Growth-Driven Marketing Ideas for CUs in 2022

 

There are dozens of reasons credit unions run marketing campaigns. Your board of directors could be having you focus on increasing current member engagement, introducing new products or services, and overall growth.

Many credit unions are focusing on a growth-driven marketing track as we move through 2022. Now that businesses, suppliers, and global economies are slowly recovering as we get further and further from the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic, we can focus on recouping some of that growth and expansion time that we lost over the last two years.

In that spirit, our team here at IMS wanted to share some growth-driven marketing ideas and strategies for credit unions to use before the year is up.

Break Down Silos & Create a Holistic Marketing Strategy

In a recent episode of the CUNA News Podcast, James Gilbert shared his thoughts on the importance of using your data and assets to create a unified front when it comes to growth-driven marketing strategies.

When it comes to creating a marketing strategy, many credit unions use a top-down approach, where the board of directors or executive staff share their plans and goals. While this is a great start, certain initiatives will take priority over others, and that means the resources used to successfully market your credit union will be divided unevenly.

This is a good thing! If you are focusing your credit union marketing on increasing the number of loans, there should be efforts from other sectors within your CU that are also supporting that. Your social media and credit card usage personnel will need to create cohesive messaging that speaks to your current goals.

In a perfect world, growth happens across all channels – you increase the number of members, loans, credit cards, savings accounts, etc. all at once. But because trends in personal financial management change rapidly, your marketing strategy must account for those things too.

Embracing Omnichannel Solutions

In today’s vastly connected digital landscape, omnichannel communication is crucial to your growth-driven marketing.

Omnichannel marketing means your credit union brand is reaching members and prospects through multiple communication channels, which can include text, social media, phone calls, email, print ads, and video assets.

Giving your members access to you via multiple touchpoints can help you reach a more diverse crowd – they’ll feel comfortable using their preferred methods to interact with your brand, rather than having to go out of their way to download new apps or create new user accounts on separate platforms to enjoy your content and services.

Focus on Personalization

Today, consumers – whether they’re shopping for a pair of shoes or a new home – are looking for solutions that fit them – personalization is a great way to take your credit union marketing to the next level and reach more people.

Think of marketing your credit union the way you’d market a home – every home has unique offerings, and every buyer is looking for certain features in the home they want to purchase.

The same is true in any B2C relationship – your credit union has to show each member that you are here to solve their specific problems and offer personalized products, services, and assistance.

Personalization can also be automated – you can create campaigns just for those members who are looking for a car loan, or who recently opened a checking account or signed up for your credit card. Rather than a generic “Thanks for doing business with us!” message, you can tailor print materials, emails, and chat messages to include specific details and insights about where they are in their personal financial journey.

Cross-Promotion, Not Cross-Posting

Your credit union marketing might include a host of different platforms, tools, and social media accounts. And each of these platforms should be seen as unique, just like your members are unique. When your members log onto their social media accounts and apps, they have different goals with each one.

And your growth-driven marketing campaigns should take this into account. Cross-promotion is the act of taking similar marketing content or messages and tailoring them to the platform you are featuring them on. Many credit unions and other businesses make the mistake of posting the exact same things across all their public platforms – this is called cross-posting.

And while cross-posting does get your brand out there and on people’s feeds, it’s not serving each platform effectively.

An in-depth LinkedIn post about how to prevent credit card fraud, for example, should be created with a much different message than an Instagram or Twitter post. Though this seems like it should be common knowledge, social media marketing is time-consuming, and it will often feel easier to create one message and one graphic, and then share them across your CU’s accounts.

But if your credit union marketing strategies are aimed toward member growth, cross-promotion can make each post on each platform that much more powerful!

As Your CU Grows, So Does Your Data – IMS Data Discovery Solutions Can Help

With credit union growth comes the growth of your data as well. But storage is only half the battle because the data you collected has significant value. It can help you understand your members and your business operations more comprehensively.

Many growth-driven marketing strategies rely on data and analytics to create targeted campaigns intended to reach the best audience for your business while offering your members and prospects content that they view as valuable.

The IMS DataArchiver is a great tool for managing and storing your data efficiently without breaking the bank. This SaaS solution can save up to 80% of primary data storage costs while still protecting your data from ransomware and other threats, giving you built-in data comprehension, deduplication, and visualization tools.

