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Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to the Well

by Greg Crandell

[Editor's Note -- Ron Daly is away this week, so Greg Crandell, DigitalMailer's Executive Vice President, will be sharing some insights on our family of blogs.]

This great article from BAI.org came across my desk the other day. Titled “Making the Cross-Sale in Difficult Times” by Katie Kuehner-Hebert [click here to read], it outlines the benefits of cross-selling for financial institutions that need more income and a deeper relationship with their members.

Some key takeaways from their article:
• Two things to overcome – product cannibalization and silo mentality. Just moving money from one account to another isn’t cross-selling. Encourage the various departments in your organization to know a little about another department and make smart, helpful referrals to members/customers.

• Get a taste for the term “needs based” – don’t waste time and effort chasing a consumer who’s not interested.

• Are you offering something that’s useful to consumers? Read the article to find more about Fifth Third Bancorp and their “Goal Setter” accounts.

• Regulation changes [like Reg E] are a hindrance to “big tent” marketing. Some target marketing isn’t just more practical, it’s essential, because certain consumers can’t/won’t qualify for every product.

• Objective Business Services, Inc recommends measuring the amount of money a consumer brings in, not just the number of products they use. A member with five accounts might be more profitable than a member with ten - it all depends which services they're using and which they're in the market for later on.
The article really is worth a read, and reemphasizes what we try to tell new email marketing clients and potential clients every day – target smart. Don’t be afraid to market to people who already know your value and are willing to buy. Go back to the well, there's still plenty of water.

"What about new members?" you ask. Yes, recruiting new members should still be a focus for you, but don't hesitate to bring new members in with a bang - look to onboarding campaigns to help you fill in the gaps in their financial picture. Maybe they just came in for a cheaper loan or a balance transfer to your credit card. What's stopping them from switching other services to you? Talk to them and find out. Making each member a repeat consumer is vital to credit unions' survival.

We can walk you through some of the finer points of email cross-selling. Join us for “Do You Want Fries with That?”, our free webinar. Click here to see our events list and sign up.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No Scissors Required

by Ron Daly

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

No matter what new technological developments crop up, the old standards still hold. Billboards still draw eyes, there's still a "fold" in paper advertising spec sheets, and coupons bring in new business -whether they're clippable or clickable.

In a recent eMarketer article ["Coupons Boost E-Mail Open Rate", Nov 19 2009], coupons are shown to boost email open rates significantly. Whether the coupons are for in-store use or online use, users are more likely to click through when a significant savings offer is presented - 80% more likely, to be exact.

Coupons have become de rigeur in the recession. Services such as Groupon and Vente-privee have made a tidy business of selling discounts on local businesses and couture fashion via email. Savvy shoppers take full advantage of this trend by waiting out their daily coupon and snapping up opportunities that interest them. They don't have to stake out a site or enter a contest, however - they just have to open up their inbox. How could your business capture this trend for itself?

Well, for starters, how about your own services? We've talked about onboarding campaigns recently, email campaigns aimed at new members who might be in the market for your credit union's services. Why not make special coupon-style offers that are good for the life of the email to new members? Cut rates on interest earning services or give $25 worth of free money to anyone that takes the time to open a new account with you. The sky isn't the limit - your imagination and willingness to outreach is.

Some best practices that we can give you now (via email marketing reports):

1) No need for a fancy picture

A photo coupon might be interesting to look at, but what happens when your member's ISP blocks the image or removes it from the email altogether? Make coupons and coupon codes readable in plain text so members can see the value of what you're offering without any images to misplace or misinterpret.

2) Tighten up that net

You think that offering everyone the same rates is going to get everyone on board? College students have different wants and needs that their parents, just like first time home buyers have different wants and needs than long-time mortgage holders in the market for a HELOC. Use DigitalMailer's ARB to send to refined groups and specific age or income ranges.

3) Where's "step two"?

Your coupon was clicked by 10% of your target audience. That 10% counts as a group of qualified buyers - what about the other 90%? Is there a product or service that might better suit them? And quit bugging the 10% that already took you up on your offer - be more accurate and more precise in your marketing and you can save money in the long run.

Want to learn more? DigitalMailer's "Do You Want Fries with That?" Webinar is a FREE webinar that goes through email marketing with the Automatic Relationship Builder. We've helped financial institutions across the country reach customers and members in a number of exciting ways.

Click here to see available dates for this webinar and to sign up for the next session.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Where The Buys Are

by Ron Daly

No, not the Connie Francis song - I'm talking about where the BUYS are. We know (and we've mentioned before) that we're partial to email marketing. But you're wondering about the profitability of marketing via email and whether or not there's any impact when you're using email to market products. Which emails are sure to get opened?

If you're a credit union marketer, you have a particular challenge when it comes to email marketing, and a particular advantage to answer it. Your problem:
  1. getting members to buy/invest more at the credit union,
  2. getting them to recommend the credit union to friends, and
  3. finding a way to get either done with a limited budget and in a limited space.
What's the advantage, you're asking? Take a look at this chart from eMarketer Daily.



According to this chart, financial emails are getting read between 60 and 70 percent of the time. When you send your eStatement reminders every month, your members are going to open them for a look-see. Why not start branding them and adding in links/ads for other services and support from your institution? Push new products and rates, or encourage members to tell a friend and promote your credit union to potential members in the community. Take advantage of the relationship you've already established and a high open rate. That's where the buys are - smart, well-placed ads that tell members and potential members what they need to know.

