Research: How To Make Effective Use Of Awareness Surveys

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Awareness surveys can be valuable tools in a credit union's marketing toolbox and can be customized for a wide variety of applications. One of the most popular uses is to ascertain non-member awareness of the credit union in conjunction with marketing outreach. These surveys show whether consumers are aware of their eligibility and of the institution's services, which is particularly critical when contemplating a community charter. For example, one institution's awareness survey showed that its marketing messages were not compelling. Potential members were either unaware they could join, or if aware, did not know what the credit union had to offer.

Another application is to test market share among potential members. Where are consumers banking now and what institutions come to mind first when consumers think of financial services?

Zeroing in further on marketing, awareness surveys can be used with both members and non-members to pinpoint an institution's brand identity or to assess effectiveness of current advertising by radio, newspaper, TV, web or billboard. This initiative helps identify the right advertising venues and budget accordingly. Similarly, among current members, awareness surveys can test awareness of new products and services in preparation for effective cross-selling and up-selling.

Survey results are particularly valuable when tracked over time. A credit union located in the Northwest recently used a series of awareness surveys three months apart after changing its name. The results helped steer its radio, TV and billboard campaign in order to get the greatest bang for its marketing buck.

Awareness surveys can serve as a catalyst for drastic change. When a university credit union's survey showed that 97% of employees and students were aware of their eligibility, the institution realized that it had to reinvent itself to appeal to the many potential members who had consciously decided not to join. It was a call to action. The CU took advantage of the opportunity, reinvented itself and is now growing by leaps and bounds.

Mike Anstead is Vice President of Sales and Service for Member Research. He can be reached at 310-643-6753 or e-mail manstead

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