How credit unions marketers can analyze their way to better campaigns.

This is the time of year when credit union marketers are crunching numbers and formulating 2016 marketing campaigns and budgets. According to CUES Supplier member CALLAHAN & ASSOCIATES, U.S. credit unions spent $1.17 billion on marketing and promotional expenses in 2014. And on average, they were spending $436 in marketing expenses per net new member.

Does this ring a bell? There’s some serious money at stake and if the RETURN ON MARKETING INVESTMENTS don’t compute to steady member growth, that’s simply money out the window.

ENTER ADVANCED ANALYTICS

Credit unions have always excelled at fostering strong, lasting relationships with their members. This has helped them tailor the right messaging and product offering to the right member. However, times are changing. Member bases are becoming more diverse and bigger banks are using customer analytics to market themselves to what could be your next new member.

For many forward-thinking credit unions, advanced analytics has certainly provided decision-making firepower. When a credit union purposefully infuses advanced data analytics, including loan, deposit, brokerage, insurance and profit data, into their marketing strategy—predicting patterns, anomalies and outcomes is just the beginning.

The big pay-off of advanced analytics happens when credit unions build a solid foundation for the marketing team to act on—getting everyone on board to track, measure and refine results. The pressure is on to demonstrate the return on investment of high-dollar marketing campaigns.

Consider these tops ways advanced analytics can become marketing gold:

GENERATE REFINED MARKETING CAMPAIGNS: For credit union marketers, advanced analytics delivers an accurate way to understand, orchestrate and influence member marketing campaigns, content, messaging and overall marketing activity feedback.

As advanced analytics help track and define successful marketing activities, marketers can create control groups and test different approaches to quantitatively identify which campaign is the most successful, which delivers an acceptable ROI and what member behaviors and characteristics correlate to success for future campaigns. The data will show which marketing vehicle created the highest response rate, the best action and the greatest ROI. It’s time to move beyond predictive analytics to prescriptive actions with recurring success metrics.

DELIVER BETTER CROSS-SELLING CAPABILITIES: Having an accurate view of all your members’ purchasing history and patterns is one key benefit of advanced data analytics. This can help the credit union determine which members are most likely to be prime candidates for a particular type of service, so you can market the right product and service to your members at precisely the right time. This translates into knowing up front what marketing messages work best for a specific product/service/member, so you can continue to fine-tune the message and strategy and ultimately predict your existing members’ purchasing behaviors.

EXPERIENCE HIGHER MEMBER RETENTION: Advanced data analytics answer such questions as what rates, accounts and loans your members need and want. When the credit union proactively shows members that it cares and understands their needs, trust and long-term relationships are fostered, ultimately reducing churn. Further, use the data you have about the value of adding Internet banking, bill payment, a savings account, or a car loan to create a precise next-product model that employees can use with confidence, knowing they are recommending a product that appealed to other, similar members.

TAKE PRESCRIPTIVE ACTION ON THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES: With advanced analytics, credit union marketers have the power to generate correlated lists of opportunity, and can recommend prescriptive, quantitatively proven actions that are tracked and then measured. The guess work is eliminated on which marketing campaigns and segmented lists of members generate the greatest success and ROI. Remember, what gets measured gets done—and sales and marketing teams will see the results of these prescriptive actions in their paychecks.

CREATE A DATA DRIVEN CULTURE: An advanced data analytics program aligns the credit union’s employees and fosters healthy working relationships, since everyone is working toward a common goal—to attract new members and improve credit union value. Making data analytics an integral part of the culture enforces the credit union to shed inefficient marketing practices. When credit unions analyze and trust the data, it allows employees to focus on what attracts and retains members, ultimately creating profit.

When member-facing staffers are empowered with the metrics necessary to identify opportunities in the data and then take action, a heightened sense of morale and value is created. Why? Employees are confident in the lists provided and will take the prescribed action because results have been quantitatively proven. This fosters a “learning organization” environment that recognizes top performers who share their methods and help improve the marketing and sales performance of their teams

Credit unions do not have bottomless marketing budgets. But they can make their budgets go further when they use the right data to market smarter. With the right data analytical tools, data-savvy staff or an outsourced data analytics partner, prescriptive and advanced member analytics can be your greatest marketing secret weapon.