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Financial Marketing

Where Does the Consumer Experience Stop? Where Does it Start?

By Blog, Consumer Experience, Financial Marketing

Member Experience Stop and StartToo often we think of the consumer experience in the context of our world, not in the world of our patrons. This kind of myopic thinking can lead to a bevy of misconceptions. More importantly, it can lead to a series of lost opportunities in improving consumer experience. For example, if you see your website as the beginning of your patrons’ experience, you’re missing out. The true consumer experience occurs long before they reach out to you and long after they make a product decision.

Look at it outside the lens of your financial institution.

One way to gain a little objectivity is to substitute your institution with a completely different purchase decision. For this example let’s go with the purchasing of a product instead of a service. When someone buys a car, does their journey begin on the Honda website? Doubtful.

They may not even want a Honda. Most likely, a person’s car buying experience begins months, sometimes years before they sign on the dotted line, get their keys and drive off the lot. They’ll ask their friends. They’ll read reviews. They’ll try their best to recall the wide array of print ads, billboards and commercials they’ve seen. Consciously or not Honda has made an impression.

Time is a very valuable commodity in the consumer experience

If and only if the car maker has gone from the consideration set to the small group of purchase possibilities, will a person spend their valuable time on the Honda website. And this is very, very valuable time. When a car purchase goes on your plate, the rest of the world doesn’t stop spinning. No matter if you’re a prince, or a pauper everyone is time poor. And a car purchase has the sense of urgency that switching financial institutions doesn’t. When shaping your vital touch points in your patron’s experience, respect their time. If you don’t, you may not get it.

Broaden your perspective and broaden your possibilities.

As we’ve touched on, what too many marketers see as the beginning of the consumer journey is actually the mid-way point of their experience. Imagine all the possible opportunities available to you when your viewpoint on this consumer journey shifts to a larger perspective. With this approach, your social media strategy may jump up the list of your marketing priorities. Managing your reputation on sites like Yelp or Angie’s List suddenly takes on greater importance. Everything from a buck slip to a billboard could change when you look at the complete consumer journey.

What many think of as the end, is only the beginning

Let’s continue with this car analogy. For the sake time, since we’ve established how very important that is, let’s skip to the post-purchase experience. Is that the end? Will this person ever have contact with Honda again? We all know that answer. So why do we make the mistake of seeing the home loan consumer experience, for example, as having an ending when they sign on the bottom line? When we do, we miss out on the chance of turning a member into an advocate.

We live in a recommendation culture.

Opinions have always been prevalent. Now, they can be broadcast in countless ways by multiple channels. People feel as strongly about their car as they do their financial institutions. Do more than give consumer reasons to sing your praises. Give them opportunities. Follow up after the purchase. Ask them their opinion and them give them the chance to broadcast their happiness to their friends and family. The tools are at their fingertips. All we have to do is nudge them into a recommendation.

The best way to map out a journey? A map’s a good start.

Now that we have a larger perspective on our patron’s true and complete experience, what do we do with it? The truth is, this is where the fun begins. You can use your marketing intuition and experience to map out various touch-point opportunities. You can also augment those ideas with a service like Moment Mapping. Designed to help you create a robust, complete and engaging consumer experience, this service also adds a nice array of complimentary options that will make your institution shine. The result? New and current consumers will head into the world to tell everyone how great their experience — their complete experience — has been.




The Perfect Marketing Budget in Three Steps

By Blog, Financial Marketing

Marketing BudgetIn the world of branding and financial marketing, you have to spend money to make money. But how much to spend? Where do you spend it and how do you make the most of if? These nagging questions can be answered by following a few detailed steps.

Before we dig in, it’s good to note that many organizations already have set budgets and reliable budgeting practices. Look at the following steps as a way to gain a fresh perspective or even a way to persuade your co-workers to look at the marketing budget just a bit differently.

Step 1: Count the money

If your budget has yet to be determined, or if you’d like a little ammo to convince the keeper of your budgetary purse strings to loosen them a bit, here are some general industry standards.

The source of many company’s marketing budgets come directly from annual sales. This amount ranges from one to ten percent depending on the company. A new, emerging organization is building a new and relatively unknown brand. That sort of situation can justify dedicating ten percent of sales to introduce the brand into the market. Some aggressive start-ups have even been able to justify 15 percent.

If your institution and your brand are well established, a lower percentage sometimes makes the most sense. But that approach will often provide status quo results–something to think about when managing your budget and your credit union’s marketing expectations.

Step 2: Dole out the money

Once your total annual budget is determined, it’s time to develop an annual marketing plan. Every savvy marketer will be asked to do more for less. These are where the decisions can get tough. Studying past success and continuing or increasing your spend in a particular medium, say radio, is a safe bet. And playing it safe can make a lot of sense depending on your goals. The trick is to diversify your channels to create flexibility in your mix and to ensure a broader reach in your message.

