Promoting eServices to members requires knowing “what to promote, and to whom.”
When fashioning marketing campaigns, credit union marketers regularly ask themselves
how best to get “the right offer, to the right person, at the right time.”
This, in a nutshell, is the “promotional conundrum.” But one should ask: if we confront this challenge at the time of promotion, why don't we take it on at the time we are crafting the service? Why don't we ask ourselves who will use the service as it is configured, and who will use it if we configure it differently, or in multiple ways? Answering these questions will provide both better services, as defined by your members, and provide better promotional opportunities.
The above questions are not only valid ones to ask, but answers are available. Credit unions have started using online surveys to ask members about proposed
services, to learn not only “will they use them,” but also “what benefits are
most important to them?” Asking these questions of members leads to both more
focused services, and more focused promotion of those services.
And, while online survey services may, at first glance, look to only address “online members,” they need not. These credit unions are asking both online and offline members, but using the service to gather the responses (paper replies are entered by staff) and deliver reports of outcomes. Examples of this “ask first” approach include credit unions that have asked members what they want in an eStatement service.
And what did they learn?
Well, for those who surveyed members before launching the service, they learned:
- some members were interested in speed and an absence of paper
- others were interested in the long-term “archival” feature of the service (these credit unions then extended the length of time they would make stored statements available).
- which of their members valued access to check images via their eStatements, and which of these wanted this access to be available here, as well as in the online banking application.
- what percentage of members would never adopt eStatements
- what percentage of members needed to be further educated on the safety of internet-based applications before they would adopt the service and
- one credit union even decided to postpone eStatements when they learned too few members were interested.
For those credit unions who “asked their members” after launching eStatements,
most learned more about why their initial marketing campaigns were, or were
not, effective. They discovered some of the same things their counterparts learned
when surveying in front of launch, but they also learned which features and
benefits needed to be highlighted in future efforts.
What does this mean to credit union managers and marketers looking to launch new services, or to re-focus services, or their promotion?
Developing a Member Focus for eServices Requires “Thinking Like a Member”…
Asking your members their opinions about new or contemplated services should be a key part of any new eService development, but so should the effort to look at and consider the eService from the perspective of your members. How best to do this? Why not do what many successful marketers and managers have done for years - shop your own products, and use your own service channels.
When eServices fail to catch on with more than “early adopters” or “early majority users,” the reason is often tied to usability or access. Too often we don't “sit on the other side of the desk,” in this case sit on our websites, and view our internal efforts through the prism of our members' eyes.
So next time you are looking at launching a new or updated eService, look at it from your members' perspectives, and ask them what they want, need, prefer, and will use.
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