Kassandra Martin

Marketing ‘Rising Star’ leads with data and design

Kassandra Martin prioritizes automation and user experience in her marketing efforts.

July 15, 2020

When Kassandra Martin joined $783 million asset Direct Federal Credit Union in Needham, Mass., she brought a strong background in graphic design that eventually saved the credit union more than $200,000 by eliminating the need for outside design work.

Martin didn’t stop there. As brand and digital marketing manager, Martin has implemented digital marketing tools that provide more focused insights to guide the credit union’s website design and advertising efforts.

During the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council's virtual Diamond Awards week in June, Martin received the 2020 Rising Star Award for her innovations in digital marketing.

Martin’s colleagues describe her as an “innovator and digital champion, setting the bar high for fellow marketers in the credit union industry.”

Credit Union Magazine: How did you become part of the credit union movement?

Kassandra Martin: As I started doing research for my initial interview with Direct Federal, I was drawn to the fact that credit unions are not for profit. After interviewing with the current assistant vice president and chief marketing officer and seeing their passion for the business and the credit union industry, I felt it was a perfect fit.

Q: How has your graphic design background informed your approach to marketing?

A: As a designer, I strongly believe less is more. That also powers my marketing decisions. From a user experience perspective, people shouldn't have to work to find what they need.

Design really impacts the vendors I use, as well. I prioritize clean design and the ability to have brand customization. I look for providers that let me have design freedom and flexibility.

Q: What skills are important to be successful in digital marketing?

A: You must crave knowledge because the digital landscape changes quickly. Be proactive and open to new technologies.

What works today may not work tomorrow—and what works for one credit union may not work for another. Dig into what works for your credit union and your workflows.

You also need great analytical abilities. If you're not using data for measurements, you could be wasting your budget on campaigns and keywords that aren't converting into sales.

Flexibility is important. If a campaign is not working, you need to be able to adapt. It’s not enough to be a problem solver. You must be a problem finder.

Q: How do you use automation to advance your marketing efforts?

A: I created a custom dashboard that pulls in our analytics. It connects our ad spend, applications, and digital campaigns. It's a great overview of what's working or not working, and it’s helped with historical data. I can't stress enough how important clean data is.

I use automation for reporting and tracking for lead generation. I've connected different applications to communicate with each other.

When we get a lead from our website, the appropriate contact is notified to act. We’re currently going through a core conversion, so the possibilities will be endless. I'm excited about new automation we'll be able to do with that.

Q: What advice do you have for other marketers who want to gain data and analytics skills?

A: Take free courses through Google. In addition, find what's out there, because not everything fits.

Comb through message boards and forums and look for alternative ways to find the information you need. It looks overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier.

CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council

Q: What trends are shaping credit union marketing?

A: People will expect more digital services, like online account opening, digital documents, and signatures. Easy access is important. Don't scare people away by forcing them to call to get more information. Let them send a message or schedule a call at their convenience.

With that said, we still need to be personable. It’s highly effective to communicate with potential members when they are given control. Conversations go especially well when you put the contact method in their hands and on their time.

Q: Which project or campaign are you most proud of?

A: We made appointment scheduling a big initiative for lead generation. On each product page, you can easily schedule an appointment to speak with a team member. And if you don't want to speak to them on the phone, you can easily send a message.

When COVID-19 happened, we had that foundation for appointment scheduling. We converted to appointment-based branch appointments within a few days.

We want to respect social distancing and reduce branch traffic, so it was great to educate members about what we can handle virtually or over the phone.

Q: What do you value most about the credit union movement?

A: We're people helping people, and that fuels my passion. Marketers are more effective when they believe in the products they're selling, so I'm grateful and proud to have landed here.

It’s also amazing how those in the movement support one another. It's so unique for us to be able to say that. It makes us stronger as an industry.

Q: What does this award mean to you?

A: It made me feel great about being in this industry. I see myself here long-term. This award cemented that.