Anyone at your credit union may access the DataArchiver through a secure portal that includes full-text search capabilities, audit trails, and more.

Use your data and IMS’s private cloud solutions to work smarter, not harder this year. 


6 CU Tips for National Credit Education Month

 

 

March is National Credit Education Month! This is a great time to help educate your credit union members about credit health, establishing credit, and much more.

Younger generations of credit union and banking members are more inclined to use debit solutions. But credit is an important facet of financial health, and this is the month to highlight your CU solutions.

Here are some of our favorite tips for celebrating National Credit Education Month.

Focus on Providing Credit Education

One thing that credit unions do better than any other financial institution is educating members. The secrets to credit health aren’t hoarded within the vaults of your CU; you are here to help your members create the best version of their financial lives.

Focus on providing resources to your member base. This could include helping them determine the best online sites for free credit scores and monitoring or enrolling them in specific classes or webinars to help boost their credit confidence.

Many Gen Z members and younger Millennials are hoping to buy their first homes in the next several years. And many of them don’t have enough established lines of credit to qualify for home loans. Now is the perfect time to help educate them on how to create and manage these lines of credit responsibly.

Offer classes or online resources (blog articles, infographics) about:

  • different types of installment loans
  • revolving credit
  • home equity
  • hard versus soft inquiries
  • collections
  • how to deal with errors in your credit
  • and more

And don’t forget to include any educational assets that are unique to or created by your credit union itself.

Help Members Make Plans to Improve Their Credit Score This Year

After educating your audience, you can help them incorporate these newfound concepts into real-life practices.

It’s been another tough year for your members. More COVID-implemented protections are being rolled back, including the resumption of federal student loan payments expected to begin on May 1, 2022.

There are many steps you can advise your members to take that will create good credit momentum, including:

  • Setting up automatic payments
  • Paying down balances
  • Addressing, negotiating, or disputing debt that is in collections
  • Getting a small 6 to 24-month “credit builder” loan
  • Opting for secure credit cards
  • Keeping old credit accounts open even if you’re not using them

Practical tips and “life hack” style advice are not just trendy clickbait. They’re also impactful for those struggling to get back on their feet after the economic disasters of the last few years. Offer your members some hope this year and use National Credit Education Month to help them spring forward into a better year!

Credit Tracking

Those Credit Karma commercials were right – many people still don’t know what constitutes a hard or soft check on your credit. National Credit Education Month is a great time to feature helpful tools for checking credit that don’t impact a member’s credit score.

You can create blog or social media content comparing the different free websites and tools that are available. You can also offer consultations and educational sessions to help members navigate their credit score tracking journeys.

Offer Budgeting Courses

Your credit union likely already has staff members who are well-versed in helping your members learn how to budget. Or maybe you have budget templates available for those who are interested. Either way, a successful budget education and implementation can change a credit union member’s life. And you are already likely putting in the work to help educate your members on how to budget, so why not highlight those services this month?

Tailor E-Statements to Include More Credit Insights

Another quick way to help celebrate National Credit Education Month is to include more credit-related insights, tips, and tricks on your members’ e-statements. This gives them personalized information about their credit health and adds value to your membership offerings.

This can be done in conjunction with social media posts, email campaigns, and more quick reference materials that encourage your audience to connect with professionals at your credit union.

Educate Your Staff

Speaking of credit union professionals, your staff is another great resource for this month. Offer them some additional education on providing insights to your members about credit checks, resources, and more.

If your staff is encouraged to learn or re-learn this information, your members will benefit from that education too.

Credit Union Solutions: Data Discovery & Storage

We are in a data crisis. There is so much data being generated and stored via various channels that intersect with your credit union. It’s impossible for your staff to keep up without help. That’s why IMS offers targeted technology, tailored specifically to credit union operations.

The IMS DataArchiver saves up to 80% of primary storage costs, and significantly reduces backup times. Our solution is scalable to manage unlimited file servers in a distributed environment with zero disruption to end-users.


