Banking On Digital Growth Part 4: Forging Deeper Connections

Digital Marketing

One of the current ‘must read’ books on our shelves here at Metric is Banking on Digital Growth by James Robert Lay. It’s full of insights and ideas on the future of the financial industry and has proven valuable to many of our credit union clients.

Our CEO, John McDonald, has pulled out a few of his favourite insights and we’ll be summarizing them here on our blog - but we hope you’ll read the entire book!

In Part 1 of this series, we explored the ways in which recent trends have transformed operations for FIs and credit unions. In Part 2, we drilled down further to examine why credit unions must evolve their approach for today’s swiftly shifting market, and Part 3 answered the question of how to bridge the gap.

Today’s we’ll examine strategies your credit union can use to build deeper relationships with members and prospects, and leverage those connections to drive digital growth.

In Banking on Digital Growth, James Robert Lay outlines the most powerful actions financial institutions can take to build a strong base of loyal members.


When it comes to finance, today’s consumers carry a heavy cognitive load that includes:

  • Confusion: “I know money is important, but I don't know how to keep it, save it or make more of it.”

  • Frustration: “I feel like I am always behind with my money and there’s nothing I can do to catch up.”

  • Overwhelm: “It seems like the more in-debt I become, the harder it is to get out.”

  • Embarrassed: More than a third of survey respondents say they think they are worse off than their peers, and 20 percent of consumers refuse to talk about money because they are ashamed of their habits.


Instead of pushing products, credit unions should focus on providing services and solutions that reduce these cognitive burdens.



Last time, we touched briefly on the fact that 92% of millennials say they don’t trust financial institutions for guidance. Credit unions can build trust through digital communications with:

  • Clarity: Whenever possible, strive to provide consumers with clarity by simplifying the complex nature of financial services.

  • Content: Provide content that helps consumers first, and sells second.

  • Compassion: Approach all communications with the consumer’s best interest—not that of your institution—at heart.

  • Connection: Consumers connect with people, not institutions. Try to find ways to infuse an authentic human element into your communications; for example, use photographs of real credit union members and staff in your marketing pieces, rather than stock photography.

  • Commitment: Commit to serving your members well by providing digital tools they can trust to guide them toward a bigger, brighter future.


Relationships are built on purpose, not products. Instead of greeting website visitors with sales ads, lead with messages and imagery that clearly communicate your purpose statement and spark an emotional connection.


In our last article, we discussed the importance of identifying the types of people who are most likely to thrive with your institution. Once you’ve defined who these people are, map out the path they take on the journey to becoming a credit union member—the questions they ask, the tools they use, the content they rely on, the triggers that compel them to act. This will provide clarity on your most effective media, content and calls to action.

PRO TIP: In a digital world, it helps to bridge the gap between digital and human interaction.  Try to include some human interaction in your buying journey, whether through a video recording that you can email, or requesting a zoom video chat with the prospect.


Combine your siloed sales and marketing teams into a single “growth team.” Having defined your customer niches and their buying journeys, all members can work from (literally) the same page with laser-focused precision. The result is marketing qualified leads (MQLs), which sales convert into sales qualified leads (SQLs).


While there isn’t one single software platform that’s likely to fulfill all your sales and marketing needs, there are tried and tested technologies designed for credit unions’ needs. At the very least, you will need a sales automation tool that helps your team track prospects on their journey through your website, and email them at key points along the way. Once a prospect becomes a member, a customer relationship management system, or CRM, can help you engage them and stay top-of-mind.

Are you ready to evolve your approach to credit union marketing? We’d love to chat about the trends you’re seeing—and how Metric can help you break ground in new territory. Talk to us today to get started.


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