Building consumers’ consideration of credit unions isn’t a quick process, it’s a long-term strategy, says Madison Homan, awareness brand manager for CU Awareness LLC.
That’s why the CU Awareness team is taking the long view with steady, targeted digital outreach to grab the attention of the 56% of U.S. consumers who don’t have a credit union relationship.
Homan shares how the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® campaign is evolving to boost consumer consideration of the credit union brand for the ultimate benefit of the credit union movement.
Madison Homan: Credit unions’ share of the financial services marketplace has been stagnant at roughly 7% for 25 years. In addition to market share stagnation, fintechs like Marcus and SoFi quickly ramped up as major competitors, making 36% of the personal loans in 2019—no branches, no paperwork.
They have an app and target paid digital marketing to their ideal audience—millennials. Add to this the fact that two persistent myths about credit unions are slow to be dispelled: “I can’t join” and “it’s difficult to access my money.”
These myths interfere with consumer perceptions and top-of-mind consideration for credit unions.
CUNA data shows 44% of Americans have a credit union relationship. The Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign is designed to dispel myths over time to increase consumer consideration for the “credit union” brand.
Designed for the credit union movement by the credit union industry, the campaign is the first step in reaching the 56% of consumers who aren’t credit union members.
The campaign is a long-play strategy of credit union awareness meant to be both nimble and laser-focused on the delivery of pro-credit union brand identification. When consumers are better informed, individual credit union marketing will be more effective in attracting newly aware consumers as members.
A: The campaign is designed to increase consumer awareness and top-of-mind consideration for the brand, credit union. In states where the campaign is launched, consumers who are “in-market” for a financial service are served targeted, relevant, and timely digital advertisements while they are engaged in their typical online behaviors.
The campaign is designed to efficiently deliver ads that align best with the persona or life stage of the person on the other side of the screen. Ninety-three percent of consumers who are served ads and click through to learn more do so on their mobile device.
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Studies indicate the average age of credit union depositors in the U.S. is between 47 and 55. The average age of those engaging with and responding to the Open Your Eyes campaign is 32.
We are helping bolster and develop an entirely new audience of future credit union members using the medium they prefer to engage with. According to initial research, 75% of consumers who view the Open Your Eyes campaign ads said they would consider a credit union for a future relationship.
The Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign launched a little more than two years ago, growing from one state to 25. We have learned so much and continue to learn every day.
A campaign like this has never been done before so annual consumer research and daily campaign performance data inform the progress towards the campaigns KPIs and consideration goals.
To sum it up, we’ve learned three major themes:
1. Consideration for the credit union brand is increasing in states and regions where the campaign has been underway the longest. For example, we have seen a 5% increase in consumer consideration in Minnesota and the Carolinas, as well as a 5% increase in credit union ad recall between 2019 and 2020.
2. Consideration doesn't happen overnight, it’s a long-term strategy. The campaign will take multiple years of steady, targeted reach to begin to influence and increase top of mind consideration.
3. The campaign’s effectiveness is dependent on both the paid digital marketing and the physical use of customized campaign marketing by credit union contributors’ in their own markets. Digital advertising captures and informs consumers about credit unions, but it’s the credit unions that bring the brand to actualization in their local markets.
NEXT: How the pandemic affected the campaign