The Perfect Marketing Test?

Good marketers understand the importance of testing. Really good marketers design and execute tests that enable them to improve and optimize results.

But marketers can only test things they can control. And competitors’ actions don’t typically fall into the category of things a marketer can control.

Recent events in Texas, however, point to an opportunity to conduct an interesting marketing test.

Resource One Credit Union of Dallas recently launched a campaign it calls MyLifeMyMoney. According to The Financial Brand blog:

Contestants will submit a 500-word blog and video online during the first phase of the competition. Resource One will then select the top finalists who will have to solicit votes from their community of peers. The candidate with the most votes will then be selected as the MyLifeMyMoney “spokester” on October 31, 2008. The winner gets use of a Scion, a phone, laptop, video camera and part-time salary for a year. The campaign is almost identical to Common Wealth Credit Union’s Young & Free Alberta initiative that was launched up in Canada a little less than a year ago.”

Interesting. Especially because a few days later and about 240 miles to the southeast, Texas Dow Employees’ Credit Union in Houston launched Young & Free Texas, which is also almost identical to the Young & Free Alberta initiative. But that’s because Currency Marketing, the marketing agency behind the Alberta initiative, is also working with TDECU to launch the Texas initiative.

Currency’s game plan is to exclusively license the Young & Free to one credit union per state in the US and one per province in Canada.

Why go with Currency when, like Resource One, you can go it alone?

Because Currency is betting (knows?) that there’s a lot more to a successful Gen Y marketing campaign than just launching a contest, picking a spokesperson, and setting him/her loose. Accelerating the learning curve, understanding the budget implications, integrating the program with other marketing initiatives, and identifying the product needs are all part of Currency’s value proposition.

With the two credit unions launching similar types of initiatives, at roughly the same time, and in similar markets (? I have no idea if that’s true. I’m sure Trey will set me straight on this), it’s a great opportunity to determine if an in-house approach is superior to an outsourced approach.

Will Resource One suffer from learning curve issues? Fail to integrate the program with other initiatives? Will TDECU benefit from Currency’s expertise and accelerate its learning curve, budget appropriately, and effectively integrate?

We might not find out. But this could be one great marketing test.

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Small Sucks

I’ve seen some blog posts/presentations recently, touting the benefits of being small. Not small as in short (i.e., height), but small, as in organizational size.

My take: Hogwash. Being small sucks. And even if it doesn’t suck for your firm, the reality is that being small — or, more accurately, staying small — isn’t sustainable.

Regardless of the legal structure of your entity (for-profit or not-for-profit), every firm needs to bring in more money than it spends, if it wants to stay in business. Duh.

But even if your firm generates a healthy profit today, standing still isn’t a feasible option. Even if nothing changes in the number of your customers and the scope of their relationship, the reality is that Sally in Accounting and Bill in the call center are going to want to raises at some point in time. And your suppliers are going to raise their prices at some point. Which means there’s always upwards pressure on expenses.

In addition, if you’re going to innovate, that might take some capital investment over and above today’s level of investment. And where is that going to come from? Growth.

So while it may chic to say that small is beautiful, and though staying small may be seductive, it simply isn’t feasible. You have to grow.

One alternative is to grow the top line faster than you grow the expense line.

If you’re a credit union, you have some options here. Option #1 is to increase your penetration of your existing field of membership. If the universe of potential members is decreasing, this isn’t particularly easy. And if you haven’t been particularly successful at acquiring new members from the existing field of membership in the past, then you’re going to have to make some investments in marketing, service, product delivery, etc. to improve on past performance. And that takes additional money. Which cuts into profits. Which aren’t there if you aren’t growing.

Option #2 is to increase your share of wallet among existing members. If you’re a US credit union, good luck. US consumers don’t like to put all their financial products with a single institution. With the average age of CU members generally higher than the national average, this is a risky strategy, since many older consumers don’t need a lot of new deposit accounts or home/car loans.

The new crop of financial services customers — Gen Yers — might be different. Who knows. Good luck waiting it out until they need mortgages, home equity loans, investment accounts, and retirement planning services. Something tells me that CUs are going to have to make new investments (if they haven’t already) to attract them.

A second alternative is to continually decrease the cost structure of your organization.Good luck. A lot of what are commonly referred to as variable expenses act a whole lot more like fixed expenses in real life.

