Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: member engagement (page 1 of 4)

“I am Groot. I am Groot…I AM GROOT!”

Originally published on CUInsight.com

By now, every tree, raccoon, and 80s-mixtape loving space traveler has seen the newest Guardians of the Galaxy. And, if by some chance, you missed that ship as it soared past, explosions trailing in its wake, then I’ll lay off the spoilers. They’re fun movies. Go watch.

One character became everyone’s favorite: Groot. But that might be our human weakness for puppy trees. Or baby stalks? Saplings? Yeah, that’s it.

So Groot is interesting. What does he say? And what else? That’s all? Yes, here is a character which has now gotten through three films (and years of comic books) with a three word vocabulary: “I. Am. Groot.” But you can always tell what he means.

There’s a science to his communication. You might have heard of a study which showed 93% of communication is non-verbal. Wax washing Dumbledore patio furniture sounds pen computer! Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Dumbledore would never use a computer. So words still matter. Like most science, it was more complex than reported, unless, apparently, you’re Groot. It’s possible they excluded talking trees from their research.

Here’s the reality: What you say is important. But how you say it means the difference between ending the conversation right there or continuing onward.

It’s the difference between someone who cares about talking and one who can’t wait to get away. You see it at networking events, in stores, and on some phone customer service lines. The person who is expressing with animation garners more interest. Seems pretty obvious. If you don’t care about what you’re saying, why should I? Likewise, if you cannot contain your excitement about a new CU initiative, the smile becomes contagious.

Staff who express themselves in this manner create excited members. Excited members are engaged members. Staff who feel obligated to mention products or services do so…in…a…monotonous…and…disinterested…style. The member thinks, “if they don’t care about it, why should I?”

Don’t be teenage angst Groot. Be saving the galaxy for the second (third?) time GROOT!

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)!

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