Three ways to accelerate growth because your competitors aren’t holding back

If your credit union’s marketing and sales plans are hitting the runway with last year’s wardrobe, those same threads of rinse and repeat marketing tactics are likely to result in “meh” growth and status quo member experience.

With limited resources, marketing investment is too often on the chopping block before it can emerge as a growth lever to serve members and capture prospects. Testing innovation must go beyond dropping mail or email to the same audience with a different headline or image. While champion formulas are worth repeating, the rest of the crowd is focused on leapfrogging you to acquire your members if you choose to retreat.

With the headwinds of a shrinking mortgage market, lenders (banks, credit unions and nonbank fintechs) are competing for a smaller audience with increased gusto. Competiscan estimates over 1.1B pieces of mail related to home financing were dropped into homeowners’ mailboxes in 2022, targeting your current credit union members. That’s an average of over five pieces per adult in the US over 18 years old. And if we look at where lending is growing, it becomes even more competitive. According to TransUnion, Home Equity Lending for HELOCs grew at 41% year-over-year in Q4 of 2022. And out of the 1.1B mailings last year, approximately 22% were focused on HELOCs and home equity!

So what can credit unions do to take part? Here are three ways to capture mindshare and wallets: 

  1. Become BFFs with marketing automation. Let data and triggers be your guide.
    • Signals of in-market or unmet needs rarely revolve around a preset marketing calendar. Martech and adtech partners can help optimize campaign performance in real-time based on data, conversion goals, and signals. Digital and offline signals of member intent increase relevancy and efficiency of marketing investments to reduce the guesswork of “right time, right place, right message, and right offer” playbook.
    • Develop ongoing monitoring based on your ability to serve needs, then develop triggers for outreach. For instance, to capture the HELOC market, there are bulk Automated Valuation Models that can provide insight into members with tappable equity. Create actionable audience segments that can trigger prequal campaigns based on implicit and explicit signals of need.
  2. Lean into member experience as your advantage. Leverage technology for quick wins.
    • Member experience expectations are higher than ever and fintech nonbank lenders have been aggressively catering to the on-demand culture. One of the quickest wins is to focus on fintech partners that can modernize the experience. Imagine if your credit union goes from a 45 day loan processing cycle, down to five days or less. Imagine if borrowers didn’t have to inquire about the status of their loan. No doubt member satisfaction is increased the faster you can deliver on their needs. Speed and frictionless process becomes the new bar that elevates your credit union’s marketing message with the same proof points used by the largest nonbank lenders.
  3. Give space and grace to your marketing team. Be aggressive and bold with testing.
    • Bland and boring may be safe, but you seldom win in a sea of sameness. Give your marketing team the space and grace to try new approaches. Align on KPI-driven learning agendas and create an environment that encourages fail-forward approaches. By approaching testing with intention and metrics, you can align to growth and efficiency goals that drive the business.
    • Close your eyes on rollercoasters, but not on what your members see. Use a competitor tool like Competiscan to review the landscape of offers, incentives, and examples from all competitors (national and local) so you know what you are competing with within your field of membership.

You’re not alone if you’re worried about resources, budget, efficiency and at the same time, feeling pressure to meet member demand. Rather than retreating, these pressures can be harnessed to increase the effectiveness to serve members. Investing in CUSO relationships to quickly fill capability gaps, is one of the fastest ways credit unions can stay relevant amidst competitive pressures.

Jill Skinner

Jill Skinner

Jill Skinner is the Chief Marketing Officer at Coviance (formerly LenderClose), a CUSO fintech company on a mission to perfect the lending experience for community lenders and borrowers through automation ... Web: Details