Key Takeaways From the 2017 Marketers’ Conference

Credit union marketers explored applications for new consumer research and discovered fresh digital strategies during the NWCUA Marketers’ Conference.

NWCUA President & CEO Troy Stang, TAPCO CU AVP of Corporate Development Amy Tolzmann, TAPCO CU CEO Carlyn Roy, and NWCUA COO Denise Gabel celebrate the Spectrum Marketing Awards on the red carpet during the Marketers’ Conference.

On May 4-5, more than 60 credit union marketers took a deep dive into national consumer research, advanced digital strategies, and credit union financials during your Association’s Marketers’ Conference.

New Findings About Consumers and Credit Unions

At the conference, marketers unpacked consumer research recently commissioned by the Credit Union National Association’s Creating Consumers Awareness Advisory Group.

The research confirmed many credit union pain points, including consumer misconceptions about access to membership and technology shortcomings. Credit union marketers were encouraged to draw on this research to lay the groundwork for more effective messaging.

“We don’t have to lead technology, we just have to show we’re keeping up and that credit unions are tech savvy,” said Graeme Trayner, vice president, Greenberg, Quinlan Rosener, the firm that conducted the research.

Trayner shared Northwest-specific findings and said the region “hit positive image out of the park.”

Having consulted many iconic Northwest brands, Trayner noted regional values like good stewardship and innovation. He suggested playing to the intelligent, pioneering spirit led by area companies including Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

“Credit unions,” Trayner said, “should strike a chord with Americans’ aspirations … If you talk about how credit unions put you in control, joining a credit union is a savvy thing to do.”

Troy Stang: Marketers Are the Gateway to Public Awareness

With a vision for 75 percent market share by 2025, NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang is a man on a mission.  In a conference keynote, Stang acknowledged marketers as the gateway to public awareness.

Stang called on marketers to use the movement’s 5,800 credit unions, 6,000 service providers, 58,000 board members, 110 million consumer members, and 273,000 employees to evangelize the benefits of membership.  Success, he noted, will be clear when 75 percent of the public belongs to a credit union, and when 100 percent of legislators understand and protect the cooperative financial services choice.

Swan Song for Sarah Canepa Bang

Credit unions need more than digital strategy; they need a digitally transformed company, according to Sarah Canepa Bang, Executive Vice President of Industry Relations at CO-OP Financial Services.  Bang shared the “secret sauce” credit union marketers should leverage to develop member relationships.

Start with credit cards, she advised.

Northwest credit unions have just 16 percent credit card penetration. Credit unions can deepen relationships by helping members open credit card accounts, Bang said. Nodding to the CUNA research finding that credit unions should message membership as a savvy choice, Bang said to “tell people they are smart.” Northwest consumers have an average balance of $2,200 on their credit cards, meaning most are likely paying interest. Bang wondered why consumers wouldn’t want to save with a credit union card–on average in the Northwest, credit union cards offer an interest rate six percent lower than what banks charge.

“You have to give points,” Bang said. She encouraged marketers to take a “combat engineer approach.” If consumers agree to a credit card, engineer the program to also offer something else of value, such as a community service component.

Bang offered a free pair of her legendary high heels to any attendee who comes up with a workable idea for converting indirect loans to Demand Deposit Accounts (DDA).

Want to walk in Sarah Canepa Bang’s shoes? Share a good idea with us by May 31 and we’ll pass it along.

Bang surprised attendees with the announcement of her retirement this month.

“And you have just seen the final presentation I will give in my credit union career,” she said.

Editor’s note: The next face-to-face event for credit union marketers is the Marketing, Business Development, and Community Outreach Council. The meeting will take place Sept. 21 in seven locations across the Northwest.  Register here.