We are very excited about the recent decision by the National Federation of Realtors to build and manage the website for REALTORS® Federal Credit Union. This will be the first totally virtual credit union without any physical branches to serve their more than one million members nationwide. It will offer the entire range of credit union services online.

In today’s market environment it makes a lot of sense to focus on the web as the preferred channel of delivery of services for credit unions instead of committing scarce resources to the maintenance and expansion of physical branches. Especially for credit unions with a wide geographical reach due to the nature of their membership, such as REALTORS® this is the best solution.

The web today has evolved to a point where it can serve not only as a substitute for the delivery of financial services but as the most customer focused, easy to use and secure channel available everywhere 24/7.

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is the sub-heading of this article on Online Banking User Demographics reported in eMarketer and it confirms a revealing statistic about online behavior unlike in any other category, where the older demographic are usually under represented. This presents a great business opportunity for credit unions, one that requires an innovative approach to their overall web presence that leverages the online banking transaction by offering a compelling total experience reflecting all aspects of the member relationship.

OK, here’s a straight copy-paste post, but this is so spot on I think it’s fine and Seth agrees. The one’s emphasized in bold are my favorites:

by Seth Godin

Three years ago, I published this list, which was very much a riff, not a carefully planned manifesto. It has held up pretty well. Feel free to reprint or otherwise use, as long as you include a credit line. I’ve added a few at the bottom…

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

* Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.
* Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.
* Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.
* Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.
* Marketing begins before the product is created.
* Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.
* Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.
* Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.
* Products that are remarkable get talked about.
* Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
* You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
* If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.
* People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
* You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.
* What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.
* Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.
* Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.
* People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.
* Good marketers tell a story.
* People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
* Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.
* Effective stories match the worldview of the people you are telling the story to.
* Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.
* A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.
* Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in an conversation-rich world.
* Marketers are responsible for the side effects their products cause.
* Reminding the consumer of a story they know and trust is a powerful shortcut.
* Good marketers measure.
* Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.
* One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.

* In the googleworld, the best in the world wins more often, and wins more.
* Most marketers create good enough and then quit. Greatest beats good enough every time.
* There are more rich people than ever before, and they demand to be treated differently.
* Organizations that manage to deal directly with their end users have an asset for the future.
* You can game the social media in the short run, but not for long.
* You market when you hire and when you fire. You market when you call tech support and you market every time you send a memo.
* Blogging makes you a better marketer because it teaches you humility in your writing.

Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.

I have only one thing to add: Follow this!
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I doubt it, after analyzing the results of the study Consumers Use Social Media to Vent about Customer Service reported in MarketingVOX. Key comment:

“These most savvy and sought-after consumers will not support companies with poor customer care reputations, and they will talk about all of this openly with others via multiple online vehicles. This research should serve as a wake-up call to companies: listen, respond, and improve.”

What’s also important is the following:

Search engines are the most valuable online tools for this research. Those rated of no value include micro-blogging sites like Twitter or Pownce (39%), YouTube (27%) and social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace (22%).

Reputations are made at any customer touch-point with your brand but are amplified exponentially online with the tools available to consumers today and the behavior they clearly exhibit. Ignore them at your own peril!
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is the question asked in this eMarketer article, which also says that UGC is no longer a fad, with 77 million creators in 2007 growing to 108 million in 2012 and the consumers of this content from 94.1 million to 130.1 million. Beyond the advertising revenue question, what these numbers represent is a huge audience of consumers of products and services across all industries engaged in a conversation about these products and services. It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand the power and influence over purchasing decisions this will have. It also shows how challenging it will be for marketers to work successfully in this type of marketplace.

is the prediction mentioned in this Online Banking Is Old News. Hello Mobile! article on eMarketer. Even if today most users indicate that balance checking is the most used activity on their phone when it comes to online banking, this might well change rapidly in the coming years as the smart devices like the iPhone or Blackberry who are responsible for most of the mobile web use become more widely used. Improved security is another factor that will impact growth. What is clear, is that as mobile use grows the financial services industry will also have to provide an overall top quality online experience across all touch points, be it mobile or via personal computers from home or office.

could be the subject line for this study quoted in Micro Persuasion stating that One Billion Dollars in Internet Advertising is Wasted by display ads visible to about 70% of web users but only seen by about 25% because the ads are displayed “below the fold” requiring people to scroll down a web page.
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This doesn’t surprise me as these ads, like the original banners, are no different from interruption advertising in print or on TV without the relevancy of search ads. This tired approach is no longer effective in any media. We live in an age of permission based marketing and if the web is used as an interruption tool advertisers can’t really expect better results.

It’s one more indicator that web based marketing has become more complex and to be effective needs to consider the effect of social media and networking on the buying behavior of today’s audience. As this chart here shows, the growth in online advertising over the next five years will be considerable but to be effective it has to take advantage of what the web has to offer to increase effectiveness.

Just to slap more ads including rich media ads won’t bring the necessary ROI unless they are relevant to the content and compelling.

This is a key message traditional marketers need to understand as they shift more of their marketing budgets to the web.