So you have to grow. And growing organically is tough — real tough. So you merge. But here’s the problem with many mergers — they’re really mergers predicated on cost structure reduction. They’re not geared towards improving market penetration or share of wallet. They’re based on achieving economies of scale. Assuming you’re even able to capitalize on these promised efficiencies, what happens after that?

You either have to grow the top line faster than you grow the expense line, or continually decrease the cost structure of your organization. Which, as we’ve seen, is really hard to do. So you merge again.

So you see, being small sucks. Unfortunately, so does being big. This leads us to the Goldilocks theory of optimal organizational size: The right size of a firm is not too small, not too large. The right size is just right.

My friend the CU Warrior writes:

Small, not-for-profit financial institutions have what most large financial institutions do not: the genuine ability to craft solutions to their field of membership’s unique needs…”

This is a dangerous belief to cling to. Their ability to craft solutions is not inherently better. The advantage that smaller organizations have is their ability to act faster (generally speaking). But with an ongoing pressure to get bigger, that ability to act faster diminishes all the time.

Now I’m sure that the “small is beautiful” crowd will find examples of firms that “disprove” my argument. Here’s my rebuttal: Anybody can find examples of successful, small CUs — at a particular point in time.

The history of management books is littered with the examples of firm who were “in search of excellence” or “built to last” when some author came along and wrote about them. How many of those firms sustained their level of success? Few. Very few.

There will be some firms that truly run counter to my argument. These examples are few and far between. And more importantly, it’s my guess that there’s something different in the way these CUs are managed that account for their success. That is, they’re not successful because they’re small. Instead, their unique success enables them to stay small.

I suspect that Mt. Lehman Credit Union is one of these CUs. First of all, my guess is that MLCU’s investments in technology enable it to continually hold down the average cost of transactions and interactions. When it launched mobile banking, for example, it didn’t simply add one more customer contact channel to develop and maintain. It migrated transactions and interactions from other channels to the new channel.

Second, I would imagine that the typical MLCU member has more products/member than most other CUs, especially those in the US.

And third, I’m pretty sure that the management team and board are well aligned on a strategic path that enables the CU to stay sustainably small.

So being small might not suck for MLCU. But it’s likely that it will for your credit union.

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If Only Twitter Worked (Better)

In October, I’ll be at Forum CU’s Partnership Symposium — not as a speaker, but as host. My role will be to conduct and facilitate Q&A with the speakers (each speaker gets 40 min. max presentation time, with 20 min. Q&A). Truth be told, I’m more nervous about pulling this off than if I had to do a speech or presentation myself.

Part of the reason for my fear is that facilitating group Q&A with 100+ people is tough. In too many conferences, someone is trying to run around with a microphone. Not only does s/he never get there in time, but — to be blunt, here — some people just can’t seem to get to the point when asking their question (I’m not saying that they ask a question just to hear themselves talk, but…).

Forrester pulls it off nicely at their conferences by having attendees write their questions on 3×5 cards and passing them to analysts who (select and) read the questions from the back of the room. This isn’t a viable option for the Forum Symposium.

So here’s the brilliant idea I came up with. I’d create a twitter ID that attendees could send tweets to during the speaker’s presentation (nearly everyone there will either be familiar with Twitter or sitting next to someone who is).

After I opened with a few questions, we’d project the questions that attendees tweeted onto the screen, and I’d pick the best ones (and I’m sure some attendees won’t be shy about suggesting which ones I choose). We’d not only avoid the awkwardness of someone running around with a mike, but avoid excluding that really great question that could get excluded when Q&A is done the old-fashioned way.

After taking a few minutes to pat myself on the back for coming up with such a great idea, reality set in. Is Twitter reliable enough to pull this off? No. In fact, NFW (and to think that Twitter’s CEO has the gall to talk about monetization — get your product working first, bud, then you can worry about monetization).

Oh well, for me it’s back to the drawing board.

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Announcing projectADVOCACY

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

— Howard Beale in the movie Network (1976)

Do you ever wonder why customers say they’ll refer a firm to their family or friends? I’m sure the answer differs across industries, but in retail financial services it’s because they believe that the firms they’re willing to refer are doing what’s right for them, and not the firm’s bottom line at their expense.

