Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: member engagement (page 1 of 4)

Deeper Connections – Part 3

Originally published on CUInsight.com

It’s now been two posts on the “Two Peoples” topic. What have we learned?

  1. There is a technology divide between those who are immersed and those who live more traditionally
  2. The way people interact with the world and each other is evolving
  3. Tech itself is changing beneath our feet (and around us in “the cloud”)

For nearly all of us, the idea of technology in our lives revolves around things mentioned in the first post. What phone you use, the devices you connect to it, even your “smart home” accessories. It’s primarily the hardware, and, as we learned in the second post, the services you use on them. So, that’s the future: Ever-improving devices with more interesting apps.

Not quite. There’s an area of growth which seems so far-fetched that we discount it as “distant future”. But it’s here today.

Artificial intelligence.

We aren’t talking the adorable bots from *batteries not included, nor are we concerned with T-1000 units “terminating” their target. AI (or more accurately, machine learning) today is in some ways like a traffic light. It does one thing. However, unlike a traffic light, it’s always improving how it does that one thing. And you use these 1st generation AI systems everyday.

Your Facebook feed is a form of machine learning. It tailors posts shown based on what it learns you enjoy. The more you use it, the better it gets. Your iPhone keyboard is the same way. It actually adjusts the size and location of each key by tiny amounts as it learns where your fingers press most often. It even figures out how you talk to better predict the next word you’re going to write (and it knows whether you’re typing in a social or professional manner).

Search Google for the image of a cat. You just asked their machine learning system. Their latest endeavor is a platform called Deep Dream (caution: highly geek). Besides trippy imagery, it shows how a computer actually learns. Fascinating, as Data would say.

Interesting, but, once again…why? The first two parts related to what technology you use knowingly. Those spawn the interest in visible tech. Modern app platforms. Game-like member engagement. All great, and important. But it’s the machine learning which will offer the “just what I wanted” capability of future financial services.

Computers are smartest with tons of data. Big Data, you could say. With it, a learning system can figure out when a member is at risk of overdrawing their account or might be in the market for a car. How thrilled would they be if you could suggest adding overdraft protection an hour before they make a costly transaction? Or notify them of a great auto rate and car research system the day after their vehicle has engine troubles?

Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough to even offer the breadth of examples this future will offer. But I’ve read a lot from those who are. A recent CU Broadcast interview dove headfirst into the data side (without mentioning the AI part). Coastal CU does data analysis for member habits. Affinity CU just expressed interest in the concept after a short chat. And that’s just in the course of a few days. Much like winter, change is coming.

So how can you stay ahead of your competition while providing historically-great member service? Focus on what you do best, and find partners which excel in their complementary areas. By working together, perhaps we stand a chance against our computer overlords.

I mean, serve your members in new and exciting ways.

For far too much detail on Artificial Intelligence and just how close we are to unbelievable changes, read this amazing post by Wait But Why’s Tim Urban.

Picking Up Pennies For Marketing?

When was the last time you came up with a truly unique marketing effort?

Let’s back up a bit. Your credit union is always looking for new creatives to promote various services. Really, how many ways can you suggest opening a checking account? (Turns out, a lot) But most of these ideas are just new copy and graphics on the same concept. I get it. I’ve even done it. (Yes, your trusty Credit Union Geek was a marketing copywriter for local credit unions!)

In addition to you coming up with these campaigns, every other credit union was doing the same thing. That’s a lot of ways to recommend a particular service! How can you stand out?

Why don’t we use a current example and analyze it for the “secret sauce”?

Ally Bank hit a grand slam on their latest marketing effort. Playing off the well-known idea of a “lucky penny”, they made just a few of them highly desirable. The bank placed 100 Ally-branded “pennies” on the ground in large cities. If you find one of their coins, follow the instructions on it and get rewarded with $1,000. Now that’s a lucky penny!

Let’s look at what was involved in making this Lucky Penny campaign happen. They commissioned 100 copper coins. Then they built a website. It has details on the program, a promo video, cool penny facts, and a redemption portal. And then they made sure to talk about it like crazy on their social media (with hints on where to find them based on local landmarks). Don’t forget giving everyone a hashtag to use. That’s it.

For an institution like Ally, this campaign cost less than a drop in the bucket. But the rewards have been enormous. Major media outlets covered the promotion, linking to their site and highlighting the social media posts (I’m sure some of that is credit to a great PR team). Even Facebook’s automated Trending feature highlighted the bank (which is based on the number of users talking about it). They put very little, respectively, into keeping the Lucky Penny talk flowing.

Sorry, did I say unique above? My company has done unique many, many times. It doesn’t always pay off. The better approach is to embrace something everyone intuitively knows, then tweak a small part. Like the yogurt company, Dannon. They aligned with the NFL to “find the golden bongo” and win a prize. Remember Charlie and his Golden Ticket? Are these promotions really so different?

What do you think…could your credit union have built these campaigns? I think so. Maybe you would have had only 5 Lucky Pennies, or the same number, but worth $100 instead. Scale the marketing investment to your requirements. Remember, this could also help with your mission to encourage savings (and opening up accounts with you). Anytime you engage the community, issue press releases (or better yet, develop relationships with local media) to get news coverage.

