Member Awareness First. Big Data Second.

Data Analytics Charts and Spreadsheets
(Last Updated On: November 4, 2022)

The right message, to the right people, at the right time. A guiding light of marketers going back to that old story of a snake enticing Eve with a forbidden fruit.

Granted, that’s 1-to-1 marketing. How can you scale when your audience exceeds 10,000, 100,000, or more?

Since Biblical times (and almost certainly before), marketers sought to connect the “most likely” consumers with their products or services. Today, it’s out of hand with data brokers and every aspect of your digital life being bought and sold.

As a marketer who doesn’t delve into that mire, you still have a wealth of lifestyle and financial information to create multiple target audiences. But what good is this “Big Data” when members don’t even know what your credit union can offer?

Banking. “Just” a Commodity?

Lots of credit unions consider their services commodities (if “low rate” and “free checking” is your idea of clever marketing, your institution does, too). Unsurprisingly, your target audience does as well.

A recent survey by Deloitte should snap some marketers to attention:

  • 66% of respondents think banks (i.e. credit unions) offer the same services
  • 75% think that banking products and services are the same across all banks

Going further, consumers showed limited knowledge of the products their own financial institution offers. Even in surveys, when asked “which services does your financial institution offer?”, the list was always the same four:

  • Savings accounts including money market and CD’s
  • Checking accounts
  • Loans for cars, mortgages, home improvement, and personal
  • Credit cards

Ironically, online and mobile banking amplified this belief because both make it simple to sidestep marketing efforts. Perfect for enabling members to “get in and get out”, but not for creating awareness of other services, some they may want or need.

Buying is a Journey

Car Starting Road Journey

The key to selling financial services is to connect them with your members’ life events. This isn’t news to you; experts have been saying it for years. A new-something, be it a car, house, child, or spouse, all open doors to new relationships.

Your credit union has to be positioned to take advantage. For example, 88% of members begin their car buying journey at 3rd party research sites.

Naturally, all of these sites offer loan financing options. If your members don’t know your credit union has a car buying service, there’s a good chance you will lose out on most of these loan (and ancillary revenue) opportunities.

A DealerTrack study confirmed you are “losing loans to the web”, explaining:

Although respondents in 50% of cases said that their banks offered products that pertained to their life events, it was well after the life event had occurred or when they had already made a decision to go with another bank’s product.

Ooof. If only they had known, right? At least the solution is simple: Regularly promote and feature your car buying service in digital spots your member regularly visits, including online and mobile banking. That’s it, right?

Not quite. One simple task and a reminder that your mission drives everything.


Reach members when they’re in-market & get strategic about direct auto lending. Grow revenues and accelerate the mission by educating on protection products early in their car buying journey.

Auto Loan Acquisition End-to-End Strategy Cheat Sheet Cover

Your App Isn’t TikTok. Your Site Isn’t YouTube.

Hard as it may be to believe, it’s true. You’ll never be as popular nor engaging as those platforms. However, you can offer solutions those cannot, but only if members know they exist.

Members visit your website and open your app for a few common tasks:

  • Check balances
  • Transfer funds
  • Make payments
  • Scroll through top-rated viral videos

Hold on.

Given how members use your platforms, where do most credit unions promote their helpful products and services? On website pages few members ever see. When you know your offerings rock, it comes down to exposure.

One strategy puts all others to shame in terms of simplicity and effectiveness. No, we’re not suggesting shouting from the rooftops, but you definitely can (it would likely make for an engaging social media video!).

Case Study: The Power of Exposure

Learn from one of our clients how just a single email can change your fortunes. Let’s get the details out of the way:

  • 100,000 member credit union
  • Goal: To grow auto lending by directing more activity to their Car Buying Service (CBS)
  • Website already “optimized” using best practices
  • Average CBS monthly unique visits (UVs) – 200
  • Average monthly Prospects (Members who submit a form expressing interest in a vehicle) – 26

One Email. Massive Response.

Knowing around 2% of members are in the market for a vehicle every month, it was apparent most just did not know their credit union offered a helpful tool. We worked with the team to design a one-time, partially-targeted email blast.

It would go out to about 60,000 members, all with a minimum 580 FICO score.

Here’s what they saw after one email:

Email Case Study

Not too shabby. One email sent their car buying service platform activity into orbit, boosting tire kickers (UVs but not Prospects), active shoppers (Prospects), and members ready to buy. More booked loans (and ancillary products where appropriate) followed.

Encouraged by their success, this credit union moved on to planning their next large email send. The marketing team is building a list of members most likely to be in-market for a car (here’s where your Big Data comes in!).

Each will receive targeted monthly messages, ensuring that when they do decide to start their car buying journey, the credit union and their services will be top-of-mind.

The BIG Picture

Low-Hanging Fruit Plus Data
Low-hanging fruit & data analytics. A yummy combo!

We recognize the enormous value of embracing your data. We’re friends with people in the movement who made it a career goal to educate and empower thousands of credit unions on best accessing and using their data. That’s important. Do it.

Leverage your Big Data for all sorts of cool discoveries. Just be sure member awareness is always where efforts begin.

Before you dive deep, solve your low-hanging fruit challenges. Clear, concise, and actionable emails are a valuable tool for building member awareness of your differentiating (and revenue-building) services.

In this way, they complement one another. Regular communication ensures member awareness is strong. Targeted outreach triggered by your Big Data insights expands your ability to authentically connect with members.

Yes, that’s a marketing and sales advantage, along with improved mission fulfillment. Which is one more thing you can share with members to set your credit union apart. And the flow of benefits continues!

Discover even more helpful insights by Subscribing to the Learning Library. We dive into email, data, and a dozen more topics, all with our trademark honest and unbiased approach. And now you know! (See how that works?)

Joe Winn - CU Geek

Blogger. Speaker. Part-time Jedi.

Focused on helping your bank or credit union grow in the face of emerging challenges.