This is the second article in a series for Swoboda Members only, offering marketing guidance for credit unions from Swoboda Corporate Member AsOne Digital Business Development, based in Manchester and London.Here is a jargon buster in case any of the terms used are new to you. If you have any feedback on our Unboxed series, please let us know


Marketing campaigns can come from anywhere. A prominent comparison website notices that “meerkat” sounds a bit like “market”; a soft drinks company creates a festive delivery service; a fast food chain produces a spin off of the world’s favourite board game. But what takes an idea in a boardroom to a fully fledged campaign? What leads us to rerun a campaign, or teaches us what to tweak for future iterations of our marketing? In short, data.

Data tells us how an idea might work, where it might work, when it might work, and who it might work on – amongst others. Understanding the data you have is of paramount importance when it comes to making any business decisions, and marketing is no different – and perhaps understanding data is even more important in marketing, where choosing campaigns can be the difference in generating new members, loans or savings.

You can start with top-level loan book data. Credit unions we have worked with have lots of loan data, often including the reason behind the members taking out the loan. By tracking this activity and compiling all the data generated by the application process you can start to paint a picture of trends over the year, such as what loans are popular when. When we talk about website data, all websites should have Google analytics connected if not you are missing out on a lot of free readily available data. You can monitor how users use your site and their behaviour. All social media platforms come with built-in analytics which you can monitor the performance of your activity (more on this in Unboxed #1). Without reporting data you can just be throwing things into the wind with no real idea of their effect.

If the data you have shows cyclical trends, then you can use that information to plan the timing of your campaigns. Can you find the optimum time to launch a Christmas campaign, or centre an idea around a back-to-school promotion? As with any business idea, timing is just as important as content. We’ve seen huge success with Christmas loan campaigns, summer holiday loan campaigns, and most cyclical events in between.

data funnelOne lesson that we have learnt in the last 20 years is that there is no bad data to collect. Anywhere that you can record any impact of a marketing campaign is worthwhile and should all feed back into your evaluation and decision making process. This includes web analytics, social media reach and paid advertising clicks. Remember to include the impact of online, digital campaigns in offline sales too, as this is the fairest way to judge the success of your digital campaigns. Always keep in mind that if a potential member “isn’t sure” of where they heard of you, chances are they saw you on a digital campaign.

To understand this data, don’t just look at sales figures, either. If you can collect qualitative feedback from your members, this is precious. You can establish genuine reactions to your campaign and messaging which will help to form and shape ideas for future promotions. Find out what resonates with your audience and fine-tune it, streamline it and repackage it in your next campaign.

Crucially – and this goes for any area of your business – remember that we often learn our biggest lessons from our biggest failures. If you ran a campaign that underperformed, it’s important not to trace an idea to source and point fingers – remember, everyone agreed to run the campaign! Instead, spend all the time that you would have spent understanding why a campaign went well analysing why something didn’t take off. Was it concept, or was it messaging, or was it another factor which caused the campaign to perform poorly?

Learning from the campaign, whether it was more or less successful than you anticipated, is the most important thing you can do. Data and performance analysis is the only way that your campaigns can carry momentum or effectively change, and identifying KPIs early to measure that success against is critical.

Good luck, and as ever, for bespoke advice from expert marketers, contact Simon at AsOne via or +44 (0)161 368 9100.