In other words, customer advocacy isn’t about “customers advocating for the firm” — it’s about the firm advocating for their customers. Unlike the NPS definition, I define customer advocacy as:

The perception on the part of the customer that the firm does what’s right for the customer, and not the firm’s bottom line at the expense of the customer.”

When you realize this — and consider that effective management measurement techniques strive to understand the root cause of desired and undesired effects — then you begin to understand why NPS is a flawed technique.

And that’s why I’m mad as hell. As for not going to take it anymore, that’s where projectADVOCACY comes in.

In my role as a senior analyst Aite Group, I’m teaming up with Neville Billimoria from Mission Federal Credit Union and Paul Schwartz of CONGRUITY to launch a multi-credit union study to measure the degree to which credit union members perceive that their credit union looks out for their best interests.

Why launch this effort to measure member advocacy and compete with NPS? Because our definition of customer (or member) advocacy:

1. Is a better predictor of growth and loyalty.
Research that I’ve done in the past (and continued on at Forrester Research) has shown that the strongest predictor of the likelihood of consumers to do more business with their financial providers is the extent to which consumers believe those firms are advocates for the customer or credit union member. Likelihood to refer — while correlated with growth (in at least some studies) — isn’t the root cause of growth and loyalty. Credit union executives owe it to themselves — and their CU’s members — to understand the true drivers of growth and loyalty.

2. Is more actionable. To make NPS actionable, even its most ardent adopters admit you can’t ask just the one “likelihood to refer” question. But what other questions should be asked? No one agrees, and there is no theory or research to support an answer to that. But my research has shown customer advocacy (as I’ve defined it) does have operational, customer support, and marketing underpinnings that guide managers to ask the right questions to understand why a customer believes the firm is a customer advocate. Understanding these operational, support, and marketing dimensions — and which ones are most important to which members — helps execs take the right steps to improving their customers’ advocacy perceptions. That’s something NPS can’t say.

3. Enables a two-way perspective. In addition to surveying credit union members about the extent to which they believe their CUs are member advocates, we’ll be surveying CU executives, as well. We’ll ask them which of the advocacy dimensions they believe are most important to their members, and what they believe their members’ perceptions are of how well the CU delivers on those dimensions. What we”ll help CU executives understand is how well their own management team is aligned with each other and with their members. And again, that’s something NPS can’t do — you can’t ask the management team to simply predict the percentage of promoters or detractors.

4. Is more comparable across firms. Sure, when you ask the NPS question, that score is comparable across firms. But when the other questions asked vary, comparability is lost. Not only will projectADVOCACY compensate for this NPS weakness, but by capturing demographic information from CU members who are surveyed, we’ll be able to provide yet another level of comparability across participating credit unions.

5. Requires less investment. Net Promoter Syndrome Sufferers love to tell me that it doesn’t cost anything to implement the NPS methodology. The consultants and software vendors that have sprung up to support the methodology laugh all the way to the bank (or credit union) when they hear that. Participating in the projectADVOCACY initiative won’t be free — but no CU will be asked to invest more than $900 to participate.

6. Is just as simple. Please don’t tell me that NPS is superior to everything else because it’s so simple. Simple isn’t better. And even if it was, NPS isn’t any simpler than asking CU members if their credit union does what’s right for them or what’s right for the CU’s bottom line at the expense of its members.

A number of smart credit unions have already signed up to participate.

For more information about the study and the benefits or participating either go to the projectADVOCACY web site or email me at rshevlin at aitegroup dot com. Let me know if you want a copy of the study’s premise document or if you’d like to get on the phone to talk about the study.

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Web Site Redesign Best Practice

For the life of me I don’t understand why more firms don’t do what Hamilton Community Credit Union did.

Towards the end of May, Hamilton CU published a post on its blog which alerted its members to the CU’s planned site redesign, to be launched on June 6th. The post included screen shots from the yet-to-be released site. The post also described some of the new features.

This is such a no-brainer thing to do — whether you alert customers to the new design in your blog or on the existing site itself. If the site redesign is good, then yes, people will love the new site. But they will HATE being surprised by a new look and feel on the first day of the new release, no matter how good the new site is, or how bad the old site was.

I hate to bite the hand that feeds me (i.e., my free WordPress blog), but WordPress is guilty of not following this best practice, and it drives me crazy. I hate coming to my site and seeing pop-ups windows when I mouse over a link, seeing some weird icon associated with my comments, or automatically generated links (that are completely irrelevant) at the end of my posts.

