Kirk Drake’s ‘2.0’ Perspective: Member Engagement and Digital-First Strategy

Keynote speaker Kirk Drake

Keynote speaker Kirk Drake dispensed a relevant perspective on “member stratification,” engagement, and a digital-first strategy with REACH 2018 conference attendees during the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ final general session on Friday in Hollywood, CA.

“After 20 years of working in credit unions, I felt we were under this constant threat of regulations, fintech, mergers, and a new digital world,” said the founder and author of Credit Union 2.0. “We do what’s right, we put members first, and we return value—but credit unions don’t have digital engagement, or do story-telling, or have digital trust, or do analytics.”

Drake shared his experience as a credit union and technology enthusiast who built eight successful businesses—most notably Ongoing Operations LLC, a credit union service organization (CUSO) which supports thousands of credit unions through its disaster recovery, telecom, cybersecurity, and community cloud platform.

He expounded on his “PAINT” principle:

  • Use a “Painted” picture: “You need to move from a culture of random hires to being really intentional with your culture. Our C-suite and board need digital fluency so they can live, breath and be excited about the technological transition happening around us. It starts with: What is your credit union going to look like in 3 – 5 years? And what are we willing to give up to get there? If you set the right tone, your employees will get you there. Try to help your staff achieve their work dreams within your credit union’s goals.”

  • Use “Actional” analytics: “We need to use the right mixture of tools, culture, people and speed. Do you analyze new member data? Do you ever score your new-member data into who will engage more in the future versus not? You can stratify and create the best alignment between an employee at your credit union and your A versus B members. The biggest category of membership, 68 percent, leave a credit union because of the poor attitude or indifference on the part of the service provider.”

  • Use “Innovation” and agility: there is huge value in weaving together different ways of implementation within finance, analytics, member experience, products, marketing, and member facing technology (operational efficiency and effectiveness). Ideas within phases to consider are cost savings and process efficiencies; ideation volume, engagement levels, and functional metrics; customers, technology, and ecosystem; trend-scouting, incubation, co-creating, and scaling up.”

  • Use “Nimble” algorithms: what’s your “special sauce”? This relates to policy, process, communication, and checklists.

  • “Terminate” systems: “How do we stop doing all these other things to have time for other priorities? We need to stop, collaborate and listen. What are things that don’t actually make a difference to your members? Have everyone in your organization write down in 15-minute increments what they do, and score for yourself and them where your time is going what doesn’t make sense for the organization. Also: Fail early, fail fast, and fail forward.”

“This is a defining moment,” Drake said. “We have national publicity telling everyone how great we are, but over the long-term we aren’t making much change in our national financial services market share. It all comes down to repeat and reinforce, excite and educate, and motivation.”

In 2013, Drake teamed up with Paul Fiore (founder of Digital Insight) to create CU Wallet—a mobile wallet venture. He has harnessed the power of inbound marketing, generating blog posts, e-books, lead scoring, and created a digital engagement strategy that has helped credit unions compete in the digital age.

Want a "recap" of REACH 2018? Visit the "REACH Onsite Live" news page! Also check out the REACH Social Wall—a round-up of social media posts. Or see Twitter (@CUatREACH). This year’s REACH 2018 conference—hosted by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues from Nov. 6 – 9—was held at the Loews Hotel near Hollywood & Highland (in Hollywood, CA), a world-class entertainment destination. The annual REACH conference is a premier event drawing 700 – 800 credit union leaders and system partners from across the United States.

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