A is for Automation – What is marketing automation for credit unions?

Are you wondering if marketing automation is right for your credit union? Today we’re talking about how Credit Union 2.0 can help you figure out how to deliver great marketing and digital experiences to your members.

A lot of credit unions really wonder: are they sending too many messages to their members, communicating the same thing over and over? I’m a member of multiple credit unions, and I have to say, it drives me nuts when I get the same message month after month. It’s not the credit union’s fault: they have hundreds of products to market to thousands of members and it’s hard to figure out which product is right for each member and which message is right.

But if you look back at the 4 P’s of marketing, it’s all about personalization and timeliness. And marketing automation is key to that.

First, a lot of credit unions want to know if they can do this with their normal MCIF. And the short answer is no. A marketing information system really lacks in that regard, because the credit union uploads data once a month, or once every 6 months, and while they may append extra data every so often, in reality that data is stale almost the instant they put it in there.

Credit unions have this great resource in real-time data. They know when their members do everything: when they get paid, when they move, when they get married, when they get divorced, when they have kids… all this great information is in your data, and you don’t use it in most cases. Marketing automation is really key to being able to use that, and your MCIF doesn’t have that in it.

So what is marketing automation? It’s all about creating repeatable digital experiences and marketing to your members on their time, in their place and channel: through your website, email campaigns, social media, text message, or direct mail. At the end of the day, you’re looking to create a well-articulated and well-orchestrated experience so your member’s getting the right message at the right time in the right place, a message that’s highly personalized to what they’re trying to do.

Marketing automation takes all those data points – web, email, your real-time data, etc. – and combines that into that experience where you’ve containerized the ideal different ways you could deliver that educational content or marketing messaging in all those day-to-day points. It then allows you to orchestrate that, so that for this particular member, they’re going to get sequence A, B, C, D, or E, and for that member who doesn’t want any email, they’re going to get A, B, C, D, and F. It also allows you to orchestrate that on a highly personalized level, based on that component.

Next, a lot of credit unions want to know if marketing automation is hard to implement. The answer is yes. To get marketing automation fully integrated with all 100 products your credit union might have, and get all of your employees and members using it, and highly tailor that, you’re going to be working on this for several years.

BUT it’s really easy to implement for your first thing and to get immediate results out of that. Usually, I recommend starting with your new member enrollment process. There will be another post talking about how to create a great first 100 days experience, and it really relies on marketing automation to accomplish that – that’s a great place to start. It’s not hard to do, you can map that out quickly and get that experience working so you get immediate results.

In summary, marketing automation is the next generation of marketing tools and technology. It’s all about creating those repeatable digital experiences, educating your members, building trust through that education, and through that trust selling more product to your members.

But of course, we’re credit unions, so we don’t just want to hock product: it’s also about finding the right match and making sure that your members have a need for what you’re able to solve. And by combining that, the marketing automation creates that great digital experience that creates great value for your members and will make them sing your praises.

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