Listen up, site designers — take a look at what Hamilton CU did. And do it too.

p.s. Somehow I’m not surprised that a Canadian credit union that blogs is propagating this best practice.

Thanks to The Financial Brand for the heads up.

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Bank Satisfaction: Up Or Down?

American Banker reported on JD Power’s 2008 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, which surveyed more than 19,000 people in January of this year. According to the article:

“Rising fees and poor complaint resolution were people’s chief gripes in a retail banking customer satisfaction survey that gave the industry poorer grades than a year ago.”

Sounds reasonable.

But what the article failed to mention was that in February, American Banker reported on the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index study which found that, in a survey of 18,000 consumers, satisfaction with banks was higher than the previous year.

So, is satisfaction with banks up or down?

My take: It’s hard to believe that consumer satisfaction with banks is up. The impact of the credit crisis, rising fees, and tough economic conditions overall have been building for a while now. The Consumer Confidence Index has steadily declined for at least a year now. It’s hard to believe that any consumer-focused industry would be experiencing increasing satisfaction in this environment.

Debating if overall satisfaction is up or down, though, obscures some more important questions:

1) What’s Wachovia doing right? As banks’ index dropped 3.5%, Wachovia’s score increased by about the same percentage. In the ACSI study, banks as a group scored 78. Excluding the five largest banks — of which Wachovia is one — the score was 80. Wachovia’s performance flies in the face of other firms’ declining scores, and is in sharp contrast to the other large banks which dragged the industry down.

2) What’s up with credit unions? According to the American Banker article, the JD Power study included credit unions, which “accounted for 9 points of the drop in this year’s overall score.” That’s very counterintuitive, and seems to contradict plenty of press releases from CUs themselves touting their astronomically high member satisfaction rates.

3) Is satisfaction the right thing to measure?
Trust me, the last thing I want to do is give the Net Promoter Syndrome sufferers an opening here, but we’ve got to face the facts: If two large-scale studies that purport to measure “customer satisfaction” with banks can produce directionally-different results, maybe there’s something wrong with the measure that’s being used.

Bottom line: While you can’t blame the firms whose satisfaction scores increased for tooting their horns, I do hope that behind closed doors that the banks are giving a bit more scrutiny to the JD Power and ACSI findings, and doing what any good marketing analyst would do: Trying to accurately attribute the change in results — whether negative or positive — to the factors that influenced those changes, whether they be internal effects (like improved or diminished service levels) or external factors (like economic conditions).

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Financial Services Marketers Could Use A Beer

At the CUES Experience conference in Minneapolis this past week, conference attendees went offsite to visit firms with a reputation for delivering a great customer experience. I went on the tour of Summit Brewing in St. Paul.

No, I didn’t go just to sample the beer (I’ll keep telling myself that until I really believe it).

Founded in 1986, the brewery has cultivated a loyal following. It’s strategy and philosophy should resonate with financial services executives. Here are some of the comments from Summit CEO Mark Stutrud which resonated with me:

“We’re selfish — we only make what we like.” Stutrud takes pride in repeating his firm’s slogan: We only brew what we love to drink. Whatever’s left over, we sell.” There was a subtle message here that is quite subversive in today’s marketing world. With all the focus today on “voice of the customer” programs, Stutrud seems to be saying that he doesn’t listen to his retail customers. But that’s a wrong interpretation. Stutrud stresses his firms efforts to “be on the streets.” His staff spends a lot of time out in pubs talking to bar owners, bartenders, and end customers about how Summit’s beers.

Instead, the comment refers more to Summit’s adamant refusal to produce a lite beer — regardless of how many customers ask for it. He says it wouldn’t fit with Summit’s strategy or philosophy. I can’t help but wonder how many FIs have the clarity of strategic direction to make that kind of decision.

“We had to overcome the perception that local beer isn’t good.” Stutrud talked about the perception that existed in the market when he started the brewery that imported beers were better than domestic beers, and the [mistaken] impression that the big national brands had a higher quality product than the few smaller, microbreweries that existed.

Stutrud gives Jim Koch of Samuel Adams credit for the success of its ad campaigns that showed off the foreign awards it won, helping to change long-held perceptions about domestic beers. And Stutrud educated the group on how the very nature of brewing a more flavorful beer means that the shelf life of that beer is very short — in effect, showing that the big national brands can’t be higher quality.

