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What Credit Unions Should Know about Meaningful Data and Automation

Posted September 9, 2021
4 minute read

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Credit union marketing teams are often pulled in multiple directions, so where should marketers really focus their attention? 

WebStrategies Director of Business Development Kristin Harrison recently spoke with James Lay of the Digital Growth Institute podcast about meaningful data, marketing automation, and keeping the human element of what credit unions do top of mind. The pair shared an insightful conversation about where credit unions should be focusing when it comes to digital. 

Here are a few key highlights of their conversation: 

Embrace a Digital-First Mindset

First and foremost, it's time for credit unions to fully understand (and embrace!) the digital space. 

Kristin said, "I'm hoping that the last 18 months has shown boards and C-suites that we really need to not hold ourselves back and get on board to embracing a full digital-first mindset." 

She pointed out that credit unions' membership bases are changing. 

"You have the whole new generation coming in that won't even look at anything unless it's on the phone. Doesn't know how to write a check, doesn't even know how to address an envelope, and won't mess with cash." 

It is now the responsibility of credit unions to meet this new generation where they are, meaning online.

You have to "really understanding what it means to have a deeper understanding of your user online, their behaviors, how you can meet them there, and how you can really support them along the way in a more personalized nature," Kristin said. 

Why Use Marketing Automation?

One method of meeting your membership base where they are is through implementing marketing automation. And the additional benefits of using a marketing automation platform are numerous.

"I think the next step that needs to become as common of a conversation is you need to take the anonymous data that Google is giving us and give it a name and say, 'Actually, James Robert came in from this Facebook ad and clicked on to here,' and you follow them all the way through."

Automation allows credit union marketers to connect the dots of what their members and potential members are doing on the website. They can then move individuals through the buying journey in a helpful way.

The marketing automation platform that we recommend is HubSpot because it keeps sales and marketing teams in alignment. 

Aligning Marketing and Sales Teams

Has this scenario ever played out in your organization? The marketing team tells the lending team that they are generating leads, but the leads are not being followed up and nurtured. Then the lending team complains that the marketing team is not generating enough leads or the right ones.

Here at WebStrategies, our sales and marketing are so aligned, we are rolled into one team - Smarketing.

Credit unions could function similarly. 

As Kristin said, "Everyone needs to start working off of one platform, connecting all of your systems together. So you can start to understand that the member journey is really a part of everyone. There's no one that's responsible for just one member. The one member is not there just because of marketing or the one member is not there just because of sales. There are so many people that are involved in the customer journey."

When marketing and sales teams are aligned, there is no more finger-pointing because teams understand the work that others are doing within the organization. The atmosphere becomes one of connection, collaboration, and ultimately, growth. 

What is the Most Important Data for Credit Unions to Track?

Some credit unions struggle with being overwhelmed by data. The heart of the issue is determining what data is most important and putting the vanity metrics aside. 

The piece of data that is most meaningful to track, Kristin says, is funded loans. 

"Some credit unions are now able to track funded loans. This is dependent on the LOS platform that the organization uses, as not all platforms can support this advanced tracking. But this level of tracking provides invaluable information."

She continued, "...funded loan information will do a lot of things. It will give you more data on your members and give you a better understanding of how you need to market to them and the tools that they have and the tools that they need. It will also give you good, detailed reporting...You're going to have one report, one simple piece of information that will say, 'We spent this and it made the credit union this.'"

If funded loan data isn't possible due to LOS limitations, Kristin says credit unions will at least want functional cross-domain tracking in place. 

She says, "...your first step to that is really to configure your [Google] Analytics properly, and cross-domain tracking is the number one thing there. You implement good cross-domain tracking, and you're going to get all of that data that we've been talking about with marketing automation. It's just anonymous...But it's still actionable data. You still will be able to go to the board and say, 'Board, this was in my budget. These are the new members we got. These are how many loans we closed and it made the credit union this.'"

Remembering the Human Element of Credit Unions

Ultimately, what credit unions must not do is forget about the members they serve. Gathering meaningful data is important and necessary, but keep people your primary focus. 

Kristin said, "I think if you don't keep a person first, or the member first...and you just are seeped in this data, you forget the human element to all of this. And then you're not going to do what you want to do, which is attract the member, because they are attracted to who you really are." 

Kristin's advice to credit unions is this:

"...if they want to attract new customers and they want to do it in an authentic and real way, and that's pushing out who they are, and how they will help you, and how they will be there for you and hold your hand through all of life's stages...they want a human element to that. And we have to make sure that we transfer that human element in the digital space."

Kristin and James exchanged more ideas about digital marketing in the credit union space throughout their conversation. You can listen to the full podcast episode here.

Learn more about a digital-first approach to Credit Union Marketing.

Topics Marketing Automation, Credit Union Marketing

Carrie Dedrick

Carrie Dedrick

Digital Marketing Specialist

Carrie Dedrick has over seven years of experience in the digital marketing space. A writer at heart, Carrie spent a significant portion of her career as an editor of a website with an audience of over 2 million people, responsible for copywriting, editing, content strategy, and organic social media. Though she started out at WebStrategies in 2019 as a client success manager, Carrie particularly enjoys her new role behind-the-scenes supporting marketing and sales initiatives through the inbound approach. A proud alumna of Bridgewater College, she earned her B.A. in Communication Studies and English in 2012.

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