For credit unions big and small, it doesn’t seem to matter how many new members were brought in, how many points the loan-to-share ratio increased or even the number of new products that are in the pipeline – they continue to ask the same question: “With an aging membership, how do we get younger?”
Chances are good your credit union has launched (or is considered launching) a strategy to jumpstart that process. Having grown up in the Digital Age, Gen X and Gen Y are a different type of member. They have information available immediately at their fingertips that almost certainly involves some sort of social media platform. The bottom line is, they are engaging and interacting with companies of their choosing almost daily. What this new generation needs are the tools and support to succeed in this new economy – preferably from credit unions.
It is important for credit unions to take advantage of the technological trends available today or they risk falling behind and missing a golden opportunity to be the long-term financial partners for this next generation of members. One such trend is: Gamification. Gamification is the use of games in a non-game context to boost user engagement, ROI, education and more.
According to eWallStreeter.com, gamification is expected to be used by 70 percent of the world’s largest companies in some form in 2014 and is projected to generate $2.8 billion in consumer spending by 2016.
- Credit unions can utilize gamification as a fun tool to:
- Create more frequent member engagement
- Inform and cross-sell more products
- Build positive brand awareness and loyalty
- Increase members’ financial awareness
- Create the desire to improve one’s financial health
- Motivate staff members
And in this online world of gaming and mobile, the gamification of personal finance seems like a natural progression. That being said, the marriage of personal finance and gamification needs to be a somewhat cautious one. Like in everything credit unions do, their members’ needs should be put first – not the credit union’s need to market its products and services.
Integrating game mechanics into your credit union’s products and programs is not has hard as you may think. You can create a simple friend and family referral program and set up leaderboards, identify your strongest advocates and then reward members in different ways. You can also create internal competitions and reward the employee who generates the most leads for a certain product you’re marketing.
Financial products utilizing gamification are also steadily increasing. The Save to Win program is a great example of a financial product that uses the motivation of winning prizes to get members to save more. As of October, 62 credit unions across Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington have offered the program to the tune of 16,654 accounts and more than $36 million in savings. Another solid example is SaveUp.
SaveUp is an online program that uses game mechanics and real prizes to not only motivate credit union members to save money and pay down debt, but also to provide credit unions with a marketing tool to deepen their share of wallet and increase member engagement. Since late 2012, 40 Michigan credit unions have implemented SaveUp to engage their younger membership and market their financial products and services.
The use of gamification can help credit unions engage members, build stronger relationships and, of course, bring in a new generation of tech-savvy members who are looking for the latest and greatest ways to look at their finances. However, be careful that whatever program you implement does not come off as gimmicky or too promotional. Make it purposeful and authentic – but, of course, keep it fun!
Whatever program your credit union decides to start with, we promise that your members will thank you for bringing a little gamification fun into their lives. And who knows? Your credit union could end up reaping the benefits. This path can help credit unions reach an entirely new audience and develop a stronger relationship with these new members.