It’s time to look forward to what the future might look like as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic recession and the election dust settles. Specifically, have you thought about how your strategy and needs may change? Credit unions and members alike have been hit by multi-pronged impacts, from job losses to uncertainty around tax relief and even changes in how marketing platforms function. At QCash Financial, however, we see opportunity and reason for hope going forward. The future may require a paradigm shift in how you market your services, but we’re here with some helpful advice.
Credit Union Rules Have Changed
The pandemic recession has thrown much of American life into flux. Employment numbers, COVID-19 infection numbers and US tax policy continue to change, and marketing concepts are changing right along with them. Even before the rise of coronavirus, many established businesses were shifting their marketing focus from selling goods and services to building relationships and engaging with customers. The move to increased content creation (e.g., blogging) and social media engagement can be seen across different industry spaces, including finance.
Some experts suggest this move calls for abandoning traditional marketing plans and strategy in favor of a more agile, nimble approach. One issue they identify, however, is that doing so can make it more difficult to track success of marketing efforts. Do clicks, likes and follows translate to increased sales and business growth?
redit unions have always operated from a different position. Historically, credit unions have focused on the financial health and well-being of their members, rather than on short-term shareholder profit. At QCash Financial, we believe this gives credit unions an advantage in these turbulent times. Customer engagement and relationship building have always been part of the credit union business model. Credit unions have long been allies for their members and trusted neighbors in a shared community. It should be a natural evolution — rather than revolution — for your credit union’s marketing campaigns to reflect that.
Credit Union Marketing Priorities
Now is the time for your credit union to assess its marketing approach. Your business has always been member-focused; is your marketing as well? We found five useful metrics for analyzing your marketing strategy:
- Are you building trust with your members? As The Financial Brand appropriately states, “Trust is paramount now and will be.” As a credit union with a history of advocating for the financial health of your members, you should already have a strong bond of trust with them. By utilizing marketing strategies and creating content that truly engages your members, you can only strengthen that trust, enhancing loyalty and securing your own financial health as well.
- Is your marketing authentic? Your credit union has members, not “customers.” They’re already invested in your success in more ways than financial. If the voice and tone of your credit union’s marketing are inauthentic, your brand will seem insincere, weakening your ever-important relationship with those members.
- Are you meeting your members’ needs? One exciting opportunity social media and content marketing creates is enhancing engagement with your members. A more agile marketing approach gives you instant member feedback, enabling you to assess your members’ evolving needs more quickly than traditional marketing. You have instant insight into what content resonates with which members, how these unstable times are causing their needs to change and how your products and services can meet those needs.
- Does your credit union’s marketing team reflect the diversity of your members? Our society is growing increasingly diverse, and with our recent focus on social and racial justice, that’s likely to continue. As it does, your membership will continue to grow more diverse as well, and if your marketing team doesn’t reflect that, your branding story will resonate with a smaller proportion of your members. The Financial Brand puts it simply: “The diversity of your internal team should reflect the diversity of your customer base.”
- Are you constantly striving to improve? Obviously, these are times of great change. Now more than ever, if you’re not moving, you’re standing still at the risk of being left behind. Again, credit unions have a huge advantage over other financial institutions. Your relationship with your members is a strong one; that should allow you to constantly reach for new heights along with them.
Credit Union Marketing: Smaller Is Better
ypically, credit unions are smaller than other financial institutions, facilitating a stronger, more intimate relationship with your members. This also gives your credit union a more dexterous ability to respond to their needs in your business approach. The same should be true of your marketing. Credit unions are uniquely suited to adjusting to the changing world of marketing and, thus, the changing needs of your members. The strategies of customer engagement and relationship building should be nothing new to you; they’re like a foreign language to much of the banking world.
Ask yourself those five questions above to assess how your credit union’s marketing works to build and enhance trust, highlights your authenticity, meets your members’ needs, reflects your members’ diversity and drives continuous improvement. Those five areas have become increasingly important, and whatever our society looks like in 2021 and beyond, they’ll continue to be so. If you see room for improvement, consider how your marketing strategy needs to change. Do you need more content creation? Better social media engagement? More immediate avenues for member feedback? Make the changes that will help your credit union – and your members – flourish.
Going forward, credit unions have a tremendous advantage in terms of making these adjustments. The bond you already have with your credit union members is strong and can only be strengthened. With that, your credit union’s financial health will improve with that of your members.
Our blog regularly features articles about the various financial issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also view our recent webinar series, COVID-19 Impact on the Financial Health of American Households, featuring CEO Ben Morales. For more information on QCash Financial’s small dollar lending or financial wellness services, please contact us.