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Tell Account Holders What You Can Give Them, Not What They Can Give You: An Interview with Cyprus CU


We talked with David Sant, VP of Marketing at Cyprus Credit Union, about how marketing in financial services has shifted from being product-centric to being consumer-centric.

Below is a transcript, edited for length and clarity.

What's changed in the past 10 years when it comes to marketing in financial services?

The biggest change I've seen is a shift from pushing product to pushing content. We're showing our members what we can give them instead of what they can give us. Telling them we've got rates as low as this, or we've got a great deal on that is all about what they can do for us. Instead we're coming to them with tools and resources. We're also finding unique channels to share those on because you can't give a free tool on a billboard. 

Would you call it content marketing?


What's an example from Cyprus CU? 

We're identifying a one-to-one approach where we deliver specific content to a specific member at a specific point in time. The big challenge we have is that consumers don't buy financial services products on a knee-jerk reaction, and they don't buy a house every year. We're finding ways to deliver relevant messages during the lifecycle of the product, so that when it actually comes time in 5 to 10 years we're front of mind for our members. 

You've set up the foundation for content marketing. What do you hope to see as a result? 

I hope to see more of the one-to-one approach. I think traditional media will still play a role for us, but we'll use it to deliver positioning statements. We'll use it to raise awareness for product and services that people might not think credit unions offer, such as mortgages, investment services—things that people don't necessarily think of coming to their credit union for. We'll also use social, email, and mobile. We'll get deeper analytics and information so we can really deliver that one-to-one approach.

Is the one-to-one approach you're talking mainly about personalization? 

Well, personalization sometimes just means putting a name in an email. I'm talking about more than that. I'm talking about using the data and analytics we have to help members know what they need before they know it. I'm talking about nurturing along the process. For example, a year into your car loan we might hit you up with a message that says, "Hey, here are some tips on maintenance. Here are things you can do if you have a warrantee coming up. Here are things you can do to prepare yourself for other things."

I'm talking about things that keep us relevant and top of mind. Maybe we know that a consumer's auto loan is going to expire, and we can get to them beforehand and talk to them about whatever their next plans are. That's why I think this is more of a personalized message than just throwing in a name and showing them that I know how to use a merge field.