Loud and Clear: The Marketing Hits of Amplify Credit Union

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11x ROI. 4x increase in revenue. Lead generation up 50%.

Intrigued? You’re not alone.

A room full of eager early risers gathered first thing on Dreamforce Monday to hear how the Trailblazers at Amplify Credit Union innovated their way to these successes (and many more) with help from Salesforce. Lisa Nicholas, Amplify’s SVP & Chief Digital Officer, shared how she and her team achieved such impressive results so quickly — all in just a little over a year.

Amplify Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative with more than 57,000 members and over $800 million in assets.

When Lisa joined Amplify (after a fifteen-year stint as a sled dog trainer — but that’s another story), she noted the frustrations a financial institution faces in the digital age: Amplify’s technology was not communicating across its multiple systems. The exchange and implementation of data was stilted or unwieldy among the marketing, sales, and service teams. With customer and account information stored across 80 systems, wading through each one could be a slog for Amplify marketers trying to produce business-driving content and a satisfying client experience.

Another harsh truth: Consumers who bought a car through a dealer often didn’t realize Amplify was financing their loan — or worse, they didn’t know Amplify was a credit union with a complete offering of financial products. The team needed a way to penetrate the company’s indirect lending portfolio and reach those clients.

So Lisa and her team began a digital transformation — and wound up with a success story for the ages.

Amplify used Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud to launch a five-part consumer journey. The company had mainly communicated with loan customers through direct mail — having little-to-no online exposure. Now it would build a seamless experience for consumers.

It works like this:

  • Following a consumer’s purchase at a car dealership, an Amplify rep calls them to ask how their experience was and gather their email address. The team can then promote awareness to these indirect customers.

  • Now a marketing journey begins: With Journey Builder, Amplify sends a series of emails including onboarding content, ranging from a warm congratulations on their new vehicle to instructions for making online payments — plus recommendations for other Amplify products. Since Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud share data, these emails can be highly personalized. (“Congratulations on your new Dodge Journey!” has a friendlier ring to it than “Enjoy your new vehicle.”)

  • With Salesforce, the team can track each client interaction with these emails and respond in kind. Loan customers who may otherwise have had no familiarity with Amplify will see advertising on social channels like Facebook and Instagram. Depending how they interact with these, a sales rep can reach out to provide offers that will expand the customer’s financial portfolio with Amplify.

Get the data: Read a third-party report produced by Nucleus Research about the impact of Salesforce on Amplify’s ROI.

Lisa says that Amplify, once not so present online, garnered a couple million impressions with the initial journey push. That first-step phone call enabled marketers to collect 70% of those indirect customers’ email addresses. Before trying this bold strategy, the sales team only tracked $30,000 in cross-sales a month. After this, it jumped to a million.

Bolstered by these measurable business results, Lisa and team launched a series of other innovative initiatives. With hard work, gutsy ideas, and constant collaboration, they continue to strike gold.

FY17 AMPLIFY JOURNEYS: Amplify scheduled multiple journeys across the fiscal year to give proper focus to each one. The marketing team wanted to ensure proper cadence and that customer response was accurately measured.

The email addresses provided by indirect consumers allowed Lisa and her marketing crew to acquire new customers with lookalike audiences generated using Ad Studio. Lead-generation forms on Facebook, for example, have given the company something they’d never seen before: genuine leads from social channels.

After that, Lisa and company set their sights on integration, with an emphasis on connected journeys. This pursuit of a truly connected consumer experience — not just across marketing channels but including every interaction with the Amplify brand — helped centralize the credit union’s sales efforts. It also means that Amplify is delivering big on the increased expectations of connected customers (or, in many cases, exceeding them) — a huge feat for any organization but especially a financial institution.

Many credit unions and banks struggle to keep up with the standards set by organizations with less-stringent governance, like retailers and restaurants. The security and compliance offered by Salesforce helps Amplify stay competitive without worrying about breaking trust. “We have Security Shield through Sales Cloud,” Lisa said. “It allows for encryption of data at rest. That’s a major reason we chose to partner with Salesforce.”

