A little over a year ago, TBA Marketing, a credit union-only marketing firm based in Dallas, created a young adult marketing program just for credit unions. The program called On Your Way uses a co-branded Web site and customized marketing materials to attract young members to the credit union. The site partners financial education with incentives to encourage young members to continue to visit the site on a regular basis, refer other young members to the On Your Way program and to use services that the credit union provides.
The incentives are based on a point system where members earn points for visiting the On Your Way site, referring a friend to the program, submitting articles and videos on Gen Y topics to be published on the site and by using credit union products. Each month a top point earner is selected to win a prize such as a video camera, iPod touch, TiVo and a Wii.
"We position the program as a complete marketing system and we created something that most credit unions couldn't afford to do on their own," said Ron Crowder, managing partner at TBA.
Cinfed Credit Union in Cincinnati launched its On Your Way site, cinfed.onyourway.com, in February. So far the credit union has 90 members signed up.
"The program is doing very well. We're very pleased with the site. The implementation has been very easy. The program is so flexible, and it's a great way to reach Gen Y," said Elizabeth Dodd, Cinfed's senior vice president of marketing.
One of Cinfed's members was a first-prize winners and Dodd said they were very excited.
The On Your Way staff has five employees who have worked in the credit union industry in the past and has several writers and videographers who are in the Gen Y age group.
The writers and videographers contribute articles and videos to post on each credit union's On Your Way site on financial education topics like how to get a first car loan, the difference between credit unions and banks and how to manage credit. Members can also submit material they create on their own topics and On Your Way awards them points and pays $75 per article published and $150 per published video.
"We're trying to build a lifelong relationship between the member and the credit union. We're not trying to build up hype. We want to be a consistent and ongoing solution," Crowder said about the goal behind creating the program.
Cinfed asked some of its Gen Y employees to provide feedback on On Your Way, which Dodd said was very positive. They liked the clean look of the site, that it was easy to read and the opportunity to win something.
What Dodd said she likes about it is that she doesn't have to worry about keeping it current and update-all of that is taken care of for her.
When an On Your Way site is created the credit union can match the colors used on the site to its brand and use the credit union logo so the site appears to be just an extension of the credit unions home Web site.
Direct mailing and marketing materials are also designed to be fitted with the credit unions brand. When a member signs up for the On Your Way program, they choose a user name and submit an e-mail address. The credit union also gets access to those e-mail addresses to send out e-marketing materials.
On the back-end, the site is created in a blog style so credit union employees don't have to be fully knowledgeable in html to use the site. One employee has full administration use of the back-end of the site and other employees can be added to have access to go in and add materials to the site.
The back-end of the site also has a news section, which is a blog for On Your Way clients. Credit unions can use the forum to ask questions to TBA employees or even ask questions and share experiences with other clients that use the program.
To track the site's performance, a trend and metrics section on the back-end allows credit unions to monitor the site's activity and see how many members they have and how many visits their site is getting.
"On Your Way looks like an extension of a credit union program. We become a hidden extension of the marketing team and for small credit unions we really become the marketing team," Crowder said.
Credit unions sign up for On Your Way on its Web site, info.onyourway.com. The process, according to Crowder, takes approximately three minutes. The credit union's individual site can be designed in 30 minutes after the credit union signs up and is ready to go live. On average though, Crowder said clients take about a week to go through the site and tweak it before going live with it.