The connection to financial services is perhaps the reverse. Smaller banks and CUs have long tried to show that smaller is better — that they’re able to provide better, more personalized service that bigger banks. But not every customer or prospect wants that. Smaller FIs still have work to do to prove to certain segments of customers that they can provide high quality advice and guidance, and a high level of operational effectiveness that larger firms may be perceived to provide.

“We look for people who are passionate about the product.” The people that Stutrud was alluding to were both employees and customers. There aren’t a lot of people working at Summit, and Stutrud wants people who do work there to not only be good at their job, but into the product. And it’s the same with the et of customers Summit tries to attract. In Stutrud’s words, it’s people with that “pub/beer culture.” It reminds of REI, where the folks who work there are not just knowledgeable about the products, but avid participants in the sports and activities those products represent. And it seems like I every time I go into my local REI store, I feel like I’m not worthy to be there, since all the other customers are accomplished hikers, snowshoers, or bikers.

Contrast that with your typical financial services firms. First off, walk into pretty much any bank branch and you’re lucky if you speak with someone who has more than four hours training on any particular product, or any knowledge of what the competitors’ products or rates are. On the customer side, the Summit lesson is something most FIs simply do not get. To engender strong loyalty to a bank or credit union, it takes customers who are deeply involved in the management of their financial lives. Nobody is going to care about your bank or credit union if they don’t first care about financial products and services.

Bottom line: Summit’s story offers lessons for FIs regarding strategic direction and commitment.

Final note: I hope that anybody that reads this post is sufficiently impressed that I recalled all this despite the glasses of Extra Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, and Porter that I tried.

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Credit Unions: Who’s On Your Board Of Directors?

A recent article in CU Times claims that Trey Reeme of Texas Dow Employees CU in Lake Jackson, TX suggested that:

“60-plus-year old directors looking at the industry’s future should seriously consider stepping down to make way for a generation more connected to new technology.”

My take: This is a ridiculous recommendation, and a careless remark (if quoted accurately). Not to mention age discrimination, but I’m not here to argue about the legal aspects of replacing the 60-somethings on your board of directors.

There are two things that wrankle me about the statement. The first is the implicit assumption that just because someone is 60-ish that they don’t “get it.” Hogwash (not my first choice of words).

In the past year or so, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Gene Blishen, GM of Mt. Lehman CU in Canada. Gene is a Twitter friend, we share comments on our respective blogs, and we’ve met in person a couple of times. I don’t think Gene is 60 (yet), but he’s close enough for our discussion (sorry, Gene).

So, Trey, let me ask you something: Should a guy who blogs, Twitters, runs a Mac-only CU, attends BarCampBank meetings, and spends a month in Denmark, seriously consider stepping down?

And what about Ginny Brady, who’s on the board of directors at UFirst CU in upstate NY? Ginny blogs, twitters, and attends BarCampBank meetings too. Oh wait — it’s OK for her to stay on the board because she’s a woman, right?

The second problem is the implicit assumption that putting a Gen Yer on the board somehow creates “representation” of the technology-connected generation. The problem here, Trey, is what marketers call belly-button research: Taking a sample of one — yourself — and projecting out to the broader population.

So exactly which Gen Yer should a CU put on its board? The problem is, putting anyone person — Gen Yer, woman, Hispanic, etc. — and expecting that that person will “represent” the group they come from is wishful and fallacious thinking.

As much as Trey — and apparently some of my other Twitter friends who chimed in yesterday — think the problem is rooted in too many 60-year-old white guys on the boards of CUs, that’s not the root of the problem (it is a problem, just not the cause).

The root of the problem was hinted at in a recent post on the CU Warrior blog. Writing about a 29 year-old friend of his who’s up for a CU CEO position, the CU Warrior wrote:

“Don’t hire based on age. Hire based on an individual’s ability to move your financial institution in the direction the Board desires. And if your Board doesn’t have that vision, that direction, your needs run deeper than just a vacant CEO position.”

And therein lies the problem with the composition of many CU boards. They didn’t start with a vision of what the board was supposed to accomplish, and what the right set of skills of were to fulfill those goals and vision. And so a bunch of people were chosen — among the few who volunteered — who supposedly “represented” the CU’s membership.

