Anyone who’s worked in the credit union community more than a few weeks knows phrases like “mutual self-help” and “democratic member control” are features of our rich heritage. But there’s one key trait and membership requirement that endured hard-fought battles before finally being settled in the U.S. Supreme Court: the “common bond.” This allowed federal credit unions to open their doors to larger groups, like communities.
The expansion of community charters has allowed credit unions to grow and be more competitive. More importantly, a whole lot more people can benefit from their lower fees, better credit rates and other perks. But in embracing the community charter, many credit unions switched to a one-size-fits-all strategy instead of the “old school” approach of marketing to select employer groups (SEGs). Maybe that worked, but it meant missing out on some great opportunities.
What’s old is new again
Credit unions that overlook SEGs lose out on some real benefits. Members of a SEG enjoy shared experiences and interests, and often a mutual cause – their common bond. Your credit union can leverage this connection by creating offers personalized to their specific needs. One example: special loan rates to government employees affected by a temporary furlough. Another: a matching donation to a non-profit SEG’s charitable fund.
People also like the sense of community that comes from belonging to a group, giving SEGs word-of-mouth value. They are more likely to join your credit union or take out a loan if a friend, colleague or family member suggests it.
SEGs provide a built-in audience where you can promote membership through various products and services. To strengthen SEG relationships, many credit unions host orientations for new employee groups, give talks on topics like becoming a homeowner or cleaning up credit at company lunch-and- learn events, or offer loan specials exclusively for a SEG’s members. While these activities incur costs, they can also offer excellent ROI.
New school marketing
Of course, having a focus on SEGs doesn’t mean abandoning other marketing efforts. Regardless of affiliations, all members appreciate receiving relevant offers. And given consumers’ expectation for companies to understand their felt needs, it’s never been more important to ensure personalized member interactions.
Targeting offers to individual member needs and interests, along with additional efforts to engage members of different SEGs, may seem challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. A robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, combined with integrated email marketing and a business analytics program, can help your credit union easily reach out to members based on their stages of life, specific needs or mutual interests.
Forward thinking credit unions can take a fresh look at SEG marketing following these simple steps:
- Identify businesses or local organizations that represent potential SEG opportunities. For example, community organizations participating alongside your credit union in outreach efforts might like to offer membership as a benefit for their employees or volunteers. Or perhaps there are similarities between employees of a local business and your current members. Once you identify a SEG prospect that’s a natural fit, you can leverage a suitable CRM platform (like Doxim CRM) to automate and manage the definition, dispatch and intelligent follow-up of personalized email campaigns targeted to HR departments or group leaders, to generate SEG interest.
- Establish the SEG relationship and load prospective members’ names into a CRM. Once a SEG relationship has started, credit unions usually send potential SEG members a series of messages that focus on different membership benefits, along with an incentive for joining. Using Doxim CRM integrated with Doxim eMail Marketing you can send out targeted promotional campaigns to drive attendance at employee lunch and learns or information sessions onsite at the credit union. New members who sign up can be rewarded with gift certificates to local restaurants, a $25 deposit to their savings account or other specials.
- Ensure a well-planned account opening process. When SEG members join your credit union, you can leverage a tool like Doxim Account Opening to automate the account opening process, leaving staff to focus on better understanding member desires, wants and needs, which can be easily captured and automatically propagated to Doxim CRM, to identify future cross-selling opportunities.
- Enhance new-member relationships by leveraging gathered data. By using Doxim Business Analytics to slice and dice CRM, core and other back-office data sources, you can identify precisely targeted demographic groups that will best respond to marketing campaigns that present the right product or service to the right member at the right time. This will allow you to engage meaningfully with SEG members throughout the member lifecycle.
Old school marketing? Not at all! Smart, targeted and personalized business-to-business promotions to attract SEGs and then engage new members are about as new as today’s technology solutions will allow. And fully integrated solutions like Doxim’s Customer Engagement Platform, that bring you the CRM, Business Analytics and eMail Marketing tools you need, are just the ticket to make new or renewed SEG marketing efforts more successful than ever before.
Want to understand how Doxim can help you be successful with your SEG marketing efforts? Download our brochure “CRM for Marketing” to find out more.