CU Marketers Take a Multichannel Approach

Three award-winning CUs use new and traditional tools to get the word out.

February 01, 2013
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Keep up with technology

Generations Federal Credit Union, San Antonio, takes an integrated approach to marketing and business development. In fact, Wendy Bryant-Beswick, vice president of marketing and business development at the $400 million asset credit union, uses the terms interchangeably.

“The two work in concert to achieve business results,” she says. “Constant communication is essential because the two come to the table with different philosophies, and you need teamwork. If we’re doing a marketing campaign at the branch level, using digital and traditional ads, we combine it with the business development team’s outbound efforts, like direct-calling and events.”

“Our marketing approach has a heavy lead-generation component, and we use a Salesforce product [cloud and mobile technology] to track leads,” she adds. “We integrate them with our member data and set up trigger campaigns based on the data.”

Bryant-Beswick keeps a spreadsheet listing ideas that can come to her at any moment. “Ideas come from anywhere at any time—while I’m painting, doing yoga, or reading about the newest trends within the industry,” she says.

Generations Federal already had an award-winning youth initiative before Bryant-Beswick came on board. In the coming year, however, she plans to expand the program by launching mobile marketing and getting deeper into social media.

“We’re very active in the social space, but we want to take it to the next level and tie it to business results,” she says. “We’ll make it less a marketing function and more of a credit union function.”

The credit union is also rebranding, with a new message, design, look, and feel. “We’re investing more in advertising—digital, traditional, and paid social media promotions—to build our brand and name recognition,” Bryant-Beswick explains. “We’re looking at advertising as a long-term investment that will make our name a household word.”

Social media is the credit union’s most powerful marketing tool, she notes. “It allows you to do something in a time period that you can’t with any other tool. It’s a powerful way to reach existing and new segments, and to use as a member feedback loop. We can generate messages in the social space and turbocharge them with paid promotions, such as Facebook or LinkedIn ads.”

In terms of traditional media, she plans to look beyond the local market and target national publications. “We’re trying to reach a more affluent target, and in 2014 we’ll add TV and radio promotions in addition to our organic efforts,” says Bryant-Beswick.

The biggest marketing challenge for credit unions, she believes, is keeping up with technology. “We need to be forward-thinking about how consumers are using financial institutions today,” she says. “Gen Y or millennial consumers don’t always need a branch office. They have other ways to get money, such as by using their Google Wallet.

“One of the challenges we face as credit unions is keeping up with those initiatives. Technology changes rapidly, so to continue to be competitive within the industry and within our own markets, we must always work to be ahead of the changing trends and to stay relevant within our audiences,” she continues.

That’s why Generations Federal offers a robust online banking program, Bryant-Beswick says. “And we’re looking at ways of reaching existing and new members with mobile technology, and thinking beyond 2013 about how we can be innovative and weave digital products into the mix.”

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