Tips for Increasing Member Engagement This Holiday Season

 

Before the end of September, retailers were putting out Christmas decorations. As the debate about when it’s “appropriate” to start shopping and planning for the holiday season rages, it feels worse than normal this year, and there’s a reason for that. Tons of news outlets and retailers are echoing the same sentiment: shop early this year, as the last 18 months have caused supply shortages in many industries. Here are some ways to increase member engagement this holiday season, and you should start doing them right now.

Prepaid Cards

Gift cards and cash are at the top of many people’s lists this year. Financial hardships still abound as we try to combat the global effects of the coronavirus pandemic, from supply shortages to labor shortages and more.

Prepaid cards can also be used to help your members budget for their holiday spending. They can be used in-store and online, and they can mitigate risk for users because they aren’t tied to any specific bank accounts. With more and more online scammers building websites that trick and mislead customers, the holiday season will likely see its fair share of digital fraud and theft.

The convenience and cybersecurity benefits of prepaid cards are undeniable. It’s a great way help your member start their Christmas shopping off right.

Highlight Community Outreach

Giving is a big part of the holiday season, and your credit union should take advantage of that to showcase what your branches are doing to give back to your communities.

Use your social media platforms, onsite displays, and more to bring attention to the work your credit union does to take care of the families and friends in the area. You can do this by highlighting your 2021 efforts or creating new opportunities for community outreach before and during the holidays themselves. Take up specific causes, and make sure you are vocal about them online.

Promote Employee Holiday Cheer

Don’t forget about your staff! The best way to get your members in the holiday spirit is to show the cheer your employees have. 

Take a look at your usual events and ideas. Instead of allowing your staff to dress in their holiday best for one day, you can run a fun “contest” every Friday – invite your staff to get creative with holiday themes using their wardrobes, then post the top picks on social media and have your followers vote on the one with the best “holiday spirit.” That employee could win something small like a free lunch or gift card to a local business.

There are tons of ways to highlight the holidays for more than just a week or two!

Hold Giveaways

Another way to generate member engagement and community outreach is by holding giveaways before and during the different holidays. Bolster community ties by partnering with a different business every week or every holiday. Your members will discover new community gems they weren’t familiar with, and they’ll see that your business is committed to helping bring success to all area businesses. You could offer this to current business-facing credit union members first or create a Business Spotlight program that runs through the holiday season and brings attention to area businesses that do their banking with you.

Offer Holiday-Edition Financial Management Classes

86% of millennials overspend during the holidays – and that sets them back in the new year and beyond. You could help ease these burdens by offering some financial education opportunities that are specifically tailored to learning how to budget for the holidays, shopping tips, or even financial safety tips (how to tell if a retail website is “legit,” and other helpful topics). Member engagement can come from many places, and showing that you care about the financial health of your members – especially during this time of the year when money is flowing in unusual ways – can help them see that your brand is helpful and genuine in its efforts.

Have Yourself a Credit Union Christmas – Without Data Problems

IMS offers data backup and disaster recovery solutions – the holidays are the last time of the year when you want to have data problems. Our backup services are all-inclusive, to help you get back to taking care of your members during what is sure to be an interesting and uniquely challenging holiday season.

Contact IMS for more information.


Make Your Credit Union a Member’s Primary Financial Institution

 

Did you know that only 24% of credit union members currently view their credit union as their primary financial institution? Here are some strategies for making your credit union your members’ primary institution.

Push Your Member Experience Support to the Digital World

“Just Google it” is the motto of an entire generation. Rather than asking questions and being satisfied when they hear, “I don’t know” as the only answer, Millennials and Gen Z are tech-savvy and ready to use their internet connection to help them tackle anything that life throws at them.

This also means that customer service is now digital. Does your credit union have a dynamic member services FAQs page (with text and videos)? Are you hosting webinars for financial literacy and creating chatbot interfaces to help give your members support every time they come to your website?

The big shift to digital services that took place during the coronavirus pandemic is now set to be the primary method for getting anything and everything done.

Products and Services Aren’t Enough – You Need to Be Engaging

Today’s members aren’t looking for just a service, they’re looking for brands that want to understand and engage with them. They want to be able to contact your credit union or jump onto your website and find the best possible advice for their situation and needs. It’s no longer about facilitating a transaction but carrying on a conversation with your member’s needs.

