Article

Inside Marketing: Let’s Get Digital

illustration of tiny people using giant digital marketing tools
By Shelly-Ann Wilson Henry

4 minutes

3 reasons why digital marketing should be an important part of your credit union’s overall strategy, no matter your market

As I prepared to immerse myself in a digital marketing certification program a few months ago, I came across this statement on the university’s website: “Digital marketing is really a misnomer—there is no marketing today that is not digital.” This sentence could not ring any truer. I embraced this sentiment about three years prior when I set out to reposition my skills and experience for job opportunities in a new market and soon realized that what I knew about marketing was considered “traditional marketing.” Marketing, like so many other disciplines, has been flipped on its head in the digital era.

With the real-time distribution of information today and consumers’ ability to get information on the go with the tap of a screen, making digital marketing a key part of your overall business strategy is no longer an option, but a requirement. For credit unions and other financial institutions, this reality has changed the buyer’s journey. Your members are making financial decisions based on information online, and they expect to be able to complete transactions that once required an in-branch visit on their mobile device at their convenience. According to a recent article on Think With Google titled “When People Are Ready to Invest, Digital Is Their First Stop,”

“People are turning to digital very early in the research process. Many people are using it as a tool for learning which products and services are available. In fact, over half of online investors don’t even have a brand in mind when they start looking. That drives a rigorous online search process, with 86% of potential investors spending more than an hour researching online.”   

Is your credit union engaging your members and potential members digitally? Are you visible when and where they’re doing their digital research? If the answer is no, why not? Digital marketing is a win-win; it’s not just important in building brand awareness and engaging with your current and potential members, but it’s also important in guiding your business decisions and achieving future goals. Yes, “traditional marketing” (print placements, TV/radio advertising, billboards, etc.) still has its place, especially for community-based institutions like credit unions, but there are many reasons why digital marketing deserves to play a vital role in your overall marketing strategy. 

Here are three primary reasons to consider:

1. It gets you closer to the bullseye.

A huge benefit of digital marketing is the ability to gather data that you are not able to with “traditional marketing.” If you do a print placement or air a commercial on the radio, you may get an idea of the general audience, but it is hard for you to know who has actually seen your ad or heard your commercial. In contrast, with an email campaign, you can identify exactly who viewed your email and engaged with the content, which makes it easier for you to zoom in on your target audience for retargeting. 

2. Consumers are accustomed to “Recommended for you” marketing.

Thanks to Amazon, Netflix and other retailers, today’s consumers have been exposed to personalized service, and they love it. The fact that a retailer could know them so well is mind-blowing. Data makes this happen. Accenture’s 2017 Global Distribution & Marketing Consumer Study confirmed that “generic product advice and services support will not do for today’s financial services customers. They expect their data to be leveraged into personalized advice and benefits, tailored to their life stage, financial goals and personal needs.” Today’s consumers expect their financial services partner to use their information to get to know them and their situation and add value in providing unique solutions. Your members fall into this group.

The study went on to share that “customers know data’s value and will trade it … They are willing to exchange personal data for new, customized benefits. Providers offering real value for data can earn increased trust and loyalty.” Consumers appreciate digital marketing strategies, but they want to see what you do with the information; they want to benefit from it. It is up to you to think of creative ways to delight and surpass your members’ expectations.

3. It’s the Jackie Chan of marketing strategies.

Digital marketing is an agile and flexible world. When you do a print ad, there is no turning back after it goes to the press for printing. With a Google ad, for example, you can fix a typo or URL in a text ad, adjust search words or daily budgets and make other changes based on what the data is telling you as you track the campaign. And at the end of the campaign, as noted above, you have rich information that helps you to determine ROI and refocus for the next campaign.

There is no doubt that the world of marketing is far from what it was ten years ago. There are very few things that will set you apart from your competitors, but how you gather data and use it in making business decisions is one of them. Today, there is no marketing strategy without a digital component, and credit union marketers can now go to the table with objective results backed by data to defend their budgets.

In her role as PR and communications manager, Shelly-Ann Wilson Henry plays a critical role in the development, distribution and management of the content that supports the thought leadership agenda at CUES Supplier member Trellance, Tampa, Florida.

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