The Best Marketing of All: Let Your Members Do the Talking

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You know how much your credit union has to offer: great rates; caring, personalized service; low fees; and all the products your members need to make you their primary financial services provider. The challenge is how to educate your members and prospective members that a credit union is much more than a place to keep a savings account and get an auto loan.

Sometimes the best way to be heard is to let your members do the talking. Testimonials from members often make the most compelling case for your products and services. Let your members tell how you saved them money, helped them improve their credit score and much more. If you offer shared branching, let members talk about how they can bank where they live, work and travel nationwide thanks to online banking, shared branching and fee free ATM networks.

Customer testimonials are gaining in both importance and credibility thanks to the Internet. Online shoppers regularly use customer feedback and reviews on websites and in blogs to help make buying decisions. The collapse of the mortgage market left consumers skeptical about the credibility of financial services providers. That makes shoppers even more interested in getting information from each other.

Pyramid Credit Union in Tucson, Arizona recently started adding brief testimonial statements to each main newsletter article, punctuating the stories with ways they saved a member money or otherwise made a positive difference. It's compelling.

Testimonials must focus on products and services widely available from the credit union, you cannot use stories of extraordinary events that you would not repeat. And that's fine because your testimonials should be used to let members know what you have to offer. As with any effective marketing message, testimonials need to tell members what's in it for them. If you saved John Jones $234 in monthly payments by consolidating debt, you want to make other members curious enough about what they can save to call or come into the branch.

Getting impactful testimonials should be a daily job for member services personnel and loan officers. When a member expresses thanks for a job well done there should be an immediate response asking if the story can be used as a testimonial. Information should be summarized on a simple data sheet and signed by the member. Letting your members tell the story of all your credit union does for them can help you get attention in a loud and cluttered marketplace.

Paul J. Lucas is a national marketing and branding consultant. For info: or e-mail

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