As Liz Miller of CMO Council says:
“Irrelevant, impersonal communications, be it email or traditional mail, is a waste as it does not engage a receptive recipient...It is no surprise that consumers are opting out of irrelevant emails. However, what is a grave sign for marketers to heed is that customers will disconnect and stop doing business with brands who continue to send messages that demonstrate a lack of intimacy, customer insight and individual understanding.”
Email marketing works best when you can tailor it to the target. If you're interested in getting members. The DigitalMailer Automatic Relationship Builder helps marketers do just that. How? Visit our ARB page or call us today to find out - 866.994.4900 ext. 115 or info@digitalmailer.com for more information.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

10 for '10: The Top 10 Branding Challenges Your Credit Union Will Face Next Year

(This story originally ran on the CU Soapbox.)

Paul J Lucas, national marketing and branding consultant and frequent CU Journal contributor, wanted to share some thoughts on brand management for credit unions. Visit Paul's website at pauljlucas.com,email at paul@pauljlucas.com or call (202) 320 5759 to learn more.

Paullucasbyline

Going into 2010, the top brand challenges for credit unions will be:

1. Misunderstanding what a brand is and why it matters. It is important to have a brand strategy that is embraced by the entire organization. If your staff doesn't get it you can't expect your members to embrace your brand.

2. Lack of understanding in the marketplace that credit unions are ideal primary financial services providers - not just a good place to get a vehicle loan. This means that credit unions must explain both the credit union concept and their own specific brand stories.

3. Communicating that shared branching and ATM networks are competitive to the national presence of large banks. This is critical to a credit union's ability to compete against multi-branch banks (and credit unions). Yet most members have no idea what "shared branching" means or how competitive large ATM networks are compared to many large bank systems. Do not assume members know what "shared branching" means, or how to use it.

4. Bad advertising and marketing that obscure the brand and fail to communicate the credit union's benefits can erode brand value.

  • Your marketing/messaging must be clear, straightforward and benefits oriented.

  • Creative does matter - effective creative gets you noticed and it clearly states the benefits of using your CU.

  • All messages must be consistent building blocks for the brand: advertising; signage; brochures; newsletters; statement messages; eLerts - every member touch point.

5. Overemphasis on reaching new members at the expense of building more productive relationships with current members. Build brand loyalty inside-out! Your current members are the best prospects for increasing product and service penetration. That is key to building a successful, stable financial services organization

6. Letting impatience trump consistency. Throwing together ads, products, announcements, etc. without taking time to tie them to your brand strategy is counter-productive.

7. Constantly changing things in search of the "magic bullet." Changing offers, ad mediums, products, etc. in search of the one magic key to prosperity is a death spiral. There are no magic bullets beyond consistency and brand clarity.

8. Thinking business development reps will quickly and easily grow assets. Business development reps are only as good as they are managed and credit unions do not usually have experienced, effective sales managers on staff. Business development reps who are unskilled and untrained can do your Brand more harm than good.

9. Working with a marketing budget that is too small to achieve marketing goals. Some annual marketing budget benchmarks:

  • 0.25% of assets at a minimum for small institutions.

  • 0.50% for a larger SEG, near community or small market community CUs.

  • 0.75 to 1.50% for large/urban community charter CUs.

10. Remembering that credit unions are chartered to lend money! That requires becoming a competitive retail marketer.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

How to wear a barrel in a way that flatters the hips

by Ron Daly

Yes, I know. It's a joke that's getting less funny, because it's slowly becoming reality. People are losing homes, jobs are disappearing, business is bad all around. And we, dear friends, are in an industry that is constantly under the microscope (read about the CU industry's recent scrutiny on our other blog, the CU Soapbox). We're on the tightrope, and we need to stand up straight and tall to get through.

Marketing suffers at a time like this. People and businesses trying to do more with less are often left with nothing at all. And while "no news is good news" applies in some aspects of life, it sure doesn't work for the CU industry. A diminished marketing budget only means you have to be smart about spending.

Multiple studies show that companies that keep their messages and brands in the public's eye during a recession often come through hard times much better than those that don't. One such study, by MarketSense, proved the point with the 1989-91 recession: Brands such as Jif Peanut Butter and Kraft Salad Dressing increased advertising, and saw sales grow 57 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell stepped up promotion, increasing sales by 61 percent and 40 percent. But McDonald's, which took the opposite approach, had a 28 percent decline in sales over the same period.

Case Study: Innovative Recession e-Marketing

Solidarity Federal Credit Union is taking an innovative approach to recession marketing: YouTube-style videos. The Kokomo, Indiana-based credit union is emailing promotional clips to targeted members, using short videos created in-house. Members tell their own stories about why they like the credit union's services, such as electronic checking and at-home check deposit. And according to Vice President of Marketing Diana Tenbrook, members' recommendations go a long way to boost credibility.

Tenbrook says the credit union began its unique approach to differentiate SOLFCU from its banking competitors. But with tighter budgets in today's down cycle, the credit union has found email can extend its marketing efforts without draining resources.

SOLFCU uses DigitalMailer's email engines to distribute the information. Here's the latest SOLFCU latest video clip, where Jake and Kylie, a newlywed couple, discuss how they had to deal with enormous bank fees with no explanation!

"Emailing these clips has actually resulted in some viral marketing, with members spreading the word after viewing them," Tenbrook said. "One of our members, who has a home-based business, told us people come up to her in the grocery store and say they've seen her in a Solidarity video."

Using DigitalMailer's email marketing service, SOLFCU can ensure that the emailed videos get to the inboxes of members who want to receive them. And with a high open rate of nearly 30 percent, the strategy is clearly working.

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