Success in this engagement comes, first and foremost, through your employees. With the right training and data, your team can be the determining factor in making your credit union your members’ primary financial institution.

Personalization is Paramount

Part of that employee training needs to be based on how to incorporate personalization as often as possible. There is a reason that members are called “members” and not “customers.” Mass banking and automation are not the cornerstones of your business. The ability to make every member feel like a “regular” in your establishment is.

But having your staff try and remember the preferences of everyone who comes in your doors or uses your online services is impossible. But data storage and analysis can do that heavy lifting for you. You can look at trends in a member’s banking behavior, personal meetings or loan needs, and so much more when you have a solid data collection and storage process.

Going Digital Doesn’t Mean Forgoing Face-To-Face Interactions

With the focus on cutting-edge digital solutions, it’s easy to start thinking the physical aspects of your credit union – your lobbies, teller desks, and meeting rooms – will soon be obsolete. But in fact, many financial institutions have seen an 80% bounce-back of in-person transactions after they reopened their branches.

Members still crave in-depth conversations with your knowledgeable and professional teams. That face-to-face time is often how you, your teams, and the members learn incredibly important information about products, services, and how to best serve your members.

CUInsight has an incredible example in part 2 of their three-part series on increasing the number of members who consider your credit union their primary financial institution. In Scenario 1, a credit union team member pulls up the account opening checklist when a new member wants to sign up. Depending on what the checklist includes, the member may or may not get the things they need from their new account. But in Scenario 2, the credit union team member has been trained to see this new member’s presence as an opportunity to gain insight into the products and services the member needs right now, and possibly even discuss some things they will need in the future.

Great data solutions and training can help show members that your credit union deserves to be their primary financial institution.

IMS Has the Data Solutions

IMS is a leading provider of enterprise data protection solutions for credit unions. We can help you with everything from core hosting to disaster recovery, IaaS, and more.

Contact IMS for more information.


4 Ways to Leverage Credit Union Data

 

Credit union data is one of the best tools you have to serve your members. And data analytics are opening lots of doors for reaching select audiences and maximizing your business and marketing efforts. But like any tool, you have to know how to use it effectively. Here are four great ways to leverage credit union data.

Evaluate Your Segments

According to the Financial Brand, there are two main segmentation categories to prioritize: transactional data and behavioral data.

Transactional data, the largest for credit unions, includes everything from loan balances to account activity and can be captured through multiple channels like mobile apps, digital applications, and even in-person transactions. When assessing this data segment, it’s important to keep in mind the differences between your audiences – their preferences in transaction mediums (digital and otherwise), the breakdown of products and services being used by specific age groups, and more. If your transactional data segments aren’t producing the desired results, it might be time to re-evaluate, especially in light of the massive shift to online services since the coronavirus pandemic.

The other main segment to prioritize is behavioral data, which includes everything your members do that isn’t tied to a transaction – this includes things like spending habits, member experience touchpoints, things they need and want, and more. This data is typically captured on a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Just like with transactional data, take a look at your current practices to see if you can better leverage your credit union data.

Understand Your Data Systems

More than just looking at the data you are collecting, you also need to understand how your data is being collected and stored. A core system is a hub for your credit union data.

As mentioned above, your digital and CRM data, which are stored in your core system, are great assets. CRM data can give you insight into current member experience trends. You can use those trends to enhance and streamline your services to accommodate them.

Digital banking data across banking institutions have been showing a huge trend upward in the use of mobile banking services. This means a large amount of your data is now digital, and it should be standard practice to analyze this data on a regular basis so you can implement new and more efficient ways to service your members.

Analyze In-Person vs. Online Behaviors

Banks, and credit unions especially, still attract a lot of in-person business. In fact, it is one of the hallmarks of successful credit unions. Using your transactional and digital data, you cannot only optimize your members’ experience, but you can also use the insights to train and inform your staff so they can transform that data into more personable, targeted experiences for your valued members.

Enhance and Assess Cross-Selling Methods

Improving cross-selling processes is a great way to better engage your current customers, a crucial process in your credit union’s business.

