Marketing Focus with Spokane Federal and Rivermark Community Credit Unions on the Sprint Member Discount Program

Other Northwest credit unions have found success with the Spring program, including Oregon Community Credit Union, which donated the more than $20,000 in non-interest income generated to Credit Unions for Kids in 2015.

Perhaps the only thing that strikes more fear into a marketer’s heart more than a blank page is, in a way, the opposite: a marketing calendar bursting with too many initiatives.

Playing messaging traffic cop is made exponentially easier by turn-key marketing programs, allowing teams to smoothly implement member-facing benefits into their established routines without upsetting the routine.

That was one of the benefits mentioned when we talked to Susan Cerutti-Jensen of Spokane Federal Credit Union recently about the Sprint Member Discount program offered through Strategic Link.

The program, itself, is not a substantial addon and doesn’t seek to turn credit unions into cell phone companies. It essentially gives credit unions the opportunity to offer members discounted cell phone service through Sprint.

“We’ve always come back to that point in talking about this program. The intent is to provide their members with an added benefit by giving them a discount on their monthly recurring bill,” said Craig Reed, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Strategic Link. “In exchange for marketing this program to members, Sprint rewards credit unions with a year-end marketing incentive check.”

“The process itself was very easy. That’s always beneficial,” she said. “From a project management standpoint, you think ‘my gosh, how am I going to get another thing done?’ but they make it really seamless.”

“They also have an entire marketing section that has suggested content,” she added. “Content written, Tweets are already written. It makes it easy for us to grab and go.”

Cerutti-Jensen described some of the basic marketing requirements necessary to meet (“very do-able,” she said.), but pointed to a different reason why Spokane Federal signed up.

“In the end, the reasons why we made the decision was that it was one more way to add value to our members. It’s something where they can come to us and get added-value services.”

David Noble, VP of Marketing for Rivermark Community Credit Union, agreed on the ease of compliance with the program’s requirements and Rivermark’s longer-term strategy, calling it a “balance.”

“It’s not a core offering or area of focus, so we’re willing to accommodate minimal joint marketing requirements,” he added.

Brand recognition is another key, Cerutti-Jensen added. It’s not like these are brand new companies looking to reach into their membership. “These are brands that are recognizable and have positive recognition in the community,” she said.

Impetus to come aboard?

Last year, Association staff coordinated check presentations to showcase the non-interest income generated by the program. Cerutti-Jensen noted that was one thing that “put it on our radar.” This year, check presentations were scrapped so members could get the funds into their hands, faster.

“Some credit unions use it for team building, or member events, or re-invest back into their marketing budget. We’ve earmarked it as marketing dollars—we just got it—but we haven’t spent it,” she said.

Rivermark’s Noble noted that they received within the $12-$15,000 range. And Spokane Federal?

“It was enough money where we did a happy dance,” Cerutti-Jensen said.

Want to get involved? Contact Kaitlin Ramos, NWCUA Program Manager, at 503.350.2208 or kramos@nwcua.org.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, ehorvath@nwcua.org.

Posted in Around the NW, Federal, Marketing & Communications, NWCUA, Strategic Link.