Market research may not be on the radar of many credit unions across the country. Some may even know only a little about what market research is. Others may be aware but question what the value of research is for their marketing initiatives.
So, is budgeting for research not worth the time and investment? Or is it a best-kept secret for all credit unions?
I could make the argument there is a beneficial market research study for every credit union, no matter the budget. It all depends on the objectives for the business and what would best support current strategies and marketing efforts.
In this post, our bank and credit union research company will provide four examples of valuable uses of research to improve the marketing of your financial institution.
There is no shortage of valuable applications of research for a credit union. When marketing goals are aligned with research, your financial institution is sure to see an improved return on investment.
1. Assess Competition
Competition is fierce among credit unions and banks. Market research can be leveraged to get that leg up on competitors many credit unions so desperately need. This may come in the form of banking products or customer service elements that set you apart from your closest competition.
Questions in the research can get to the root of:
- How your credit union stacks up to other local institutions
- Why customers are choosing competitors over you
- What is would take for customers to switch credit unions
A common take away from the research is how to differentiate from other institutions. What is the top reason a customer would switch to your credit union from a competitor? Use your unique market data to craft marketing messaging or special rates to attract their business.
Assessing the competition can do more than just enhance your credit union marketing campaigns.
Unique to credit unions and banks, market research can also be conducted to track interest rates and fees for any number of products. This provides insight into market averages, market leaders, and unofficial standards. The best way to gather this data is typically through secondary research or mystery shopping.
2. Understand Image and Awareness
If you are a smaller credit union with only a few branches, brand awareness may be a challenge. By utilizing a non-member community survey, you can measure how many community residents are familiar with your brand and their general perceptions.
You may be surprised at the level of awareness among consumers. If it is low, then you know you need to ramp up advertising in the community. If awareness is high, but the community perception is low, then you know you need to focus on featuring more customer testimonials, increasing positive online reviews, etc.
Also, It is also always a good idea to get a pulse of customer preferences for banking needs. The role of technology, in particular, has become a hot topic among the financial industry. A survey will give you the latest information on evolving consumer needs for your target markets and how to advertise these services correctly.
Gauge Member Satisfaction
Your credit union likely has two major audiences in which you create marketing messaging for - your members and non-members.
Similarly, while it is important to receive feedback from community members, it is also key to conduct research with existing members of your credit union. Speaking with members allows you to optimize the customer experience based on their suggestions and preferences.
This can be achieved through a simple member satisfaction survey. This type of credit union market research can assist you in identifying gaps between your current offerings and what members want.
For example, say many of your members are not satisfied with your online banking app. This is an area of concern because it could be a large part of why members are leaving for a competitor.
With this information, you now know you need to conduct user experience research to determine where your mobile app can most improve. Once the changes have been implemented, your credit union marketing should include email and social promotion around your new and improved mobile banking app.
Member satisfaction and loyalty can also be measured to obtain crucial data for tracking over time. You can make changes within the credit union and see how they impact your members by using these metrics.
Check-in with Employees
Another component of any successful credit union is its employees. Market research can come in handy here in the form of employee interviews or surveys to gauge satisfaction, engagement, and culture.
Feedback from all levels of the organization will provide an internal perspective on how to improve the credit union for both its employees, members and all other stakeholders. It also assures your marketing is well aligned with how your employees would describe working for you.
Happy employees=happy members. This starts by conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys.
While all of these research examples for credit unions should be conducted by a third party market research firm, it is most important for employee research to be handed off to an outside research partner. This separation ensures employees are more likely, to be honest, and unbiased when sharing feedback on sensitive topics regarding their employment.
Drive Research is a national credit union market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team has worked with numerous credit unions and banks to conduct all of the research studies described in this post and more.
Interested in learning how our market research services could help your financial institution? Reach out through any of the four ways below.