Unpacking the Insights from NAFCU Engage 2023: A Recap for Marketing Leaders

Eddie O'Leary author photo
Eddie O'Leary President

As part of our R&D efforts on credit union websites, we recently attended the NAFCU Engage 2023 conference. Our attendance provided us with a wealth of insights and takeaways from both sessions with experts as well as informal conversations with credit union leaders. In this blog post, we aim to share our key learnings with marketing leaders looking to stay at the forefront of the industry.

Why We Attended

Before diving into the details, it is worth understanding why the NAFCU Engage 2023 conference is so useful in understanding concerns of leadership in the credit union space. The conference brings togetther industry leaders, experts, and innovators to discuss the latest trends, strategies, and tools in the industry. It provides an exceptional platform to network and learn from others. Our attendance allowed us to have authentic conversations with leaders in the industry to better understand top concerns and ultimately serve our credit union clients more effectively.

Key Takeaways from the Conference

  • Innovation and Growth: Innovating is a constant challenge for credit unions. Core member populations are aging with younger membership leaving for more technologically forward institutions. Credit union leaders must promote a culture of innovation to ensure member retention and attraction of Gen Z and Millennials. The website is often the first touch point for these new customers and we must ensure that it stands up to standards set by big banks and fintech companies.
  • Understanding Consumer Behavior: Technology influences consumers’s behavior and their process for making financial decisions. Knowing this, credit unions should leverage technology to meet prospects and members where they are and support their financial journey in the way only credit unions can. Fully utilizing member data for personalized web experiences can remind members why they chose a credit union to begin with.
  • Technological Trends: New technology is shaping the credit union experience as more and more credit unions skew towards digital touch points with prospects and members. Emerging tools like AI are critical to understand as they will be transformative to how credit unions operate. Cybersecurity remains top of mind as bad actors continue to cause trouble across industries. Secure digital is a must and with today’s landscape, it often makes sense to offload web to a specialized third-party rather than complicating IT’s life.
  • Regulatory Issues: President Biden’s executive order on Responsible Development of Digital Assets initiated creation of their digital assets framework. While there were few new regulations, there were numerous enforcement actions in the last year resulting in discussions around digital asset risks. The NCUA has been very supportive to credit unions in this area promoting innovation. One of the ongoing discussions is digital currency and the high-risk nature of this asset class.
  • Financial Management & Artificial Intelligence: Lending is evolving significantly, adopting new technologies and methods that go beyond simple credit assessments. AI powered audits, personalized loans, and identity verification services accelerate credit unions ability to convert sales rapidly while minimizing the risk to the organization.
  • Data Strategy: Using data credit unions already have to assist in decision making can identify potential opportunities for revenue. Interpretation errors and faulty data can cause problems if ignored, but these can be mitigated and there is a significant upside. Website analytics can be used to monitor user behavioral trends to make sure needs are fulfilled and transactions are smooth.
  • Culture and Talent Retention: Across all industries retention is a problem. As the workforce evolves credit unions must focus on understanding and adapting to change. There is greater emphasis than ever on maintaining a positive culture and engaging employees to ensure top talent doesn’t depart. A collaboration with marketing and HR can make all the difference in effective recruitment and retention.
  • Member Experience and Engagement: A theme for the last few years, member engagement and member experience continue to be a key focus for most credit unions. We must focus on continuing to provide excellent service and positive experiences digitally to keep up with our larger competitors. Credit unions make champions with “moments of magic” that differentiate them from big banks. Showcasing these stories to nonmembers may be the nudge needed to become a member.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Credit Union Marketing

The NAFCU Engage 2023 conference brought together industry leaders, experts, and innovators to discuss the latest trends, strategies, and tools in marketing. It provided an exceptional platform for marketers to network, learn, and explore new frontiers in their profession. This event was crucial for our team as it allowed us to gain insights into the current state of credit union marketing, while also providing us with a platform to build relationships and partnerships that will help us better serve our clients. It was an invaluable experience and one we look forward to returning for next year.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll delve deeper into a few of these takeaways, providing you with more detailed insights and practical advice.