Challenge marketing for credit unions part 9: Goals and measurement

Setting participation goals and consistently measuring

The first step when planning for success is to agree on what success means to your team. Will you define success by traffic? By new accounts opened? Net new deposits? New member growth in a defined segment? An increase in brand awareness? Share of wallet? Media attention? Increased revenue? The list goes on. My point is, everybody involved in your challenge marketing program should be in complete agreement on the success measures and be open and honest about making changes along the way if your program is falling short.

You should track as much as possible without the task of tracking becoming too onerous. You should also set realistic goals and monitor and adjust these goals as time goes by. For example, if you are going to measure how many blog comments you expect to get, it will be almost impossible to predict before you launch your program. But, you will have a pretty good idea of how many blog comments are coming in on average. The same will hold true with new account openings.

William Azaroff shared with me what he and his team track for Vancity's Change Everything online community, "When we first launched, we had a huge list of stuff we tracked including unique visitors, Technorati authority, RSS subscribers, total registered users, average time spent on site, total changes, total blog posts and total comments. My new way of thinking is that we will only track what is actionable. We now track unique visitors, registered users and total content added. Plus, we also manually track real-world impact (anecdotes about how Change Everything has had a real-life impact) and the alignment of the site content to our community leadership pillars which are 1) acting on climate change 2) facing poverty and 3) growing the social economy (and by that we mean not-for-profits and social enterprises).

For Member Credit Union's What Are You Saving For?, here's what Matt Davis had to say, "The measurables we pay most attention to are: 1) new WAYSF accounts 2) WAYSF deposits 3) blog posts and comments 4) blog unique visits and 5) earned media. While the belief is that increased activity on the blog and in the press should lead to increases in both accounts and deposits, it is mostly just a predictor of potential savings activity. I do believe, however, that all five of these measurables feed each other. Success in any of these categories inevitably lead to success in the others."

And, finally, to give you an idea of what to we track with the Young & Free Alberta program, here is our master tracking list:

  • Accounts
    • Accounts opened
    • Accounts switched
    • Total accounts
    • Funds on deposit ($)
    • Average per account ($)
    • Total loans held ($)
    • Total investments held ($)
  • Website
    • Traffic
    • Page views
    • Average time on site
    • Y&F Club members
    • Spokesperson applicants
    • Blog comments
    • YouTube video views
  • Online
    • Facebook Advertising
      • Fans
      • Impressions
      • Clicks
      • Click Through Rate
      • Average cost per click
    • Google Adwords
      • Impressions
      • Clicks
      • Click through rate
      • Average cost per click
    • MSN Advertising
      • Impressions
      • Clicks
      • Click through rate
      • Average cost per click
    • Twitter followers
    • GoMobile
      • Impressions
      • Participants
      • Contest entries
  • Direct mail
    • Response rate
      • Current Y&F members
      • 17-25 non-account
      • Turning 17's
  • Public relations
    • Hits
    • Impressions
    • Earned media ($)
  • Demographics
    • Total entities at the credit union
      • People
      • Businesses and organizations
    • Total members aged 17 to 25
      • Not in Young & Free at all
      • Percentage NOT associated to YF
      • Young & Free only
      • Young & Free and other account
      • Percentage associated to YF
      • Percentage of total personal entities
    • Total credit union memberships
      • Held by 17 to 25 year olds
      • Percentage of total memberships
      • Young & Free memberships
      • Percentage of total memberships
    • Average age of persons

This is a very comprehensive list and takes a fair amount of time and energy each month from different people to keep it current. You may decide to track fewer items or track all of these items and more. You may also decide to track weekly, monthly or quarterly.

That's a lot of numbers—now what?

Anybody can track numbers, but what you do with your numbers is most important. What you care most about will depend on your definition of success that everyone agreed on.

Because Young & Free Alberta's first priority is new member acquisition, we concentrate on the correlation between new account openings and web traffic and ongoing interactions on the site. We constantly look at the numbers to see trends. Do we have more account openings during our spokesperson search phase? What happens when there is no supporting media driving traffic and sales? What months perform best? How does this year compare to last year?

Other areas of interest that we pay close attention to for Young & Free Alberta are media hits and also the effectiveness of the media choices made during the search phase. It is important to us to know were each of our spokesperson applicants learned about the opportunity. This information will influence the media choices in subsequent years.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and newness of social media and lose sight of your business objectives. You can have a YouTube video that has been viewed by tens of thousands of people, but what really matters is how those views are translating into new business or other key success factors that you have defined for your challenge marketing program.

It is so important to consistently monitor and analyze your numbers and to share the results with everyone involved. This will help you to collectively refine and improve your program as time goes on.

Next up: allocating appropriate resources and support.

Tim