Currency Marketing: Brainchild Of Young & Free

Company name: Currency Marketing
Head office: Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Year founded: 1990
# of employees: 7
Geographic areas served: Canada and USA
% of firm focused on financial: 100%
# of bank clients: 0
# of credit union clients: 10

Website: www.currencymarketing.ca
Alternate website: youngfreehq.com
Blog: www.currencymarketing.ca/blog
Facebook: www.facebook.com/currencymarketing
Twitter: twitter.com/currencyupdates
Main phone: 1-877-230-1516

Key personnel: Tim McAlpine, President & Creative Director; Sandy Pitkethly, Vice President, Marketing; Irene Bennett, Vice President, Operations; Kate Davies, Program Director; Michael Berger, Program Director; Cheryl Wiens, Program Manager; Kevin Castillo, Senior Graphic Designer.

What marketing services do you provide to credit unions?

We specialize in helping credit unions attract and retain new members through a modern mix of integrated social media marketing. Our proven and award-winning marketing programs, including Young & Free and Money Mom, drive product sales and deliver ROI.

Young & Free is an innovative, social media meets product promotion meets user-generated-content campaign that is achieving significant on-going success for credit unions in the US and Canada. A voice in the form of a hired Young & Free Spokesperson. It’s a proven recipe for success: A head start in the form of a market-leading young adult account package. And useful information in the form of daily blog posts, weekly videos and a constantly growing collaborative catalog of rich content delivered on dedicated regional microsites and on the social web.

Money Mom marries a winning combination of integrated marketing and content strategy with a local voice and relevant banking products. Based on our award-winning Young & Free marketing program, Money Mom finds a local mom to be the voice of your credit union. Her job is to connect on- and off-line with the local community to raise awareness and affinity for your credit union.

What is your process? What are the steps or phases?

Our marketing programs are licensed on a first come, first served basis. One exclusive license will be granted in each region. Regions are defined geographically by provincial and state borders. The first qualifying credit union or group of credit unions in each region to sign an agreement will secure regional rights to the program.

Step 1: Program Branding
Once an agreement is reached, we start by developing a unique supporting brand identity system for each program that includes a complimentary color palette and textures. Each program works independently and collectively. Both Young & Free and Money Mom are 100% credit union brands that is built to appeal to specific target audiences and to work with your credit union’s established brand. The combination is both powerful and memorable.

Step 2: Product Development
A key to success for all of our partner credit unions is offering compelling products and services that are better than anything else being offered locally. We help name the product and design a unique and complementary logo. We also work with our partner credit unions to develop a share-of-wallet strategy and product bundling options that work with the credit union’s existing electronic capabilities.

Step 3: Creating an Integrated Web Presence
Each marketing program is showcased on our website platform that has a proven combination of design, messaging, navigation and participatory tools to attract applicants and visitors and to keep them involved. Prior to launch, we write all of the web copy, setup profiles and pages on major social web services and film and produce a launch video starring your CEO. It doesn’t stop there—once the web presence is launched, we are constantly producing content and interacting with a rapidly growing audience.

Step 4: A Full-our Search for a Voice
The goal is to make as big a noise as possible in the local marketplace both on- and off-line. We want as many members of the target group to know about the job search and about your new product offer. To do this, we create and execute a custom integrated media plan. We incorporate your existing media relationships and we support your local public relations professionals. Our integrated marketing approach and reach into the social media world through a proven online media plan works so well that we find that most applicants are non-credit union members anxious to become members.

Step 5: The Search is Just the Beginning
With the momentum rolling and the hired representative in place, it is just the beginning. For the next year, your Young & Free Spokester or Money Mom is in charge of building a community of like-minded people interested in coming to grips with their finances. Social networking, blogging, making videos and attending events all the while promoting your credit union and your products and services.

Young & Free Explained

Start to completion, how long does the typical project take?

From contact signed to public launch is three to four months. Our programs should be run for at least two years to be able to achieve a significant return on investment. In fact, our original Young & Free Alberta program is in its fifth year and continues to perform.

How do you charge for your service(s)? What is the price range?

The total annual budget for our marketing programs run between $100,000 to $300,000. This includes agency fees, all media, representative salary and gear. There is a broad range based on several factors including the extent of the media plan and cost of media in your region, and whether the program is localized or statewide.

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What systems do you use to measure the impact and ROI of your service(s)?

We have a key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard that all clients have access to. KPIs include average credit union member age and the trend, average monthly income per member in target age and average monthly marketing expense per member in target age. We also track basic social media metrics and web analytics.

How would you describe the ideal client?

Your CEO, VP Marketing, executive and board must fully believe that attracting the next generation of members is critical. Our programs are ideal for credit unions with: More than $300 million in assets, more than 50,000 members, and more than five locations.

What mistakes do you see financial institutions commonly make?

1) Spreading themselves too thin by trying to do too many things at one time. 2) Trying to appeal to everyone. 3) Implementing a series of check-mark marketing programs. Meaning, finding a bunch of third-party solutions that try to automate marketing.

What one thing do you wish every financial institution should be doing right now but probably aren’t?

Credit unions should be concentrating on lowering their average age. In Canada, the average age of a member is 54. In the US, it’s 47. While the average age of a citizen in North America is 35. Regardless of whether they implement one of our programs, I wish all credit unions would take this issue seriously and do something about it.

Young & Free 2011 Update


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