Many credit unions have the best of intentions to create and launch amazing marketing campaigns, but when things get busy throughout the year, marketing is oftentimes the first thing to fade into the background. Now that 2019 is almost here, it’s time to start planning for next year’s marketing initiatives. If your credit union finds that marketing gets pushed off to the side each year, it may be more effective to commit to a few key elements rather than creating an exhaustive plan that will be difficult to manage. Here are 3 key items that will give your credit union the most bang for its buck next year.
Improve Digital Advertising and Fintech
Paid ads are one thing that credit unions have been slow to embrace. Last year just 27% of credit unions claimed that digital marketing was a key part of their strategy, compared with 63% of larger financial institutions. The hesitation to invest in digital advertising is partially due to the uncertainty of its value and return on investment, although, the recent analytics don’t lie. This year, credit unions are expected to increase their marketing budget for digital advertising to better align and compete with the rest of the industry. Now, with targeted advertising and filters that allow credit unions to narrow their scope and better reach their audience, it’s no surprise that they are increasing their spend in areas such as Google Ads, Facebook ads, and more.
FinTech will be another area credit unions will be focusing on, especially since it will help attract the coveted millennial audience as well as the maturing generation Z. According to a PwC digital banking consumer survey, 82% of those aged 18-24 said that they use at least one digital banking app on their smartphone. Digital banking is commonly used for simple day-to-day financial tasks like making payments and monitoring account balances, but it’s anticipated that these tools will be able to do much more in the coming years. members would be happy to accept financial guidance from their credit union’s online resources due to its convenience. Millennials aren’t the only ones who can be attracted through digital ads and FinTech options, so incorporating these items in your 2019 marketing roadmap is a must.
Incorporate Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence
Many have ignored artificial intelligence (AI) because it was expensive or a quixotic sci-fi dream that didn’t seem practical for credit unions. However, AI is being used in industries across the board and it gives a serious competitive edge to those that use it. There are several new AI technologies on the horizon, however, chatbots are a popular tool that have been on the market for quite some time and are just now gaining momentum. Chatbots have become more commonplace on websites and mobile apps, and a great member service tool. 80% of top financial leaders noted that chatbots are an exciting opportunity that they plan on incorporating into their marketing and member service strategies. Chatbots are more affordable compared to years past, which is why so many more FIs are adopting them. Chatbots help to increase the quality of member service, decrease wait times in member service queues, and provide a wealth of information to educate members on a credit unions products and services. For members who prefer to communicate digitally, chatbots are the best solution out there. In other digital mediums, like email, the wait time for a response can be upwards of 12 hours. Chatbots provide instantaneous answers, and improve the member service experience. Good member experiences increase member retention and loyalty, which is why chatbots are not a solution to skip out on.
Embrace the Omni-Channel Experience
While digital banking services will entice members and lure them to your credit union in 2019, when members visit a branch their experience with your staff will ultimately keep them coming back. Even with tools such as digital ads, mobile banking apps, FinTech and chatbots, the in-branch experience is something that can’t be ignored. Digital assets are what pull members into your credit union and when they arrive, their experience needs to match (if not exceed) the quality they experienced online. This is achieved through an omni-channel strategy that allows members to flow between digital, mobile, and in-branch resources seamlessly. If a member begins opening an account online and then decides to finish the process in-branch with the help of credit union staff, this option should not only be offered, but go off without a hitch. If the member service representative can’t find or use their online portion of the application, it will cause frustration and detract from the member experience. Marketing strategy in 2019 is all about bridging the gap between digital and traditional marketing mediums. credit unions who are able to do that are the most successful in attracting, retaining, and satisfying their members.
Instead of trying to incorporate every acclaimed marketing technique out there, stick to a few key elements and execute them well. There is always room to add tactics and resources as the year goes on, but starting with a targeted marketing plan and attainable goals will be the most effective. 2019 will arrive with the blink of an eye, and when it does, your credit union will be ready to hit the ground running with a well-rounded marketing strategy.