Member Acquisition: A Relevant Strategic Planning Topic
January 9, 2014
Where will your next members come from? This question often comes up during credit union strategic planning sessions and it can spark great strategic discussions. The conversation usually starts with understanding and quantifying where current members come from and how trends have been changing. Common sources for new member acquisition include:
- Indirect source: Auto dealerships, realtors, etc.
- Branch visibility: Branch location prompted member to join
- Internet: Member was looking for a product or service and found the credit union online
- Advertising: Radio, television, billboard, etc.
- Word of mouth: Friends, family, coworkers, etc.
Additionally, understanding where members that the credit union desires come from is a key point. Desired members are typically those who have been identified as contributors or part of the target market. Credit unions that do not understand where desired members come from run the risk of allocating resources to attract members who will not contribute to the cooperative.
In thinking about acquiring future members, consider the following:
- Will the ways in which the credit union acquires new members today look the same 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
- How will changes in trends such as online searching, indirect sources, social media, new technologies and changes in the branching structure affect member acquisition?
- What could be done to leverage changes in trends to acquire more desired members?
- What are the strategic implications of the answers you’ve found? Do they mesh with the credit union’s existing strategy?
- What other questions should be asked?
Answers will be unique for each credit union, but having this type of conversation can spotlight bigger strategic issues, as well as help with resource allocation for marketing, HR and IT expenses.