How Credit Union Marketers Take Control of Their Marketing

3 min read

credit union marketers

There are over 5,000 credit unions in the US vying to grow their membership base and increase their assets. However, competition from banks and non-traditional digital banks is fierce. At the center of the goalpost are Millennials and the new-gen members who seek a seamless highly personalized customer experience, across physical and digital channels.

Today, it is common for a credit union (CU) marketer to have to manage multiple channels to grab the attention of each member. Mobile apps, web-based applications, voice calling systems, chatbots, and more, there are a lot of balls to juggle in order to meet the needs of different member personas.

To manage the channels and all of their data flowing in from different interfaces, marketers often use a combination of tools known as the “martech stack” which includes CRM, a marketing automation tool, a programmatic ad campaign management tool, optimization tool, heatmaps, and the list goes on.

The list of marketing tools and technologies in the stack keeps growing. Unfortunately, the efficiency to the extent that is promised with each new tool often remains unfulfilled. Instead, the growing tech stack leads to chaotic customer experience with weakness in the conversion and experience funnel. Skewed and unidentified customer data are a big part of the problem. So it is left to marketers on how to interpret and structure data within the organization.

The solution lies in ‘Data’

Data is everywhere. But the data that matters to marketers and talks to customers is nowhere.

Imagine how your members learn about your credit union. It could begin with a Facebook or Twitter post and then move to find reviews from friends, subscribing to an email list, and back to the website followed by retargeted ads and follow-up calls. The journey is unique to each customer between the online and offline layers of marketing communication.

Every member perceives your credit union in their own way, different on each marketing channel and multiple interactions. This means that customer data inherently needs to be unified for a marketer’s consumption, based on the unique experience of each member at every stage of the buyer’s journey. To optimize the member’s experience, scattered data needs to be bound together with a single view and made accessible across different systems, for controlled and real-time access to the team within the credit union. This is the best way to ensure you can deliver the highly personal levels of marketing messages your current and potential new members expect.

Single Marketing System of Intelligence

A Customer Data Platform (CDP), is a cloud-based solution can easily integrate with both digital and legacy customer channels. Unlike other sectors, marketing technology within a credit union has to interact with fintech technologies such as biometrics for transactions completion, digital payment tools, credit score managers, etc.

CDPs can intelligently stitch together disparate data to create unified customer profiles. These profiles contain a treasure trove of data points from every step in the customer’s journey which enables marketers to deliver highly personalized and targeted messages.

Omnichannel customer experience, personalization, building a loyal and affluent member base are some of the most accepted solutions that promise growth to credit unions.

An Ernst & Young Consumer Banking Survey confirmed that omnichannel experience is one of the key areas for improvement among banks. The survey stated, “To stay competitive, banks and credit unions need to continue building out channel capabilities to provide 24/7 real-time access to banking, seamlessly, across channels.”

Studies show that 81 percent of credit union members report being highly satisfied with their services as they deliver a “higher touch” level of service than their larger bank counterparts and are more personalized to meet their needs.

A CDP can provide CU marketers with in-depth insights of their members, enabling them to create highly refined target segments based on a multitude of attributes that are mapped to personas. This means that campaigns across the board, whether for new customer acquisition, loyalty, or cross-selling would benefit and return higher ROIs than today’s mostly “spray and pray” approach.  

Take Control of Your Marketing

Marketers hold all the cards in achieving a marketing ecosystem that create amazingly memorable member experiences. To do so, you need to drive the success and sales of multiple products such as credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc. You need to build a mindset that moves away from multi-channel to omnichannel experience for your members.

CDPs integrate easily, can be set up quickly, and do not require large up-front investments or heavy IT involvement. As a result, they can be entirely owned by marketing (and fit in marketing’s budget).

With amendments made to Section 326 of the USA PATRIOT Act and the introduction of the US privacy model, customer identities and first-hand customer data privacy also become the priority of a marketer. CDPs should be private-by-design conforming to these practices.

Not all CDPs are created equal, and choosing the right one requires a bit of education. However, given all of the benefits they provide, it won’t be long before we start seeing CDPs as an integral part of every forward-looking credit unions marketing technology stack.