Limits don’t exist for Kathryn Davis, senior vice president at El Segundo, Calif.-based Xceed Financial Credit Union.
“My parents always told me that I could be and do anything as long as I put my mind to it,” said Davis. “I still believe this today and am a champion of that at my credit union. I actively work with my teams to not only stretch their minds at what they can do at Xceed, but also how they can stretch their minds personally and professionally and just go for it.”
She said marketing has dramatically changed over the years and that good marketers understand the full business of a credit union. They understand the balance sheet, income statement and how to make a meaningful impact based on their contributions as a strategic partner.
“Marketers today have an opportunity to truly help shape the business of credit unions. I also think the change in technology has changed the role of the marketer. Today, it’s no longer about sending direct mail, but creating an integrated experience where the member can act upon offers from start to finish from their phone or tablet,” said Davis. “To me an effective marketer has to be not just visually creative but creative in their thought process viewing the world, your credit union, your members differently than anyone else.”
Constantly challenging herself and others has helped drive innovation by further defining how the $756 million credit union engages its SEGs and members through customized marketing and unique online experiences.
For example, the iXceed Fiscal Fitness Challenge was issued in a bid to provide more value to one major SEG that had over 10,000 employees nationwide.
The program was a competition for SEG employees to improve their overall financial well being by reducing debt and increasing savings. Within the first week of launching the campaign, over 5,000 employees viewed the challenge website and more than 50 employees submitted applications into the challenge. Ultimately four employees competed for the opportunity to win a $10,000 prize. The winner of the competition won by improving her financial well being by 32% in both debt reduction and savings. All contestants had access to an Xceed Money Coach who helped them navigate the competition along the way. In addition, a play-at-home version of the site was created so all employees at the SEG could play along and have access to Xceed Money Coaches. The results of the campaign included a 57% increase in new members, 45% increase in loan accounts, 46% increase in deposit accounts, 19% increase in loan balances and a 54% increase in deposit balances.
“What a fun and meaningful campaign,” said Davis. “I think the campaign was such a success because it addressed a specific need the SEG had. As a result, the SEG was very committed to helping us get the message out in weekly communications, linking the site for this campaign to their intranet, and giving us access to their employees across the country. We also had amazing support from our sales and business development teams, who actively worked each location and worked with the contestants as well.”
Focused on innovation and technology, Davis also led her team to implement 46 SEG portals in 2011, which are customized websites found on Xceed’s SEGs’ intranet. Although the team exceeded the year-end goal of launching 40 new portals, Davis has begun work on enhancing the experience found on each of these sites.
The most successful SEG portal was one created for one of Xceed’s larger SEGs. A year-end campaign offering membership, credit cards, checking and auto loan specials drew over 6,000 employees from the SEG to the portal within the first week. The campaign generated 169 new memberships, $56,000 in share balances and $587,000 in loans.
She also worked with her team to run several successful lending promotions, helping the sales and lending teams have a record year in loans. Specifically, the team ran three successful auto pre-approvals in 2011: the February-March campaign brought in 191 loans for $3.9 million; June-July campaign brought in 118 loans for $1.9 million; and the October-November campaign brought in 84 loans for $1.4 million.
“I think the secret sauce for us has been our approach to consolidate loans, but not necessarily for members looking for a consolidation loan. We pride ourselves on helping members keep more money in their pockets every month. When we run auto loan pre-approvals we always segment the data to do refi offers for those members we know have a loan someplace else,” said Davis. “These offers track much better than our standard offers and generally get between a 3% and 5% response rate, which is amazing for such a small quantity of direct mail. I also think we’ve seen success in our campaigns because they are fully integrated–so a member could receive an offer by mail, email or when interacting with one of our sales associates by phone or in person. We try to make all of our offers as simple as possible. So there isn’t a ton of fine print, our offers are easy and straightforward to understand.”
Passionate about furthering products and services designed specifically for women, Davis and her team have been busy researching and developing a customized service strategy. Nearly 50% of Xceed’s members are female and approximately 75% of Xceed’s SEG contacts are female. Focused on the interests and concerns of busy women, Davis played a key role in introducing LifeWorks, a new seminar series that covers a range of topics–career, self, family and, of course, finances. The seminars garnered much local press in key markets and ran throughout the second half of 2011. In addition, extensive research, including focus groups on female preferences, delivered some surprising results.
“So we ran focus groups and part of it was bundled product options where from checking you could sweep a certain amount into another account like a shoe fund or mad money account and there was a special website very female-centric,” said Davis. “And to a certain degree the women found it offensive and asked, ‘So my husband couldn’t have access but what about my kids?’ And that good dialogue made us realize that what they gravitated toward were offerings we already had on the shelf today, like our personal banker program. They had a great interest in that type of program and wanted it to be more about can we communicate to them more effectively without talking down to them. As they learned more about our dynamic at the credit union, that our senior management is an all female group our chairman is a woman, they then became less guarded about it as they felt it would be more genuine. It’s another example of what good can come from being open and thinking creatively.”