Rebecca Lauryssens believes in making personal connections with members. The marketing specialist has plenty of opportunities to do so as one of 10 employees at $54 million asset Madison (Wis.) Credit Union. She shares her thoughts about marketing trends, member-first service, challenges facing small credit unions, technological advancements, and more.
Credit Union Magazine: What’s your main focus?
Rebecca Lauryssens: Our first focus is on our members, offering the best service and products possible. Because we’re small, we can make a more personal connection with members. Members feel that, and they become our chief brand ambassadors.
Another major focus is offering more online services. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s the importance and opportunity for digital communication, from account opening to loan processing and funding. I’m working to improve our online user experience and services.
Q: What do you like best about the credit union movement?
A: The sense of community. We want everyone to succeed: members, communities, and other credit unions. We share ideas and collaborate with each other to improve our members’ financial future.
Increased collaboration allows marketers to be more involved with members, learning what they need and want in a financial institution. As a marketer, you can get lost in analytics and numbers and lose focus on what reaches members and draws them to your credit union.
Q: How has marketing changed since your career started?
A: My marketing career started in 2004, so quite a lot. Apps, social media, and web chatting didn’t really exist. Those are new ways to connect with members. Today’s credit union marketer must be proficient in print and digital media campaigns, and savvy on social media. We must understand the user experience and get out in the community for grassroots campaigning.
Q: What are the hurdles of working at a smaller credit union?
A: One of the biggest hurdles is the budget. A smaller credit union doesn’t have the budget to have billboards all over town or advertise on the radio and in every paper. We have to get creative. Fortunately, I like a challenge.
I know we can’t compete with some of the larger credit unions, but we don’t need to. We’re different. We offer more personalized service.
Q: What marketing trends interest you most?
A: The first is using social media to educate. Yes, we want to make more loans and increase our membership, but so many people lack financial education. We want to help. By doing that, we hope our current and potential members trust us and choose us for their financial needs.
Second, incorporating more videos into our digital ads. People are busy. They’re bombarded by information, and they don’t always take the time to read. I’m trying to build more videos for our ad campaigns and financial education.
Lastly, improving our digital services to make sure we’re accessible to members however they want to reach us.
Q: What advice do you have for someone getting started in marketing?
A: Know your members. Create a member profile, and understand your credit union’s brand and niche.
Also, come with energy to learn. Money is a topic people don’t always like talking about, yet it’s vital to society. Use your skills and creativity to reach members. Talk to your member service team and lenders to understand common questions and problems your members have.
Finally, talk to similar credit unions. Credit union people are always willing to share what they’ve learned.