For Lisa, it’s all a team effort. Working across departments is “the only way we’ve been able to move forward,” she said. “We have to always be talking and always be collaborating.”

Today, Amplify uses Analytics Cloud and Community Cloud for employees in addition to Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud. The business intelligence of Einstein Analytics helps Amplify understand how it’s performing in every channel.

Take a look at some of the accomplishments Lisa has seen with this setup — in just under a year:

  • The team launched an ongoing real estate and mortgage journey that begins the moment a lead first inquires about a loan. Email content includes videos and resources relevant to the recipient, depending on whether they’re a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, and so on.

  • The credit union simplified its real estate application process to improve the experience. The new applications launched internal queues based on applicants’ different responses. This increased efficiency in getting the application to the right person. In a few months’ time, the new process netted a 65% increase in opportunities.

  • When Amplify opened two new branches, Lisa and her fellow Trailblazers launched an accompanying omni-channel experience. The marketing team used Advertising Studio and the third-party app LiveClicker to help create a “swipe to win” promotion. Ads told consumers how to text a number to play a mobile scratch-off game. Any prizes won could only be claimed in the physical branch, driving foot traffic. By opting in with the kickoff text message, customers began a follow-up email journey managed in Journey Builder. Open rates for those emails hit 56% — and more than 50% of opt-ins were nonmembers.

  • A new debit card program launched. Members with low or no transaction activity are the target of a campaign that earns them $5 for every five debit card transactions. Sales Cloud tracks each member’s progress in the journey, ending after 30 days. These members went from an average of about two transactions per month to almost six per month during the promotion. A month after the promotion, average transactions were still up at about five per month.

  • Productivity has skyrocketed at Amplify thanks to its Trailblazers. With Salesforce-integrated Bizible dashboards, marketing and sales share ad engagement and website activity data. Everyone shares the same complete view of each consumer. This resonates strongly in the marketing department: Without Salesforce, Amplify estimates it would need four additional, full-time employees to do the same amount of work its marketing department does now.

  • Sales teams track leads from both online and from the branch using Einstein Analytics. This means a representative can know where any prospect is in the buying journey at any time and pick up the case without missing a beat. This helps ensure all engagement is pertinent. Einstein artificial intelligence also tracks the time spent on each step — online, with the app, or in person — helping refine the process for a better client experience.

And that doesn’t even cover everything: Lisa and team certainly have a lot of feathers to tuck into their caps. With all this success, Lisa said, she’s learned some key lessons — which she imparted to her Dreamforce audience.

First: “Leverage your Salesforce partners.” Lisa said she and her team leaned heavily on their support system at Salesforce in the beginning of their digital transformation. They have a familiar working relationship now — and have learned a lot from one another.

Second, Lisa instructs aspiring digital revolutionaries to “think big, but start small.” Don’t bite off more than you can chew at first, and you’ll see tangible results faster — proving your efforts to executives. “When you start to see results, you can get more funding. As long as you’re tracking it, you’ll be able to get buy-in.”

What else? “Allow enough time for testing,” Lisa said. “Journeys are complicated. Definitely overestimate the amount of time you’ll need to test.” She added, “Prepare your team to be open-minded and ready for quick adjustments. Sometimes you’ve got to make sudden shifts.”

Lisa plans to lead her team in a continuing digital renaissance at Amplify. As long as they’re focused on the customer, engaging across every channel, and leveraging AI to make smarter marketing, she’s confident the innovations will keep coming.

“In 2018, we’ll be focused on engaging members, empowering employees with new technology, optimizing operations, and really transforming our products and services,” she said. “Salesforce allows us to change our products and services to fit not only what we need, but to respond to what the customer is telling us.”

It looks as though Amplify Credit Union will be cranking it up to “11” for the foreseeable future.

Want to learn more? Check out the complete audio recording of this session.

Dreamforce 2017 had more strategic content and Trailblazer use cases for financial services marketers than ever. Couldn’t make it to the conference? Missed that special breakout session? We’ve got you covered. This blog is the first in a series of financial services session recaps.