points are and work to address them. Start by looking at the fundamental member experiences that drive revenue for your organization. Take the time now, to examine the top three to five member journeys to understand where there are obstacles and hiccups. Find opportunities to digitize steps in the process and, even more importantly, reduce the number of steps members must do. The only way to stay relevant today and into the future is to permanently commit to simplifying the member experience.
Procedures: Once you understand the pain points in the significant member journeys, take a dive into the details. Most of the time when we introduce a new product or service, we evaluate the risks, write the procedures, and go into set it and forget it mode. You have a wonderful opportunity now to take all the lessons learned during the pandemic and apply them to the review and revision of your procedures. This review doesn’t include the sweeping member journeys mentioned above, but rather the more detailed experiences such as limits and qualifications on remote deposit capture, the need for wet signatures, and limitations on new members and accounts.
Product: Consumers borrowing, saving, and spending habits have been pointedly altered as we’ve spent more time at home and significantly more money online over the last year. You should be asking yourself now, what products will members need post-pandemic and perhaps, more importantly, what products in your current line up need to be redesigned, refined, or outright sunsetted? Put credit cards at the top of your refinement list. Americans have been paying down balances during the pandemic and competition in payments has elevated with the surge of online transactions. Now, is a great time to simplify your card portfolio, redesign your offerings with a distinct value other than rate, and get ready for when your members will be happily using credit cards for in-person experiences and travel once again. Cards are a good place to start, but think about your auto loans, lines of credit, and even look to deposit products. Set your sights on simplification and do the work now so you are ready to promote your refreshed product line post-pandemic.
(Value) Proposition: Normally, the 4Ps of marketing contain the concept of price. However, as we continue to live in the environment of “how low can you go” when it comes to rates, price is pretty irrelevant in your messaging. That is really good news, as it allows you to turn your attention and focus to your credit union’s value proposition. Message around your mission. Why do you do what you do? If you have tangible examples of that, such as paying an annual bonus dividend, a foundation that supports your members, or even a discount for having multiple loans with your credit union – message that. There is no better time than now to remind your members of why they do business with you. I once heard a speaker say, that he tries to live every day asking himself, “if I asked my wife to marry me today, would she still say yes.” Remind your members, by living your value proposition, why they said yes to membership and why you’ll keep asking in the future.