Making a detailed annual plan also creates the perfect opportunity to sock away a little mad money. Take a small percentage of your budget and try something your credit union has never done before. Look at it has a high-risk, high-reward endeavor — this year’s attempt to swing for the fences. Try a geo-located SMS campaign. Invest in some big data research. Fund an out-of- the-box PR stunt. Whatever it is, make sure it’s original enough to make a few co-workers, and maybe even yourself, a little uncomfortable. And since the percentage of your budget used for your little marketing experiment is low, the actual risk is greatly diminished.

Step 3: Track the money.

After you’ve made your marketing plan, execute it to the best of your ability. Just don’t think that’s the end. When your message gets out into the world is when the fun begins. You can monitor what’s working and what’s falling flat. This is your chance to react and adjust your spending plan. In the world of digital marketing and social networking, the information about your branding is out there. You may just need to listen. Or you may need to actively hunt down the information. But once you have it, treat it like gold.

Analyze every dollar spent and then remember that your plan is just that — a plan. It wasn’t carved in granite, and it was meant to be adjusted. Weed out the poor performing channels. Aggressively feed the media that are working like gangbusters and are still hungry for more. The trick is the know when to pull the plug on one and crank up the volume on the other. When making these adjustments rely on your experience, the advice of others, and some old-fashioned marketing intuition. Making these decisions should be as much of an art as a science.

So work diligently to get the best out of every cent in your marketing budget. Keep a keen eye open for changes in channels and in the latest technology when making your plan. Make sure your media mix is diverse. Use history to make some decisions, but don’t get so stuck in the past that you’ll miss the future. And once you implement your plan, be nimble. Certain channel performances will change, and the successful marketer will be ready, willing, and able to change with it.

Mastering these steps will lead to lead to an increase in sales and, in turn, an increase in your marketing budget for next year.




How to Be There When They Want a Loan

By Blog, Direct Marketing, Financial Marketing

A big challenge for any financial institution’s direct marketing strategy is to knowing how to be there when your people want a loan. Your best loan prospects might be shopping for cars or a Customer Service Improvementrecreational vehicle, or even considering a remodel on their kitchen. But no one at the institution knows it, so they miss the opportunity to provide a lending option via direct mail, email or any other direct marketing product.

And missing the opportunity is exactly what most small financial institutions are doing. According to CUNA Mutual Group, 91% of consumer lending happens outside of credit unions. That means the credit union crowd, they are only capturing 9% of the market. According to the FDIC Community Bank Study in 2012, community banks have fared much better than credit unions in community consumer (and commercial) lending, but their growth has declined (particularly in the asset sizes less than $100 million) while big banks continue to climb in asset size. So they are losing out to the bigger fish.

Most financial institutions present lending options at branch locations, through direct mail or online. These are great options, and they all still have great rates of re-turn for the investment.

But while direct marketing is an effective way to communicate pertinent information about your lending programs and all the great benefits of taking out a loan with you, it doesn’t identify when someone undertakes an active search for a loan.

So how do you do that? How can you be there when your customers want a loan?

It’s called the Loan Generator and here’s how it works:

• Using specific and most current data on your prospects, we pre-approve them for up to eight different loan products.
• The pre-approvals are filed with their account information, standing by so they are ready when your customer is.
• When the customer needs a loan, they simply activate their loan, immediately. They do not have to talk to a representative or go to a branch or fill out an application, they can activate it anywhere—including their mobile device. In that case, they sign the loan paperwork on their screen.
• It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. (So any-time, literally).
• You can communicate these pre-approvals though several channels (as the video demonstrates…and you know that because we know you watch that video, right?).

And that’s great and all, but how do you get it in front of them at the right time? Now here’s where this product is brilliant. In this video, you see how a person could activate their loan—while they are still in the store shopping (This video is even shorter than the one above, so if you are only going to watch one, pick this one!):

CUneXus Mobile SSO with Documents from CUneXus Solutions on Vimeo.

Can you imagine the return on investment that your institution would reap from an initiative like this? You don’t have to imagine; we’ll tell you (we’re good like that). In multiple documented test cases, The Loan Generator TM has shown loan volume increases from 300% to 500% and a 5 to 1 ROI.

More and more financial institutions are embracing a technology platform that al-lows you to offer pre-approved loans at the point of purchase—when people are nowhere near your branch, their mailbox or their laptop. And, they are increasing their loan portfolio and the return on investment at the same time they are decreasing their acquisition costs.

Are you ready to be one of them?

