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Credit unions have increasingly faced the challenge of attracting new generations of members. In CUNA’s latest webinar, financial industry experts discussed ways to boost credit unions’ marketing strategies and attract new audiences through influencer partnerships.
Senior Marketing Coordinator
At Fintel Connect, we’ve seen influencer marketing account for 30%-40% of customer acquisition – one of the best ways to reach younger generations. In a webinar hosted by CUNA earlier this year on “How Influencer Marketing Can Win Over the Next Generation of Members”, we heard from industry experts on how credit unions can provide value for Gen Z members and build brand credibility.
Here are the key takeaways from this session to help you boost your marketing strategy while engaging with a new audience.
Building strong relationships is the key to providing value for Gen Z
With so many different options for banking, younger generations often look for financial institutions with the best apps that can deliver instantaneous results. However, Joshua Kopac, VP of Sales at Prodege, pointed out that it’s not always about having a fancy app to provide value for the Gen Z generation. He mentioned that credit unions’ strongest advantage over other digital banks and FIs is their ability to create solid and lasting relationships with their members. Younger members need personalized support and guidance to make the right financial decisions, which many apps can’t provide. In addition to needing help managing their finances, Gen Zs look for brands that positively impact their community.
Becky Giannelli, Director of Integrated Marketing, Digital & Creative at PSECU, highlighted that credit unions are dedicated to the community they are part of and give back in ways that support their members – something important to younger generations.
Influencer partnerships provide an authentic view of your brand
As many marketers know, word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing. In fact, word of mouth is directly responsible for 90% of all purchase decisions. But how do you get people talking about your brand in an authentic way? Enter influencers. Apple Crider, Influencer and Co-founder of Creators Agency, mentioned that in the world of online media, Gen Zers look to influencers, like they would their friends, to recommend products/services. The reason is that younger generations will often trust a third-party review over direct marketing from a brand.
In addition, influencers value their relationships with their audience and will only partner with brands that are the right fit for them; they will give an authentic perspective on a brand they believe in.
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Influencer marketing won’t cannibalize your marketing mix; it’ll leverage it
When discussing how influencer marketing fits into your regular marketing mix, Nicky Senyard, CEO at Fintel Connect, noted that influencers are the cherry on top of your digital marketing mix because they provide valuable content across all channels. They are a powerful addition to your current strategy and will help drive new conversions at crucial touchpoints in the digital space.
Kopac of Prodege, also pointed out that influencers can provide instant data results that will give you complete transparency on how their content is performing, making it easy to understand what is working and what is not.
With this in mind, how do you budget for influencer partnerships? Senyard mentioned that most influencers work on either a flat-fee or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model. She suggests spending 10% of your budget on experimental channels and testing to see what works best. Influencer partnerships require trial and error, so don’t be afraid to test and make changes as you go.
Yes, influencer partnerships can remain compliant
Compliance is always top of mind when experimenting with new marketing channels. The good news is that financial influencers understand compliance and will work with your brand to ensure those standards are met. Here are some tips from our experts on how to avoid issues with compliance when entering a new partnership:
- Agree upon the terms & conditions for the partnership: be transparent with your partners and ensure that both parties agree on the terms and conditions before entering the partnership. Determine what the line of consequence is if those conditions aren’t met.
- Give influencers your brand guidelines: giving influencers the tools they need will help ensure the accuracy of statements and representations of your brand.
- Define a process for content sign-off: work out a process with the influencer for how content gets approved before it goes live. Reviewing content can help catch compliance mistakes before it’s too late.
- Create a do-not-do list rather than a to-do list: it’s better to tell influencers what not to do rather than what to do. They will talk about your brand in their voice, so giving them a list of things to avoid will help them accurately speak about your brand while being authentic.
Do the research, have courage, and take the leap
There is no time like the present. With talks of the big “R” word lurking around the corner of the current economy, Kopac pointed out that there is no better time than now to try influencer marketing. As brands begin to pull back in their marketing spending, now is the time to get ahead by entering a less populated and competitive space.
However, leaping into something new can be daunting. It might not always work out right on the first try– but that’s okay! Building the right partnerships can take time. Senyard suggests that the best thing to do is to have the courage to explore this new channel and to do the research required to find out what will work for your brand.
Here’s how you can start:
- Research whom other financial brands are partnering with
- Ask your staff if they follow any financial influencers/creators
- Talk to your network and ask if and how they have worked with influencers
- Chat with your teams and get buy-in from leadership
If you want to learn more about influencer marketing strategies and how to enhance your bank marketing strategy through partnerships, get in touch with us or follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with the latest in affiliate marketing for financial services.
Last but not least, thanks to CUNA Councils for hosting an insightful conversation with industry experts who shared various perspectives on influencer marketing. If you want to follow some thought leadership accounts check out these experts:
Joshua Kopac – VP, Sales – Prodege
Apple Crider – Influencer/ Co-founder – Creators Agency
Becky Giannelli – Director of Integrated Marketing, Digital & Creative – PSECU
Nicky Senyard – CEO and Founder – Fintel Connect
LaShanta Green (moderator) – Director of Marketing & Community Relations – Dow Chemical Credit Union