An Intro to Marketing Objectives for Credit Unions

The popularity of credit unions is growing. According to NCUA, at last count, there were almost 5,068 federally insured credit unions with 125.7 million members — an increase of 4.3 million members over the previous year.

Whether your organization refers to it as customer experience (CX) or member experience (MX), creating the best possible experience for members is central to the success of your credit union. When joining a credit union, the member's journey looks a lot different from the consumer's journey when deciding to purchase the latest good from a store shelf. Maybe, that’s because instead of selling the latest gizmos, as credit union marketers, we want to build lasting, life-long relationships with our members, where we’re there for them at every step of life’s financial journey from saving for college to retirement.

Credit union marketing is an area of the financial services sector that is growing and changing rapidly. If you’re just getting started or even if you’re an old pro, it’s essential to know how recent changes in technology and the credit union-member relationship are shaping how credit unions attract and retain members. In this article, we’ll cover both new and familiar topics to discuss some of the latest developments, trends on the rise and even how a return to the basics can mean success for your credit union.

The Importance of Mapping the Member Journey

Who does your credit union typically serve? What are the things that keep your members up at night? What might their financial outlook be? To attract new members or to provide better service to existing members, the first step in getting to know your members is mapping the member journey. 

Rather than map every possible scenario at once, start with the basics — for example, a member opening a new member account. Follow this member’s journey and monitor how he or she might move through different touchpoints of becoming a member. Assess the interactions. Is there friction in the exchange? What channels are they going between? Collect data and feedback to evaluate the pain points, so you can focus on improvements.

Establish a Voice of the Customer (VoC) Program

What are your members saying? How can you extract meaningful insights from their observations, and how can you effectively respond to criticisms, compliments and inquiries? A Voice of the Customer program (VoC) is an analytics program that brands establish based on customer feedback. It focuses on needs, expectations, understandings and product improvement. Some have referred to a successful VoC as the heartbeat of any customer experience team.

Today, the process of recruiting and retaining members is no longer about one-way communication. Gone are the days when it was enough to put up a traditional billboard or 30-second TV spot and hope new members would come pouring in. While traditional media still has its place, today’s member marketing is much more about listening and responding to your members and prospects in real-time. More and more credit unions are investing in technology and creating messaging that allows them to do just that. The combination of technology and messaging is known as a VoC program.

Establish a Voice of the Employee (VoE) Program

Customer feedback data isn’t the only source of valuable information to use when improving member experiences. Establishing a robust method for monitoring employee feedback and performance — or a Voice of the Employee (VoE) program — is crucial to the process overall. An effective VoE program gathers feedback from employees at several touchpoints throughout their journeys with the credit union. It complements and enforces the VoC program by adding context to the interactions both with customers and with internal staff.

A successful VoE program also gives employees a voice in how your credit union is run and provides them with an opportunity to affect change for the better. With a smart VoE program in place, employees feel empowered and valued — instilling in everyone a sense of pride and ownership in the future of your credit union.

Boosting Your Net Promoter Score®

No matter the field, employers are obsessed with improving their organization's Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®. That’s because a Net Promoter Score® is considered to be one of the primary ways to measure customer experience.

In simplest terms, a Net Promoter Score®, NPS®, is measured with a single question survey, “How likely would you be to recommend XYZ Credit Union to a friend or colleague?”

Gauging your credit union’s NPS® is a good way to take the pulse of the credit union’s member satisfaction. However, while NPS® is important, we believe it only tells one aspect of the story. Proper goal setting and benchmarking is a much broader topic we’ll cover more in depth in a later blog post.

Competing on Providing Great Customer Experience

According to a survey from Gartner, customer experience (CX) is the “new marketing battlefront.” Respondents to the survey said that two-thirds of their companies compete mostly on the basis of providing good CX. An additional 81 percent of respondents said that their companies would be competing on good CX alone in the next two years.

While the role of CX in marketing is growing, according to Gartner, budgets are not growing along with it. Respondents to the survey stated that their budgets for CX would likely stay the same or grow smaller in the years ahead. As a result, credit union professionals must be savvy about how they choose to spend their marketing dollars.

In this case, investments in marketing software like MemberXP can be a way to maximize marketing budgets. For example, MemberXP can help credit unions to map member journeys, establish VoC and VoE programs and track and boost Net Promoter Scores — all things which have been covered in this article. When used correctly, software like MemberXP can reveal what marketing initiatives are working and which may need more attention. In so doing, they can also help credit union professionals to decide how to more precisely spend time, resources and dollars.

For questions about how MemberXP can help your credit union achieve its marketing objectives or to request a demo, visit

*Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Satmetrix, Bain & Company, and Fred Reichfield.


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