Sources: Page 5

Cuna Loan Generation Brochure

5 Myths about Marketing Loans on Mobile Platforms

By Blog, Financial Marketing

Myth SignThe latest change is here for marketing loans on a mobile platform, and it’s a good one. Let’s take this change and view it through the lens of the consumer.


You’re in a big box store, and a big screen catches your eye. It catches everyone’s eye. This TV has a you-could-sell-popcorn-and-tickets-big, big screen. But it also comes with a big price tag. You want that TV, but you also want to be able to pay for your kid’s college education.


Then ping! Out of nowhere, you get a message from your credit union. They noticed that you’re in the previously referenced big box retailer, and would like you to know that you’re pre-approved for a loan.


This point is when things get interesting for marketing loans on mobile platforms.


You pop open a few windows. You swipe here; you tweak there. You use the touchscreen to sign the application and, bingo! You’re the proud owner of the biggest screen on the block. And you financed it quickly and easily on your phone in the aisle of the store.


It’s like you’re George Jetson without the flying car.


This product is the next development in mobile banking, and it’s a great opportunity to generate loan business. It’s another example of how mobile phones are changing our lives. If you want to be a part of your customers’ lives, you need to get on board and leverage these changes.


Sometimes the best way of learning what to do is knowing what not to do. So, here are the top Mobile Mistakes currently happening in our industry.


Mobile Myth #1: Smartphones and tablets are the same.


They’re not. Since analysis for these two platforms are often lumped into one category, it’s a common mistake to develop a single content strategy for both. Big mistake. Consumers use these devices differently. Smartphones are used more for functional, need-based tasks and tablets are used more for relaxing as well as gaming. Plan your content accordingly.


Mobile Myth #2: Responsive design is a good mobile strategy.

Responsive design is great. It’s also a tactic instead of a strategy. Use responsive design to better deliver better content. Develop a strategy based off how your customers use their devices. Then, create content that fits that strategy.


Mobile Myth #3: Your mobile content strategy does well on its own.


Not so fast. You should have an all-encompassing content strategy that involves mobile. This philosophy goes back to offering a full Omni-channel experience for your customer. And if you’re struggling with the Omni-channel term, it means that when it comes to your content, your right hand should know what your left hand is doing — metaphorically speaking.


Mobile Myth #4: Desktop and mobile content standards are different.


Not really. The fact is, great content is great content. So no matter if you’re writing for desktop or smartphone users write with them in mind. Be concise. Have compelling headlines. Reward them for spending time with you. These are but practices for mobile, desktop and traditional marketing as well. So in this case, things haven’t changed. Whew.


Mobile Myth #5: The only good mobile content is short content.


Surprisingly there are situations where mobile users will consume long content. As content developers, we may have overreacted to this rule. Recent studies have shown that users get frustrated when websites don’t have enough content. This may be a result of users whipping out their phones more as a distraction while on the run.



There you have it; opportunities to leverage and mistakes to avoid. We’ll close with one last piece of advice, adopt these quickly and get ready to see these as “the old way” of doing mobile within months, maybe weeks. After all, when it comes to this medium, the only constant is change.



Speak their language and their channel. 3 keys to Generational Marketing.

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Millennials

Generational MarketingLet’s open up with a big caveat. Grouping any person into a category can be dangerous. Broad conclusions like Millennials are glued to their phones, Boomers are brand loyal, and Gen Xers are cynical can lead to tired, stereotypical messaging.

There is some power that comes with focus. And breaking down your approach to fit your audience is just smart marketing. So let’s do just that. Here are three ways you can gain success through segmentation.

  1. Customize your offering to fit their lives.

Millennials are one of the more educated generations in recent history. As a credit union that means they’ll have more student loan debt than others. Educating them on how to deal with this and other debt will bring them closer to your brand.

Gen Xers can come to the party with a healthy amount of skepticism. An offer with a guarantee will build much-needed trust and show you’re communicating with transparency. Directness and honesty, a hallmark of all credit unions, will hold a lot of weight for this audience.

Baby boomers are often active and on the move. Pushing a loan application that’s fast and easy will be appealing to them. This ease of use can be a good rule of thumb while offering any product to this generation.

  1. Pick the right channel

Millennials are adept with their technology. An SMS or social media led campaign will hold a lot of traction for them. Email works as well but relying on one channel when reaching out to this or any audience is a no-no.

Gen Xers are easily reached through email. They will also frequently price check before making a decision so make your online offers easy to find and share. Surprisingly, direct mail also works for Gen Xers. A recent study shows that 74 percent of Generation X actively read and respond to direct mail.

Baby Boomers can surprise you to with their online media usage. Banner ads that lead to your website will gain you a successful response rate. Combine that with a strong print presence and you’ll pack a promising one-two media placement punch.

