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  • Writer's pictureJohn San Filippo

MARKETech: Leveraging Technology in the Modern Credit Union

By John San Filippo

MARKETech is an ongoing article series that explores the technologies credit union marketers are using to engage members and drive growth.

The days of credit union marketing departments occupying their time and resources with newsletters, statements stuffers, and “spray and pray” marketing campaigns are long gone. Marketing departments across the industry are increasingly being called upon to move beyond traditional marketing to take responsibility for all-important member engagement. And success in that endeavor requires the intelligent use of technology.

With this in mind, Finopotamus recently spoke with Brendan Grove, chief technology officer and co-founder of the New York City –based Prizeout. The fintech provides credit unions with the opportunity to present personalized, money-saving offers from national brands via the credit union’s digital banking platform.

Breaking Down Barriers

Grove believes that while most credit unions want to innovate, they’re often held back by resource constraints. “It’s easy to fall into ‘that’s the way it's always been done’ if you don't have the time, the people, the technology, the bandwidth to pull yourself out and say, ‘Hey, we could do this differently,’” he told Finopotamus.

Brendan Grove

According to Grove, while it’s always important to align with the right fintech partners, that doesn’t solve every issue. “It’s really just taking a step back and listing what you want your marketing to be,” he said. “How do we represent who credit unions are? How do we let that shine through in the marketing? From the conversations that I've had, members expect personalization from their credit unions.”

He added that the expectations of credit union members are different from big bank customers. “[Members] expect community,” he added. “They expect more personalization. That's why they work with credit unions. Members like that one-on-one. They like the service. I think some credit unions fear that if you automate too much in marketing, you lose that personal touch. That's one of those pieces that we have to break through as an industry.”

Making Sense of It All

“Today credit union marketing is about member engagement across so many different channels,” explained Grove. “It's your branch engagement. It's your acquisition strategy. It's your touchpoints and digital touch points across socials, across email, across even SMS. In-app notifications are also becoming more prominent.” He added that credit union marketing will continue to evolve, driven mostly by technology.

Given the fact there are so many fintech products that complement, overlap or duplicate each other, Finopotamus then asked Grove, how can credit unions confidently assemble the right marketing tech stack to achieve their stated goals?

“That is one of the trickiest problems that credit unions we’ve spoken with are going through,” he responded. “When technologies are so siloed, how do you get them to work together well? One technology could be really good at in-app notifications, but if that's not connected to your email, users are going to have this disjointed experience where they have different levels of personalization in different channels.”

The solution, according to Grove, is ensuring that a credit union’s technology partners communicate with each other. “We've been lucky in that the credit unions we've partnered with have introduced us to their other tech partners,” he noted. “That way, we can work together to create a 360-degree member experience.” He added that while most credit unions can’t hire 50 staff engineers, having partners that work closely together can bridge that resource gap.

The Prizeout Experience

Next, Finopotamus asked Grove to describe the member experience provided by Prizeout.

“When you log on to your credit union’s online banking app, you'll see a Prizeout tile on your homepage,” he explained. “That tile will show your top offers today and when you click in there, you can explore your top deals. These are always changing. Today you might have 10% off at DoorDash, and tomorrow it might be 15% off at Uber Eats as brands compete for your business.”

He continued, “With just one or two clicks, you're able to use money that you have with your credit union to purchase these digital gift cards. Let's say you want to do a hundred dollars to DoorDash. You'll get $110 gift card within your credit union app. You go to your DoorDash app, input the code, and now you have $110 to spend with DoorDash.” He added that the Prizeout network includes thousands of merchants and that “no two member experiences will be exactly the same” because of the algorithms the system uses to personalize the offers.

Integration Insights

Grove told Finopotamus that the Prizeout system requires integration with both the credit union’s digital banking platform and its core processing platform. “We execute transactions directly against the core,” he said. “For the digital banking provider, we are able to create this experience that's behind the digital banking authentication.” He added that this dual integration allows Prizeout to develop “foundational” products that enhance personalization.

According to Grove, the Prizeout system is currently integrated with Q2 and Lumin Digital on the digital banking side, with several other partnerships in development. The company’s most notable core integration is with Jack Henry’s Symitar platform.

Looking to the Future

“Technology is rapidly evolving as we all know and that's one thing that has been fun. Credit unions really see that right now. They want to innovate and they want to get ahead. In the future, the flows, the experiences, the user journeys, I think will all track and all map across all of my touch points with my credit union. That's how, as a group, we're going to continue to target younger audiences, different audiences, and make sure that they continue to grow,” Grove concluded.


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