industry: Financial Services
Use Case: Customer Marketing

Centra Credit Union Uses Act-On to Engage Members, Driving $10.5 Million in Deposits

Midwestern credit union uses marketing automation to scale their customer marketing efforts and personalize their campaigns.

Company:Centra Credit Union
Customer:
Act-On and Centra Credit Union

Chad Kiser

Digital Marketing Manager

Success by the numbers

35
%
  • Email open rates and less than .01% unsubscribe rates
10

Million in new deposits with 470 new certificates in just 7 weeks with a single automated program.

Realized Business Value

  • Improved data hygiene practices increase understanding of prospect and Member personas, allowing for segmentation and more relevant, targeted campaigns
  • Act-On has enabled autonomy within the marketing department, increasing efficiencies and conserving resources
  • Establishing strict engagement criteria boosts deliverability and increases conversions (Members-to-certificates)

Pain Points

  • Previous use of an ESP prevented Centra from identifying and communicating with target audience segments
  • Disjointed and inconsistent marketing lists made it difficult to develop personas and deliver engaging campaigns
  • Inability to store, share, and promote valuable content assets
About Centra Credit Union

Nearly 80 years ago, Centra Credit Union got its start in Columbus, IN when 8 employees of the Cummins Engine Company founded the Cummins Employees Federal Credit Union. Their goal: to identify a source of low-cost credit and a convenient place to save their hard-earned money. 

Today, when you bank with Centra, you will never be surprised by fees and you will have access to the most competitive rates and pricing in the market. At Centra, you can expect to work with friendly, local team members who truly care about you and your financial wellbeing first and foremost.

Customer Challenge

Centra Credit Union was founded in 1940 in Columbus, Indiana. Today, with over 132,000 members, 25 locations, and more than $1.7 billion in assets, Centra has grown into one of the most prominent and successful credit unions in the Midwest. 

With its tens of thousands of Members and many more digital engagements, Centra had a massive amount of data and potential insights at their disposal. But they were struggling to connect this data from disparate sources and then segment their contact lists for more targeted cross-selling campaigns. Once they started using Act-On, their first order of business was to integrate the platform with their CRM to uncover actionable insights and develop effective campaigns based on their newfound understanding of their existing Members’ demographics and behaviors.

“Act-On has all the tools we need to turn Members into certificate holders. By collecting and analyzing demographic and behavioral data, we better understand our Members and what might help them reach financial success and meet their financial needs. This allows us to segment accordingly and deliver targeted automated programs that are highly effective.”

Chad Kiser, Digital Marketing Manager

Why Centra Chose Act-On

Prior to partnering with Act-On, Centra was using Campaign Monitor to execute their marketing programs. However, they found that platform was limited to basic batch-and-blast drip campaigns, which didn’t provide the level of segmentation and targeting that Centra needed to communicate with their Members effectively.

After vetting numerous email service providers (including Constant Contact and Emma) and marketing automation platforms, Chad Kiser (Digital Marketing Manager) decided  Act-On was the best fit for their needs. “Act-On was the best solution for Centra,” said Chad. “We were impressed with the platform’s ease of use for key features like segmentation, forms, and automation and knew that we would be able to scale easily with Act-On.”

Centra’s Onboarding Experience With Act-On

To be sure they would leverage Act-On’s full functionality, Centra engaged with Act-On partner, Tactical Marketing, to gain a comprehensive understanding of how to set up their marketing to take advantage of everything the platform has to offer. These regular consultations resulted in Chad learning how to track web behaviors and then segment Centra’s programs based on engagement. He also learned more about Act-On’s lead scoring capabilities and used this information to apply complex scoring models that helped him and his team map and understand every phase of the buying journey.

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Centra Gains Confidence in Its Marketing Lists

Following the onboarding process, Centra audited and cleansed their data to create a hygienic master list. In doing so, Centra was able to sunset unengaged contacts and sort the remaining contacts into segments based on digital behaviors and email engagement with Act-On’s list management. Prior to this work, their lists were cobbled together from multiple disparate systems, and the data didn’t add up properly. 