Bottom line: Replacing the 60-somethings on CU boards with 20-somethings is not necessarily the right move. It could be, but it’s more about finding the right Gen Yer — not just any Gen Yer. And replacing the wrong 60-somethings — not the ones making strong contributions to the CU. But it’s got to start with the CEO and chairperson of the board rethinking the purpose, goals, and vision of the board and the CU.

Disclaimer: As I wrote this, I couldn’t help but think that the article might very well have misrepresented Trey’s true thoughts and words. Apologies to Trey if that was the case. But even if that were so, it wouldn’t change the sentiments of this blog post.

UPDATE: Please see this post on Trey’s site for a clarification of what transpired between him and the CU Times reporter.

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What’s Stunting Credit Union Membership Growth?

A Credit Union Times article about credit union growth challenges notes that although about 20% of credit unions now have a community charter, the majority aren’t growing their membership ranks. Mark Weber (it lists his name as Frank, but I have inside info that it’s really Mark) of Weber Marketing said:

“If good service were the secret, credit unions would be thriving in membership growth. When a credit union gains a community charter, absolutely nobody beats a path to your door. “

My take: You nailed it, Mark (as if Mark might actually read this). But Mark’s comment begs the question why should this be this case?

To understand why, let’s break down growth down to two simple components:

1) how much you sell, and
2) to whom you sell it to.

Revenue basically equals price times volume. But volume is a function of price. The laws of economics (which have not been repealed by social networking, Web 2.0, etc. by the way) say that if you raise your price, all other thing being equal, volume goes down. But if volume goes down less proportionately than the price increase, then revenue rises. The same logic holds true for a price reduction. Revenue will actually rise if the price decrease produces a disproportionately larger growth in volume.

This little lesson in economics holds the first clue why many CUs haven’t seen membership growth: They’re simply not price competitive.

The past few years have seen the emergence of the online high-yield savings account. According to NetBanker, about 2 million shop online each month for high-yield savings accounts. CUs like Patelco have recently countered with higher rates, but for many CUs who aren’t raising savings rates, a “service advantage” is often insufficient to overcome the price disadvantage.

While price is one lever impacting volume, the marketable universe (who you sell to) is a gating factor. With the right elasticity, a price increase or decrease might produce a huge increase in volume (and hence revenue), but if you can only sell to 100 people, your potential revenue is less than it would be if you could sell to 100,000 people. Which is exactly why so many CUs are looking to community charters to expand their marketable universe.

But just as there’s a decision to make regarding prices (increase or decrease?), when a CU’s marketable universe expands there’s a decision that has to be made: Market to prospects with no existing product (i.e., savings account, car loan, checking account, etc.) relationship or steal prospects away from their existing relationships.

Before the coming of age of Gen Yers, the new prospects that CUs were chasing were almost always coming from the latter group (existing relationship). And therein lies one of the biggest reasons why CU membership ranks haven’t grown with expanded charters.

According to a study by three economists from the Federal Reserve Board entitled “Who Competes With Whom? The Case Of Depository Institutions”:

We predict that 89% of customers who leave a bank in response to a deposit rate decrease migrate to another bank in the market, whereas 10% who leave migrate to a thrift.”

Conversely, when a customer leaves a thrift in response to a rate change, there’s only a 50% chance that he or she will stay with a thrift (even less in rural markets).

Tying this all back together, I’m left with three conclusions:

1) Many CUs are simply not price competitive with banks.
2) Becoming price competitive is not a panacea — consumers aren’t very likely to switch from a bank to a thrift.
3) Many CUs would do better to refocus on the existing base — i.e., increase “market penetration” within its existing marketable universe before expanding their charter.

The cold, hard reality:
If a CU isn’t very good at marketing to its existing potential membership universe, what makes it think it will succeed by simply expanding the universe?

In practice, CU’s service advantage helps retain existing members — not attract new ones. The service advantage is something that customers have to experience for themselves.

To attract new members, CUs are going to have to do what sophisticated direct marketers do: Develop predictive, analytical models to understand the attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic attributes of their best members, and apply those models to find prospects in the marketable universe who look most like existing members across those dimensions.

“Cumbaya” marketing efforts like BankerSpank and LookOutForTheLittleGuy aren’t going to cut it. Instead, understanding consumers’ expectations and desires to do business with innovative firms and the types of relationships they value (interpersonal connection, objective advice/guidance, or operational excellence) hold the keys to opening the door to membership growth.

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