We found this 4-step process for improving cross-selling:

  1. Define cross-selling and measure its effectiveness: Sell more products and services to existing customers by defining the goals and areas you want to target and improve.
  2. Establish clear metrics for measuring performance: Your employees will be the primary point of access for cross-selling. Leaders or managers must clearly define the goals and performance expected.
  3. Make marketing and cross-selling communications better and clearer: Customers are savvier than ever, and your credit union’s response to this should be to increase transparency when it comes to cross-selling. You want to offer personalized campaigns and protocols to increase engagement and selling.
  4. Reward employees who perform well: Your staff wants to serve your members, and if they do an exceptional job, you should reward that. Offering cross-selling incentives for your employees can also boost the effectiveness of cross-selling programs.

Leverage IMS’s Continuous Data Protection

Get rid of complex legacy backup systems and integrate multi-system solutions, such as data orchestration and catalog management, into a single software platform. With continuous data protection from IMS, your credit union can minimize downtime, scale-up architecture and save costs.

Contact us for more information.


5 Community Outreach Marketing Ideas for Credit Unions

 

Credit unions are unique in their positioning – they are financial institutions with a community-centered vision. This hometown, local feel is something that should be included in your marketing efforts. Nothing satisfies customers more than knowing a business can walk the walk. Here are 5 community outreach marketing ideas for your credit union.

Offer Helpful Free Content

The coronavirus pandemic has done a great job showing us all that we aren’t as financially savvy as we should be. With this in mind, you can create and tailor your free resources and tools to target areas of need in your community.

For example, lots of people are refinancing in the wake of the pandemic, trying to save money and take advantage of the economic market for themselves. Your credit union could create, partner with, and share resources like a free mortgage or rent calculators, budgeting templates and tools, and helpful videos on a wide range of financial topics.

Providing and promoting free resources is a great way to build brand trust and give back to the community – both local and global.

Host and Highlight Contests

Social media contests are a great way to boost your followings and generate buzz and revenue for your credit union. And you can definitely do that as an individual business, but why not reach out and get involved with local or seasonal causes as well?

Hosting and highlighting contests that are true to your credit union’s mission, or dear to the hearts of your members, is a fantastic way to showcase your financial and professional empathy as an organization. You can run giveaways, creative or arts-based contests, social media and video contests, and more.

You can also reach out to other business owners and community leaders for inspiration.

Talk to Local Leaders – Find Out What Community Needs Aren’t Being Met

And speaking of talking to community leaders – why not let them give you ideas for your next community outreach event?

Many times, we create a marketing plan that works, and we want to keep running similar efforts because we know they were successful in the past. But there are lots of things that may seem less catchy or glamorous that still need the attention of the community.

A great example of this is prevalent in a story Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water, often tells. His charity, which helps bring clean drinking water to people in developing countries, was built on a model of transparency – everyone who donates gets to choose where their money goes – to operations (the daily expenses like paying employee salaries, buying office supplies, and the like) or to projects (this money goes toward the trips that actually build the wells).

While this transparency is amazing, Scott talks, in an episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, about how his “projects” bank account had nearly $800,000 in it, but he was on the brink of having to shut down his charity because there were no funds in the less-exciting “operations” fund.

This illustrates a great point about community and business needs: sometimes, certain needs can be abundantly met, while others are being ignored. The best way to combat this is to reach out to community leaders and talk with them. Figure out what they need. We see this all the time with homeless shelters, animal shelters, and food pantries – often, the most needed items or help are the least given.

Finding these gaps – and helping fill them – is a great way to raise awareness for certain issues and position your credit union as a trustworthy and helpful business.

Sponsor Seasonal Teams and Events

This trick is an old one, but still a good one. Having your credit union sponsor a local team or event continues to be a great way to give back to the community and boost your brand locally.

Additionally, you can choose to partner with another individual or business to sponsor certain events. And with so many events being hosted online, there are more and more interesting ways to get involved with local sports, celebrations, and more.

This can be done strategically – again, look for those gaps. Concentrate on building a balance between larger, multi-sponsor events and smaller events where one or two sponsors could make a huge impact in the event or team’s success.

Include Your Audience in the Decision-Making

Social media makes it incredibly easy to increase audience participation. It seems like almost every year, the Columbus Zoo is asking fans to help them name their latest animal babies like they did in 2020 with a new polar bear cub. When it comes to choosing between which events and charities to support, why not give your members and social media followers a chance to help make the decision?

