READER QUESTION #2

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Have any of the providers on your panel done any tracking of the effectiveness of the different types of so-called "new media," such as in-branch video messaging, website banners, e-mail messages or even podcast messages? What works, and just as importantly, what doesn't?

Greg Crandell, Vice President, Digital Mailer, Montvale, N.J.

New research shows that some 75% of credit union members are open to receiving e-mail messages-especially if those alerts are targeted to the member's interests.

So we know the e-mail channel is open and available to credit unions that use it wisely, and respectfully.

Today's technology makes it a fairly easy process to measure the effectiveness of email alerts as a marketing channel.

One of DigitalMailer's clients provides a case in point: The credit union tracked the results of a recent loan promotion, which was conducted using our email alert service.

The credit union sent 1,935 e-mail alerts, of which 1,182 (61 percent) were viewed by members.

The credit union tracks new loan applications as they come in, and the email alerts campaign generated more than $250,000 in new loans-all at a promotional cost of roughly $250!

The credit union takes advantage of "tell me when" fields to ensure that members receive the information they want and need. The credit union says that, among members receiving our e-LERTS services, this is how members' interests break down:

* 90% have requested the direct deposit/withdrawal alert

* 85% have requested the new product and service alert

* 83% have requested the special offer alert

* 75% have requested the newsletter alert

* 63% have requested the free seminar alert

Right now, 67 percent of all U.S. consumers have access to the Internet.

As that number grows, you can bet that consumers' demand for the convenience of receiving product news and account information right at their desktops will grow, too. But to earn effective participation and response credit unions must apply "member-centric" practices to this new media.

Jim Berthelsen, SVP/General Manager, Harland Financial Solutions, Pleasanton, Calif.

Several of our credit union customers have tried a variety of these new media methods and, although results vary from region to region and within SEG groups, the general consensus is as follows.

In-branch videos-this method was not effective in attracting members.

Using both rotating images and animation with video messaging, members had no recollection of the videos or the messaging after branch interactions.

Website banners-this method was well received by members. Member's usage was high utilizing website banners to signup for products and services.

This method provides a self-service to members to learn more details on promotions, product announcements, etc. It also allows members to signup at their leisure using a web form or similar type method.

Email messages-this method was well received by members. The challenge is ensuring email addresses are obtained and maintained on members in addition to providing an 'opt-out' feature.

Those members that are accustomed to email were happy for the additional communication.

Click-through rates for 'opt-in' emails, however, are not very high when promoted via electronic advertisements or web banners.

Podcast messages-this method has not been highly utilized by many credit unions surveyed.

Christopher Barber, Chief Information Officer, Wescorp, San Dimas, Calif.

While I don't have any quantitative numbers on the advertising effectiveness this possesses, we have had great interest with our Webcasts. By the end of 2005 we had nearly 7000 viewers for the 21 webcasts we produced.

Personally I no longer even notice website banners and I delete email messages without opening them.

I do like the idea of podcasting, especially to the younger generation.

I think the new video iPod gives an added opportunity to reach your membership through a new, exciting media.

Have A Technology Question For The CU Journal Panel? E-Mail It To fdiekmann cujournal.com

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