Calif. CU Using Software To Better Target Members With Marketing Messages

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A credit union here is using software that allows it to tailor its advertising to fit the needs of one member at a time.

Michael Harden, chief operating officer of the $765-million, 38,000-member F&A Federal Credit Union here some seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles, said using the Web MRM product is boosting profit.

"We went on Web MRM about the first of April of last year and we've been on it for about 10 months," Harden said. According to estimates at the end of first quarter, the annualized return on the product was 142%, he added.

Web MRM helps a credit union target the advertising most likely to produce results, he said. The ads are directed at members accessing their account online.

"For example if they have checking we won't send them a banner on checking. If they are homeowners we send them banners on home-owner lines of credit," he said.

Getting the system running did require entering all member information into the program. The process is mostly automatic, Harden said.

"It's work that we were already doing anyway," Harden said, explaining that every month the CU prepared data files for its marketing database company. That data, he said, was also provided last year to Mike Ceranski of AaBeck Technology Group Inc., the provider of the Web MRM program (web-based automated marketing system) package.

"They sent us back a list, we made modifications, and they put those back on," said Harden, whose credit union primarily serves members of the L.A. County Fire departments and other county offices. F & A was the first credit union to use the software.

Ceranski, director of AaBeck Technology Group, Inc., said that any CU running a transactional website can use his product. "Most credit unions have that now," he said.

"They will have to run their data through the Web MRM 'targeting module' that looks at data for each and every member. The Master Customer Information File created contains information about each member product mix, demographics and segmentations. The information allows us to target them more effectively," he said.

The software identifies members as soon as they are logged in and starts sending them offers "from their unique offer stack," he said. The banner ads that make up the stack can be weighted for priority purposes, he said.

Pricing of the software varies "from credit union to credit union," Ceranski said. "We base the pricing not on asset size so much as on the online membership," he said.

"We're a little over a year old. Customers have $11 billion in assets under management," he said.

While the value of traditional advertising has in the past been relatively difficult to establish, in the case of online advertising it is easier to determine. Web MRM can "allow a credit union to find out who bought an auto loan after clicking on a banner," Ceranski said.

NASA Federal CU has recently started using the product, he said.

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