This does two things. First, it gets them invested in the community outreach marketing that your credit union is doing. And secondly, it also shows you and your CU what causes and charities are closest to your members’ hearts.

Don’t forget about including your community when you are planning your next community outreach marketing events!

Is Your Head in the Cloud? Let IMS Help.

Credit unions are built for communities. So why not let IMS help you focus on yours rather than worrying about your cloud data?

IMS can take care of some of the behind-the-scenes solutions so you can focus on your next community outreach marketing effort. Browse our private cloud services like backup, core hosting, IaaS, and virtual desktop – or contact us today!


4 Tips for Marketing to Gen Z

 

You may be thinking, why should my credit union already be marketing to Gen Z? Aren’t they a little young to be financially independent?

Many news articles and social media jokes paint Gen Z (the first demographic group born after the internet was commercialized) as children or young teens. But the reality is – the oldest Gen Z members (born between 1997 and 2012) are nearing their mid-twenties. And credit unions will miss out on their share of the generation’s estimated $44 billion in buying power if they don’t tailor marketing efforts to capture this audience.

Why Marketing to Gen Z Will Be Different

Gen Zers, like millennials, are more conscious of debt than previous generations. As children of the Great Recession, Gen Z is generally more averse to accruing debt as the cost of living, college, and having children continues to rise.

As a general rule, Gen Z is also much more purpose-driven in terms of engaging in discussions and activism surrounding social, political, and environmental issues.

And of course, as the first fully digital generation, they are more comfortable on the internet than any other generation before them. Your credit union needs to be aware of and cater to these characteristics in order to be successful in marketing to Gen Z.

Pay Attention to Gen Z Banking Preferences

47% of Gen Zers are big bank customers, but they don’t like it. Big banks are not in line with many of Gen Z’s socially conscious ideologies, but they have more advanced and diverse technology. So what can credit unions do?

The first logical step is to augment your digital offerings, which we’ll talk more about in the next section.

Other creative solutions for pulling attention away from big banks and towards your credit union include rethinking loyalty and account features. For example, Gen Z is less likely to be enticed by a loyalty program – but offering savings or checking accounts with zero overdraft fees is a huge draw.

Boost Digital & Mobile Banking Services

Gen Z is very tech-savvy, and they do most of their banking from their phones and other smart devices. Credit unions can optimize their online offerings to include mobile apps or mobile-friendly web design. Part of the draw of big banks, for Gen Z, is the ease of their online processes. Digital natives base more of their brand loyalty on the brand’s commitment to providing easy and quick solutions.

Another trend Gen Z prefers is the personalization of websites and services. They expect the websites they visit to include their personal preferences through targeted ads and other dynamic content that will lead them to the best product or service for them. Credit unions can do this by including more things like quizzes or other infographics that give visitors a clear path to their preferred solution.

Provide Dynamic Financial Education Resources

Here is another example of how Gen Z preferences perfectly line up with credit union offerings.

Gen Z spends so much time online, both for education and entertainment. Credit unions can take advantage of this by creating more online access to financial education resources. Many Gen Zers head to YouTube when they want to learn how to do something, look up product functions or reviews, and more.

Creating a robust and dynamic financial education blog or YouTube channel is a great differentiator that will really cater to the youngest generation as they try to navigate and learn about the current financial landscape.

Make Your Brand More Vocal about Community & Social Issues

A brand’s product or service is important, but the brand’s purpose is just as important to Gen Z. When marketing to Gen Z, it’s wise to remember that members of this group tend to choose brands and products that are committed to a purpose they see as valuable.

Credit unions are generally more socially responsible than big banks, as they feel a responsibility to serve the communities they do business in, which is a great cause to tout on your website, in your branches, and on your social media channels. Gen Zers want to support businesses that care about their customers, in outwardly authentic and genuine ways.

We’ve Got Your Back(up)

The great thing about credit unions and Gen Z is that many of the things your credit union is already doing can be easily updated to capture more of this audience.

IMS can take care of some of the behind-the-scenes solutions so you can focus on marketing your credit union services to Gen Z and beyond. Browse our private cloud services like backup, core hosting, IaaS, and virtual desktop – or contact us today!