Let Data Be Your Compass

woman looking at Analytics on her computer monitor
By Bethany Ramos

4 minutes

Use data to tailor and boost marketing strategies.

When you know where you’re going, it becomes easier to navigate the unknown. Right now, many credit unions are facing challenges that linger from last year. Pressures from inflation, interest rates, and a possible recession are still on the horizon.

In Times of Uncertainty, Can Data be Our Guide?

As a starting point, data analytics can shape marketing messaging to members amid economic change. When the economy contracts, we know the average member is feeling it. Data and testing can be used not just to identify responsive members but to also segment members whose behavior indicates that they’ll be tightening their belts—seeking out more affordable products—during a downturn.

Instead of losing these members, marketing is adjusted to provide this group with lower-cost offers. Going the extra mile to tailor marketing to each subset of members supports retention. We know it costs up to five times more to attract a new member than it does to retain a current one. Even a 5 percent increase in member retention can boost revenue by over 25 percent.

This way, data charts our course, even when the market shifts. Relying on a data team can ensure the success of every marketing campaign. Data scientists who carefully evaluate campaign performance, fine-tune strategy, and drive results turn unpredictability into certainty.

When put into practice, this may involve:

  • Pinpointing responsive member segments. As we’ve learned through extensive testing, it can take about 90 days to bring a direct mail campaign to maturation. To do this, we comb through member files and profiles to separate the consumers most likely to respond. An algorithm is then created based on the data that is collected.
  • Continuously targeting and improving. Since data is constantly changing, data analysis is never done. When an algorithm is applied to a campaign, it segments responsive consumers to flatten risk and reduce uncertainty. Once a campaign is sent to the targeted group, we return to the data model to assess its performance and refine as needed.

Data modeling is especially advantageous because it provides constant, current insights. A well-crafted data model remains adaptive. When consumer behavior changes—particularly when shaped by outside factors, like economic uncertainty—data models can change with it.

Data Is the Secret Weapon for Smarter Marketing

Today, omnichannel marketing has become the preferred strategy because of its effectiveness. Omnichannel integrates digital and direct mail marketing, merging traditional with modern and offering a more cost-effective way to increase impressions than using a single channel.

That is, as long as it’s data-directed. 

Omnichannel marketing has powerful potential when data guides the strategy. Data modeling turns omnichannel marketing into a science and eliminates the guesswork. A scientific strategy like this makes it possible for the right member to receive the right offer at the right time.

To get specific, here are several key ways data can guide an omnichannel strategy:

  • Consumer segmentation: As outlined above, data can detect distinct member segments based on behavior, preferences, demographics, purchase habits, and more.
  • Journey mapping: Data charts consumer interactions across multiple channels, helping to create a seamless and cohesive journey with consistent messaging.
  • Multivariate testing: Data enables multivariate testing—and vice versa—and can be used to test to a high degree of precision that determines the best combination of elements.
  • Omnichannel optimization: Data insights reveal which channels are most effective for different segments so marketing resources and efforts are allocated appropriately.
  • Personalization: According to 62 percent of business leaders, content and offers can be personalized through multiple channels by analyzing data, which has the potential to improve retention.
  • Predictive analytics: Using data to predict future consumer behaviors and trends helps in planning and executing proactive marketing strategies across all channels.
  • ROI measurement: Data tracks the return on investment through multiple channels, helping to better utilize a budget and refine strategy.

Successful data models can go even further, forecasting market trends, anticipating consumer preferences, and identifying opportunities for new product offerings.

A predictive data model might indicate growing demand for retirement planning services as more members near retirement age. A credit union may start offering new retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and host retirement planning seminars. If transaction data shows that many members travel overseas, a credit union can introduce supplemental travel insurance, catering to the needs of frequent flyers.

Seeing just how precisely data can be leveraged to create winning outcomes, a data-driven approach becomes a given for any campaign. Beyond campaigns highly attuned to responsive member segments, data can also chart a credit union’s course, predicting and plotting a plan to address economic pressures. 

Bethany Ramos is the Marketing Copywriter for Franklin Madison, a CUES Supplier member based in Brentwood, Tennessee. Franklin Madison specializes in insurance marketing solutions, partnering with credit unions to provide insurance products to their members. Backed by more than 50 years of industry experience, Franklin Madison has helped to increase member loyalty and revenue for over 3,500 financial institutions.

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