Scott Stratten

Love the ones you’re with

Never undervalue your loyal members, says CUNA GAC keynote speaker Scott Stratten.

February 14, 2018

Most of what Scott Stratten learned about marketing stems from his days in the music business in Toronto nearly two decades ago.

“I managed a bunch of unknown bands,” he says, “which is why I’m not doing it now.”

Stratten will address the 2018 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 25 to March 1 in Washington, D.C.

But he learned a valuable lesson before the gigs ran out. Lacking a budget to promote his musicians to the masses, Stratten focused his attention on turning the bands’ current fans into fanatics. They became human marketers, their passion drawing additional people into the fold.

The lesson for credit unions? Never undervalue your loyal base, says Stratten, president of the unconventional firm UnMarketing. Fully engage with the people already coming through your doors so they’ll tell your story to their family and friends.

“Sometimes, the best way to get new members or even younger members is to treat the current members as best as possible,” he says.

Strive to turn “static” or unengaged members into “ecstatic” members by excelling during every interaction, whether it occurs in the branch, during a conversation at a community event, or while fielding complaints over social media.

Stratten, who has co-written five books with his wife, Alison—most recently, “UnBranding”—offers several tips on improving your connection with members:

► Recognize the front line’s importance. Let them know they’re your brand, and they make a huge difference to the success of the credit union. Hire people who care. “You can teach process and procedure. You can’t teach giving a damn,” Stratten says. “The best marketing we can do is hire well.”

► Stop bashing millennials. When marketers say “millennials,” they really mean “the generation younger than us that we don’t like,” he says. End this negative bias and realize that young adults are more giving of their time and money to causes than most generations, which fits with cooperative philosophy. “The credit union industry was built for millennials because you are built for community,” he says.

► Empower members to effect change. “Ask your members, what could we stop doing, what should we start doing, and what can we continue doing to ensure we are your credit union for the rest of your life?” Stratten advises.

► Provide consistent service. Give members the same mind-blowing experience regardless of the location or delivery channel they prefer.