Credit unions already have a mountain of member data that can be a gold mine for understanding members, their needs, and what motivates them. Utilizing data to drive a smarter approach to marketing is the key to building a personalized strategy to engage your members with relevant products and solutions.

“For credit unions, it’s the opportunity to take a step back and learn and know your members,” said Heger. “it’s my opinion that credit unions have one of the biggest advantages in marketing–trust. And, credit unions are rich in data. The members have given it to you. They want you to know about them, what their needs are.”

Personalized marketing can drive five to eight times the response of “product of the month” marketing  [1]. Product marketing doesn’t work anymore. Members need to feel connected and engaged, like their institution cares about understanding them and their needs.

Useful data can come from a variety of sources:

Internally – CRM, website, mobile app, core processing system

Externally – Callahan’s, credit bureaus, third-party providers, public information

Harnessing data from so many locations can be challenging for credit unions, but they can be brought together either through a data warehouse solution or more traditional data reports from IT or Business Intelligence teams. Once that is complete, select two primary data categories that help you select the right members – don’t choose products as part of the data, consider looking at points such as transaction patterns and stage of life. Who is at the top of these lists? Understanding and knowing who is the most valuable to your organization and who has the potential to be valuable is critical. Often the most active members aren’t your most profitable, and it’s easy to get distracted in marketing by trying to serve your largest segments or most active members.

From there, building member personas will help you quickly identify a key, model persona. Be sure to name your persona to bring it to life. For our purposes here, we will identify a persona named “Allen.” What we know about “Alan” from our research, aside from being valuable to the credit union, is that he’s an upper-middle-class professional in his mid-40s, travels frequently for business and is heavily reliant on his cell phone. He interacts with the credit union primarily through the mobile banking app and recently responded to our auto loan direct mailer. He uses the credit union because it’s actively involved in organizations he supports. He wants to know about college savings and wants better digital service because he’s always on the road. Another thing he might appreciate would be rewards related to his travel. In addition, “Alan” doesn’t want to have to call the credit union during business hours, and he doesn’t want fees for services he doesn’t use.

What next? Send Allen a customized direct-mail piece highlighting how convenient and easy it is to use your credit union’s mobile app. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that your most engaged and profitable members seek the highest level of customized marketing. Resist sending mass email marketing campaigns. Use ‘small data’ – transactional patterns, rewards spending, website use, etc. – to form and implement your messaging. One professional example, is that when EasyJet adopted personalize marketing, it experienced a 100% increase in open rates and a 25% increase in click-through rates. [2]

Layout your blueprint and get started today. Immerse yourself in the data – big and small. Build your base member profile and expand from there. Remain focused on the mission to build customized, data-driven marketing campaigns. Then, start small and build upon your success and watch your marketing ROI reap the results you need!