I’m a huge fan of scavenger hunt concepts. With a prize worth putting some time into, almost anyone will take notice. In a previous business, we developed plans for a community-wide volunteering initiative. Each day for a month, we would highlight and encourage volunteer support of a different local charity. There would be surprise rewards (local businesses sponsoring) if you showed up at said non-profit. Am I giving you any ideas?

Your marketing is getting repetitive. It may work to some extent, but if you want to make a mark in the communities you serve, get them excited. And you don’t need to spend your entire marketing budget to do so.

Please share some marketing initiatives you ran which really got your membership buzzing (and tweeting, Snapchatting, and Instagramming)!

The Interview Which Began With A Tweet

Originally published on CUInsight.com

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a series of tweets from a credit union member to no one in particular. That I saw it at all amongst the mass of data is odd. But here’s where it gets interesting. The member had an issue with their credit union, Idaho Central Credit Union, and said so in a tweet. They didn’t @ mention the CU or # them, either. So, really, there was no simple way for the credit union to ever know about it. The member was, for all intents and purposes, yelling into an echo chamber.

But the credit union did reply. And thus the origin of this post.

After seeing how the credit union located this member and solved their problem (all through Twitter), I contacted them directly. Unsurprisingly, their Twitter account had a friendly reply, wherein they referred me to the social media/marketing director, Lisa Davis. The following is an interview conducted with her. This credit union, and their team, get social media. I wanted to help them share this strategy with you.

Joe Winn: Good afternoon and thank you for taking the time out for this discussion! As mentioned, I recognized your social media efforts were far beyond the norm when you plucked a member complaint out of thin air (in a sense) for resolution. How did you do that?

Lisa Davis: I work with a couple of systems to grab any mentions of us – monitoring a number of different keywords. We really want to keep tabs on what is being said about us (good and bad) on social platforms, news articles, review sites, etc. We go after negative comments and try our best to turn them around. This is not just great for our members, but is a wonderful way to display how amazing our customer service is to those watching that are potential members.

Winn: I sure was impressed! From their posts, it seemed the member was as well, which is what really matters. What spurred ICCU to develop a social media presence?

Davis: We felt and feel that social media is a great way to connect with members and potential members.

Winn: I agree. How did you inform your members it existed?

Davis: We started off with just a Facebook page and did some fun promotions—contests and whatnot to gain followers. We also had “Like us on Facebook” stamps made up for the tellers to spread the word. Now, we advertise all of our social platforms in the branches on the screens behind the teller line. In addition, we do run Facebook/Instagram ads.

Winn: Engaging the “what’s in it for me” mentality is a good strategy. Of course, I’m sure it wasn’t all roses and massive follower adoption. What missteps (if any) did you encounter as the system grew?

Davis: In the beginning, we weren’t catching as many mentions since people use a variety of different names for us. This is what prompted us to look into monitoring software – which has proven very useful, especially since as we continue to grow, mentions are growing as well.

Winn: So that would be how you caught this member’s complaints to no one in particular. Given a member can ask anything online, is the social media platform effort engaged with all CU departments, or just routed through a specific team?

Davis: I manage all things social, but work with many teams to accomplish our goals. For example, we strive to follow up with anyone who has an issue or a question – whether they request follow up or not. Based on the question or concern, I facilitate these through the appropriate team member and then make sure the person has been contacted and then follow up on our social channels so the public can see that we have addressed it.

Winn: Sharing these resolutions is a smart move. It’s like when a restaurant responds to reviews on Yelp. Always makes me feel like they truly care. How do you feel member support and outreach will grow in this medium? Will it become just another option for members, or will it begin to replace existing platforms (live chat, phone, e-mail, even in-person)?

Davis: I feel that [social media as a member support and outreach medium] will continue to grow. (emphasis mine) As we…grow, we have definitely watched our member interaction through social channels grow. We have some members who use social media as their primary way to connect with us – to inquire about a new product, provide feedback on a recent interaction, or ask a question about their online banking. Social never really shuts down for the day. Although, it is not expected, if I get a question at 10pm on a Saturday night, I’ll answer it. Our members know they can count on us through social to at least get feedback that their question has been passed along to a team member who will get in touch with them shortly after the opening of next business day. I think this makes them feel more connected to us and builds a level of trust and security knowing they have a place to go with a question or concern 24×7. (emphasis mine)

Winn: Well, I’ve definitely gained a level of trust through this discussion. Thank you again for your time and for sharing these insights! I’m certain readers from other credit unions will enjoy learning about your strategies and the passion committed to making it the best it can. This reflects, as you intended, positively on Idaho Central Credit Union.

Follow Idaho Central Credit Union directly through their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages! Visit their site for even more ways to connect.

So, fellow geeks (and honorary geeks)…what did you think of this interview? Want to see more discussions with your peers? Let me know in the comments below!

Image credit: http://freshspace.co/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Twitter-Help.jpg

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