Credit Union Marketing: Cut through the Noise to Drive Membership

In a January 2019 report, the Credit Union National Association found that more than 118 million Americans currently use about 5,700 credit unions across the country.

Even with this growth, credit unions struggle to compete with bigger banks, as these financial institutions tend to offer much more robust digital banking solutions—a necessity for meeting customer expectations for convenience.

Harness the Power of Personalization

However, with the continued emphasis on personalized customer experiences, credit unions have a real opportunity to make some headway on their big bank competitors. After all, one of the biggest draws of a credit union is the close relationships that develop between employees and members.

Not only that, but in many ways, banks are coming up short for customers; the 2019 American Banker/Reputation Institute Survey for Bank Reputations found only two banks earned an “excellent” reputation. Credit unions have room to step in and build strong reputations themselves. It’s just a matter of getting their voices heard in a saturated market.

Here are a few credit union marketing best practices you can employ to stand out from the crowd and drive membership.


Define Your Differences

Market differentiation is essential for successful branding. You must determine what sets you apart from your competitors and convey those differences to your market. As a credit union, you need to consider what advantages you offer over other credit unions, as well as over banks.

This often means digging deep to identify distinguishing factors. Solicit feedback from employees and members to ensure your conclusions are informed by the individuals who most closely interact with your brand. Additionally, you’ll want to research what others say about you and your competitors on review sites like NerdWallet or Consumer Reports. 

Aim to focus on how your organization meets the demand for personalization in comparison to your banking peers, as this is a major pain point that credit unions can address. With this insight, you’ll be equipped to establish your unique value propositions and lay the foundation for brand messaging.

Develop Clear Messages

Test CTAThrough branding and positioning, you set the tone for the way customers and prospects perceive your business. Once you’ve determined your credit union’s marketing differentiators, you need to communicate them to both internal and external audiences. But, you can’t just throw pieces of information together; this requires developing clear, concise messages that resonate and can be shared easily.

You can do this yourself by gathering your leadership team together to finalize what you want to say to the market. Or, you can partner with a marketing agency that can identify your brand voice and bring these messages to life. A few things to consider with this exercise include: your brand’s objective, uniformity, and impact. Your messages should align with your organization’s purpose, remain consistent across mediums, and compel your audience to learn more about you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Analytics

In order to get your messages in front of your target audiences at the right time, you’ll want to take advantage of data analytics tools. With this technology, you can gain valuable insight about your customers’ and prospects’ buying habits, life events, wealth capability, and more. This then informs when and how you execute your marketing campaigns. All touch points, from credit union email marketing to social media to search engine optimization (SEO) benefit from deeper data and strategic analysis.

With analytics you can reach your new members where they are and deliver the truly personalized service they want from a credit union. While personal, human relationships are certainly essential and a differentiator for credit unions, they can be bolstered by applying analytics.

For example, you can provide your branch representatives with access to life event data for members, such as marriage, homeownership status, and education milestones. This information can serve as starting points for in-person conversations about members’ financial needs. And, you can enhance the value of these meetings by using data to drive a credit union marketing automation campaign—ensuring members receive follow-up emails and digital offers with pertinent content.

Change the Credit Union Conversation with 360 View

Competition keeps rising in the banking industry, and credit unions need to make the most of their unique position in order to get out in front of the crowd. This comes down to the branding and marketing strategies you employ, and the technology you use to support them.

The 360 View growth platform incorporates credit union marketing automation, profitability, analytics, and growth and incentives, with a comprehensive CRM to help you develop and execute campaigns that drive membership. To learn more, download our white paper The CRM 101 Guide for Banks & Credit Unions.

CRM 101 for banks