Credit unions might be not-for-profit cooperatives, but the point of successful marketing is to increase your bottom line by growing your top line.
That means paying attention to member engagement. Ultimately, your measure of successful member engagement is whether member activities are ever increasing their contribution to revenue. The key is to understand and measure member behaviors that are profitable, productive and will grow your revenue streams.
Think of member engagement as the intersection of a member using your credit union, having an affinity for your credit union and feeling compelled to advocate for your credit union. Engaged members have real financial value that transcends their decision to do business with you beyond price or even convenience. If growth is your goal, focusing on member engagement is the path.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Identify your members’ why: You need to understand the primary reason your members choose to do business with you. This can be done simply with an annual member survey. Ask your members what is the most important reason they do business with you. If the answer doesn’t align with your core purpose and strategy, you need to re-tool your message.
You may already have an idea why your target market does business with you, but you want to make sure your marketing messages are resonating. There is a lesson in statistics that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, just because two things are correlated, one might not be caused by the other. When it comes to the members’ why, you need to know the difference.
- Measure engagement: Member engagement can be hard to quantify if you don’t have the appropriate measures in place. You need to first ensure that what you are measuring is actually helping you make marketing decisions that can increase your response rate, determine perceived value and increase loyalty for reasons other than price and convenience.
Set up metrics that measure results and then carefully research what messages are causing the desired responses from your target market. As you review the results, look for root causes for success or failure. It could be the messaging for one product area is falling flat. It could also be that the service delivery of a particular product is preventing success. Year over year, you will have a clear picture of where you are making progress and where you are not.
- Understand member behavior: We all know that members will respond to lower prices, but if this is your only strategy for growth, you are swimming in shark infested waters with competitors that have larger economies of scale and can beat you at the low-price game.
To really grow long-term, you need to establish metrics that measure your members’ response and affinity beyond price. There’s a difference between having credit cards in your portfolio and understanding how members use them. Members choosing to pull your card out of their wallet to make purchases is the behavior that creates your top line growth.
To truly measure your marketing’s effectiveness and the extent of your brand’s awareness, you need to measure your members’ engagement level. If you are not striving for this, you are leaving money on the table and missing the ability to grow both your top and bottom line.