Mother Knows Best? Verity, Spokane Federal Bloggers Target the Mom Market
January 9, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014
Verity Mom followers have gotten to know Mollye Taylor and her family pretty well.
Mollye Taylor is a bit of a health nut.
She prefers home-cooked meals over going out to eat. She shops mostly for organic ingredients. Fried foods aren’t usually on her menus, and fast food is absolutely a no-no. So imagine her surprise when Taylor returned home from a recent weekend trip to discover that Dad and the kids look at dinner options a little, uh, differently when Mom is away.
Fried chicken? Yep.
A trip to McDonald’s? You bet.
And the sheepish look on Dad’s face when the kids spilled the beans? It’s a classic moment, one that’s no doubt been repeated in countless homes across the Northwest. But this confession is different. This one is documented on video, and shared online with the 27,000 members of Verity Credit Union in Seattle.
That’s because Taylor is Verity Mom, the credit union’s personable and quirky connection to the women who make so many of their families’ financial decisions. And it’s through Taylor’s totally relatable stories of family life that Verity is giving a voice to a segment of its membership that is often underserved.
“We launched Verity Mom in 2009 because we felt strongly that moms and families were not being well served by large, faceless financial institutions,” says Melina Young, Verity’s director of marketing. “Moms in Washington didn’t have a voice when it came to getting what they needed financially. So we launched a search for a mom and gave that person a platform: the Verity Mom website.”
Rosemary Garner served in the role for two years, followed by Danielle Gahl in 2011. Taylor, a Seattle-area mother of four, won the most recent search in November 2013. Since then, she has introduced her followers to her Seahawks-loving husband, Keith, and to sons Luke, Logan, Levi and Layton. She has shared the family’s morning off-to-school routine, and recounted her trip to the emergency room after rolling her ankle on the pile of shoes left at their front door.
In a series of “$5 Friday” posts, she has engaged followers with a variety of questions and the chance to win a Starbucks gift card. And last week, she introduced VMD — Verity Mom’s Dad, Bob — a longtime financial advisor and economics professor who shared some personal finance tips.
“As Verity Mom, I help families make sense of banking and money. I also write and make videos about my adventures as a mom. I’m here to listen, help, connect and share,” Taylor says. “But one of the reasons I am so passionate about being the Verity Mom is because Verity Credit Union sees the importance a mom plays in her family’s financial health.”
That’s absolutely true, Young says.
Research shows that moms control more than 80 percent of household spending and are the No. 1 driver of where their children will do their future banking. Women do 60 percent of a family’s online shopping, and buy 81 percent of all of the products and services a family uses. “So it’s a powerful place for us to be,” Young says.
“Moms are also really big on word of mouth,” Young adds. “They talk a lot to their friends about good experiences and like to share when something exceeds their expectations. They are also good at giving feedback and engaging with us on social media.”
Taylor was one of 35 moms who applied to be Verity Mom by submitting a 60-second video and a sample blog post. The job comes with a one-year contract that pays $20,000, as well as a MacBook Pro computer, an iPod Touch and a video camera. In addition to her blog and videos, Taylor represents Verity at events like “Mamacon” and “Mom & Me at the Zoo,” and at classes or programs that cater to Seattle-area families.
Verity also uses the Verity Mom website to explain what makes credit unions different from banks; offer special discounts, coupons and contests; and provide an easy way for moms, dads and kids to become credit union members.
The community’s response, Young says, has been very positive.
“Even people who aren’t parents still appreciate what we are doing,” she says. “And frankly, moms have very high expectations for their products and services, so if we designed something to meet moms’ needs, it should exceed everyone else’s expectations, too!”
Verity Mom has also had an interesting effect on the credit union’s demographics. In the first two years of the program, the average age of new members dropped significantly — to around 36. “There are always other factors that could go into something like this,” Young says, “but we attribute most of the difference to our decision to actively pursue the mom market” and the influence that had on the products and services Verity offers.
“The ultimate goal of Verity Mom is to help our credit union really understand how we can serve moms and families better than any other financial institution,” Young says. “It has absolutely done that.”
And other credit unions are taking notice.
Last May, Spokane Federal Credit Union launched the Momcents blog, featuring the wit and wisdom of its former marketing director, Krista Felker. Felker, who left Spokane Federal to be a full-time mom after the birth of her third child, says she tries to share “my experiences of being a mom, as well as what I do to teach my kiddos about money.”
Felker has offered tips for families heading to The Happiest Place on Earth or to a restaurant with toddlers in tow. She’s talked about family financial contracts and her system for getting the kids to save money and spend wisely. Last week’s blog asked the question, “Do you ever think, ‘I need to play with my kids more’ or ‘I need to not yell at my kids so much?’” and told moms, “You are not alone.”
It’s the kind of advice that fits squarely with Spokane Federal’s 2013 business plan, according to Marketing Director Susan Cerutti-Jensen. Among the goals: to build member relationships, to invest in and engage with the next generation of credit union members, to create meaningful communication with members, and to showcase products and services relevant to members and future members.
“It’s definitely achieving our short-term goals,” Cerutti-Jensen says. “We track how many clicks the blog posts get, and Momcents is one of our most popular pages.”
Both Verity and Spokane Federal also have a strong social media presence, with plenty of tweets and frequent posts on Facebook. That goal of creating meaningful communication with members? Targeting the mom market appears to be working.
“What a great place for wit, wisdom, reality,” follower Erica Newman Nash writes on Verity Mom’s Facebook page, “mixed with the humor we all need to get us through the day.”
For more information about the Verity Mom program, contact Melina Young at 206.361.5394 or MelinaY@VerityCU.com. For more about Momcents, contact Susan Cerutti-Jensen at 509.323.1303 or email@example.com.
Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, firstname.lastname@example.org.