Located in the progressive college town of Ithaca, New York, Alternatives Federal Credit Union is leading a movement to create thriving, empowered communities with financial freedom and economic justice for all. As the credit union approached its 40th birthday, it faced a mid-life crisis of sorts. The credit union had a clearly defined vision, but consumer awareness and understanding of that vision were low. Couple that with ambitious membership and deposit goals, and a limited marketing budget, and the situation called for a smart, targeted digital marketing campaign to get them back on the radar.
Mower’s brand study revealed that Alternatives’ mission had significant appeal among non-members of all income levels. While prior marketing had focused narrowly on under-served populations central to the credit union’s mission, Alternatives really needed to connect with the rest of the market to achieve its financial goals and fulfill its larger mission. Our research revealed that “shopping local” resonated with the broader market, but many hadn’t considered voting with their wallets when it came to banking.
Our campaign theme, “Make a Statement,” urged potential members concerned about economic inequality to take action and make a difference—become a member, open a share certificate or take out a loan—at Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Highly targeted programmatic, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google search ads featured actual Alternatives members and well-known Ithaca locations—not the usual stock imagery sameness typical of most bank advertising. Campaign landing pages featured video and other content that told the Alternatives brand story, while highlighting competitive rates and terms.
Over the life of the year-long program, the digital marketing drove double-digit increases in new users on Alternatives’ website, and nearly 11,000 visits to the marketing landing page. Within the first 10 weeks, the credit union had experienced its best month for new memberships in a decade.
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