Montana's Largest Credit Union
Whitefish Credit Union began modestly in 1934, with five railroad employees contributing $5 each. Now, they are Montana’s largest Credit Union, with over $1 billion in assets. In 2011, they turned to Grid for guidance in elevating their marketing to match their level of growth.
The first step was to adjust Whitefish Credit Union’s approach to marketing; to move away from reactionary marketing in favor of advanced planning that would allow us to create campaigns that had more effective messaging and reach. We worked closely with the client to put together a comprehensive, year-long marketing plan that outlined things such as specific business goals, a detailed timeline and platform strategy to meet those goals, and estimated costs for their budgeting purposes. This plan, which evolves annually, helps guide marketing decisions throughout the year and let’s us maximize our client’s budget and return on investment.
From there, we systematically re-approached all areas of marketing - from their television, radio, print and digital ads, to the signage on/in their buildings and their collateral - bringing each area into alignment with the marketing plan. We also brought the production of all advertisements in house, ensuring that all ads were consistent in branding, conveyed a unified message that drove towards a business goal, were of professional quality, were compliant with Federal and State laws, and adhered to the regulations of the National Credit Union Association. One of our most exciting pieces of work that we do each year is a regional Super Bowl ad that highlights one of Whitefish Credit Union’s key marketing campaigns for the year.
We are currently working with Whitefish Credit Union to launch of their new online banking experience, and their new Online Checking Account, which allows members to pay bills, transfer funds, view their account history and more, all online. We worked directly with a major provider of these services to make sure that the user experience on all devices (tablet, smartphone or desktop) was representative of the Whitefish Credit Union brand, that it was easy and intuitive, and that it served the needs of the members. This product, which launched in Spring 2015, has become one of the the Whitefish Credit Union’s major distinguishers from their competition, and the feedback from the members has been overwhelmingly positive.
The next stage of our work includes increasing Whitefish Credit Union’s reach into online advertising, where they can access a younger demographic that will form the basis of their next generation of members. We have very close relationships with both Hulu and Pandora, and are able to negotiate very attractive advertising packages that will bring this next stage of marketing to fruition.
Before working with us, Whitefish Credit Union struggled to understand their target demographics, and how to track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. It was common for their marketing decisions to be based on the thought that “we did it last year, we should do it this year.” Since then, we have helped them define clear segments of their demographics, including how each segment prefers to be communicated to or with, and used this information to build a system by which we can track the effectiveness of each marketing campaign within each segment.
One method has been through on-going focus groups, which we use to gather feedback about on a range of topics, including brand perception and recognition (the “health and wellness”), the memorability of different campaigns or messaging, and the wants or needs of actual or potential members. We are also able to get demographic information direct from each media outlet, which let’s us fine tune our advertising approach for each specific geographic location, and tells us how many people have heard or seen each of our advertisements.
By spending time on each piece of the puzzle - from identifying business goals at a 10,000 foot view, to speaking to actual people who have heard or seen our advertisements - we are able to create and execute marketing campaigns that meet goals, that maximize budgets, and that make sense. We are excited to continue our work with Whitefish Credit Union for years to come.