The world, and thus the credit union industry is going digital. People can either choose to accept this fact or to try their best to ignore it. But numbers don’t lie: 2 billion smartphones activated by the end of 2013, 1 billion + Facebook users, 500 + million Tweeters, the same number for Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, large increases in digital marketing budgets, etc.
Credit unions must keep up with the changing landscape and will need to enhance their marketing platforms in order to do so. In fact, in the not-too-distant future, credit union marketing professionals will need to be educated and trained to use digital marketing tactics (if they are not already.) But it’s going to have to go deeper than a cursory understanding of what digital marketing is. Indeed, implementation and use of things like “responsive web design” will have to be part of a credit union marketer’s skill set. Never heard of “responsive web design?” It would benefit you to do some research on it! Marketers also need to get used to collecting data, analyzing it, and using it systematically to reach their target audiences. Marketers can no longer hide from these realities!!
I humbly suggest that the following 4 trends will be the hottest in 2014:
Content Marketing – no one wants to be sold to anymore. Consumers want fresh, relevant, and timely informational content. This means that credit union marketers are going to have to start creating this content themselves. It will be much more credible if the consumer can see that you didn’t just post a link to someone else’s story. Don’t worry – you can still use those links but in order to truly position your credit union as an expert, you’ll have to write original content as well. And remember, people buy from experts.
Data – yes, I brought it up again…. because it’s important.. Marketers must be more systematic and targeted when reaching out to consumers. Their responsibilities include adding to the bottom line of the credit union. Therefore, the credit union marketing function must become more systematic, data-driven, and sophisticated. The discussions must move from ‘let’s design a postcard’ to ‘what is our target market, what do they want, and what is the best way to provide what they want to them using the data that we have.’
Sharing – search engines like Google and Bing are already writing new algorithms to reward businesses with better SEO when their content is shared using social media. Encourage your followers, friends, etc. to share the content that you are providing with others. The “share” button is great but perhaps you want to take it up a notch – run contests based on the sharing of your content, track the number of shares and design outreach programs to create more awareness and momentum.
Mobile Marketing – the methods are out there but marketing via mobile channels is still not being used to its full potential. 2 billion smartphones people! All of your content must be accessible by mobile devices. If it’s not – you will lose opportunities. It’s that simple. Are you using your credit union’s mobile applications to push out relevant content and information? If not, start a discussion on this very topic right now.
What are your credit unions doing to leverage the marketplace’s affinity for all things digital? I look forward to your comments!