As a result of this work, Centra’s marketing team has a comprehensive understanding of each prospect and Member based on unique identifiers rather than a mere email address. For example, if a Centra Member is using free checking, the team has a full profile on this Member and can leverage automated programs to recommend and promote related products and services.

Said Chad, “Before we consolidated and connected our data, we weren’t able to quantify our performance, so we thought of email strictly as a communication tool rather than a tool to expand Member relationships. And now that we’re running smoothly and seeing results, it’s really eye-opening how easy it is to put everything together in Act-On.”

How Centra Uses Act-On to Drive More Certificates

After successfully consolidating and syncing their data, Centra could analyze this information to gain more granular insights about the different types of business (share of wallet) their Members had with their credit union. The goal was to determine the best possible target areas for new growth and then capitalize on those opportunities using Act-On as the catalyst for their digital marketing and engagement efforts. 

Act-On and Centra Credit Union

They found that over half of their Members (over 70,000) did not have a certificate with Centra and decided to capitalize on this opportunity by leveraging the actionable demographic and behavioral data for this set of contacts. Rather than focusing on the hard-sell, Chad and the Centra team wanted to truly nurture their audience and gently educate them on the benefits of opening a certificate. And since Centra works diligently year-round to drive more certificates, they already had plenty of great content that they could leverage in tandem with their automated campaigns. Using their optimized content and segmented data, they created an educational automated email campaign to inform and engage these specific individuals and drive more certificates. 

They segmented their program recipients by the following attributes:

  • 18 years and older
  • Non-certificate Members
  • Must have interacted with an email within the last 60 days

These criteria paired the segment down to these targeted Members and vastly increased Centra’s confidence in the potential for engagement.

The automated program was structured as an educational email sequence of three messages. Each email gently encouraged the recipient to open a certificate and included informative content assets detailing the benefits of doing so. 

  • Email 1: Animated video outlining  different types of certificates with different deposit ranges
  • Email 2: A primary CTA linking to Centra’s deposit rate page on their website
  • Email 3: A more prominent CTA to create a certificate of deposit with solid, low-risk savings and a broad range of products

The footer of each email included secondary CTAs highlighting additional certificate products. In addition, each message was duplicated with multiple subject lines for recipients who didn’t open the first version. So, if a user received the first email but didn’t engage, they were sent the same email again but with a different subject line. Everything was executed using existing assets and data, but Act-On’s segmentation created more targeted opportunities that better resonated with the recipients — and our platform’s automated email programs allowed Centra to deliver a highly personalized campaign with fantastic results.

Targeted Segmentation Leads to Improved Engagement and Increased Deposits

The Member-to-certificate program paid major dividends for Centra. Since they were using advanced segmentation to target specific Member sets, they were able to deliver more relevant information with more relatable messaging, which naturally resulted in great success metrics.

  • 35% email open rates
  • 5% click-through-to-open rates
  • .01% unsubscribe rates

And as you’d expect, these metrics yielded a phenomenal return on investment — exceeding their original goals.

  • 470 new certificates
  • 290 new certificate holders
  • $10.5 million in new deposits
  • $22,340 average certificate/new certificate holder

Centra achieved these numbers within a single 7-week campaign, which is remarkable in the financial services industry. Better yet, the program is completely repeatable, so the next time Centra wants to focus on driving certificates and deposits (usually 2-3 times per year), they can simply tweak the messaging, flip the switch, and deliver the same campaign to a new list of Members. Everything is built; Centra knows how it works; and now they’re able to scale according to their goals and the opportunities they identify. And that’s the true beauty of Act-On: segment, create, execute, track, measure — and then repeat with very little duplicative work.

“It felt pretty good to share with senior management that we generated $10.5 million in new deposits using Act-On,” said Chad. “So now that we have full confidence in the platform across all levels of leadership, we’re hoping to take things a step further with some exciting lead generation strategies and dig deeper into Act-On’s reporting features.

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