  1. Respond the way they’ll respond

Millennials feel most comfortable in the digital world. It’s not that they avoid human interaction, quite the contrary. They just want that interaction to be on their terms and through media that is most comfortable to them. Applying online or accepting a online chat with a loan officer to gain some more information will make for a very successful call to action.

Gen Xers often need research to validate their choices. Driving them to your website for more information will garner the best results. Granted, the sale won’t be as immediate but in the long run it will be more effective. Once they find the right information, they’ll commit with confidence.

Baby Boomers might start online and with print but their most effective call to action is by phone. They appreciate personal relationships and a direct conversation with an informed associate is the direct line for their business. Email is also an option with this generation who wants things quick and easy.

Let’s not blindly ignore the detractors.

Many pundits turn their nose up at marketing to specific generations. They claim that the definition of a Boomer or Gen Xer is constantly changing. Others would argue that these segments were created through shared experiences. In this new age of constant contact with the outside world they believe that everything is shared. And if everything is shared we all, in a sense, belong to one large diverse “generation”. Lastly, many remind us that age doesn’t necessarily dictate a life stage. Boomers can take out student loans and Millenials can research the difference between a traditional and Roth IRA. So see these options just as they are offered — as options.

If you choose to take these suggestions as potent generational rules, be sure to break them. While segmenting your marketing efforts by generation can garner results, there are rules that cross all generational lines.

When you have information readily accessible from multiple channels, when you seek to empower more than sell and when you reach your customer through their own self interests you’ll have marketing that works. And those practices will be effective no matter what you’re target’s age or affiliation.



Using Technology to create better account holder experiences.

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Technology


The bar keeps getting set higher. The expectations for superior service continue to grow. An investment in the right technology will help you meet and exceed consumer expectations.

Consumers are more informed and more connected than ever. With the blinding speed of banking technology advancement and new online offerings, keeping consumers happy and engaged means you’ll need to find new ways to surprise and delight them. And leveraging technology to improve your relationship is vital in the online age.

Here are a few ways we can make their lives better:

Polish your social skills.

Social networking has introduced us to the recommendation era. Consumers are online giving and receiving advice about everything from cars to ballpoint pens. Everyone has an opinion, and every opinion can be broadcast. This fact presents an unprecedented opportunity to join and shape the conversation. And that word “conversation” is key. Social networking is an amazing medium for two-way communication. We get to listen as much as talk, and we get to guide the conversation. So make your posts about “something that starts something.” Because once the conversation begins, the relationship deepens. It’s all part of a well planned social engagement strategy.

Branch out.

Today’s member needs to be connected to their money 24/7/365. Their laptop and their smartphone are their new branch. This fact doesn’t mean that the personal service and relationships are less important. The brick and mortar branch is still a vital part of your relationship. But it’s now simply one channel of a multipart network.

The complete relationship has extended to other options. It’s why mobile banking and mobile check deposits need to be more than technology. ..they need to be personalized. Make those features a positive experience by making your banking technology as easy and friendly as dealing with one of your very own representatives.

Crunch the numbers

The hyper-informed member can now easily shop around for the best rate on loans, deposit accounts, and credit cards. With smartphones, they can find a better offer while standing in your branch. In addition to price, the breadth of offerings and perceived stability are additional considerations for your member. Translation? The battle for their business is fierce. The personal relationship you have with your account holders will often give you the one competitive advantage that might make the difference in maintaining the account. Keep your rates competitive and easy to find to improve your chances of client retention.

Make a dynamic statement

The monthly banking statement is a tried and true facet of your relationship with your members. A jaw-dropping 95% of transactional statements are opened and read. Compare that to the open rate of promotional materials and you can see why this particular opportunity to deepen your relationship with your accounts holds some real promise.

Enter the Dynamic Statement.

Imagine the deepened appreciation that will come with an interactive, intuitive and inviting statement. Suddenly your account holders will become an engaged participant in their finances and you’ll get all the credit for helping them! The enhanced functionality allow users to be just a few clicks away from information that’s relevant to them. With access from any laptop, tablet or smartphone — they can personalize and customize their accounts.

Imagine users starting with the expected overview of financial data. With a simple click, they could analyze different charts and graphs and see more detailed information displayed in full-color down to the transaction in a particular month, week or even day. They could then sort their expenses by date, category or even amount spent.

As the definition of convenience shifts from the amount of traditional branches and ATMs to staying connected digitally to your money 24/7, the dynamic statement could change the way your accounts see their finances and their financial institution. It very well could redefine online banking.

Cultivate a deeper relationship

From digital banking to social networking to dynamic statements, every new advancement in technology is an opportunity to become a vital advocate in the lives of consumers. By being high tech and high touch, we can win loyalty and deepen trust. Technology is power. Harness it and you will have the competitive advantage needed to succeed in this new era.