What is Credit Card Marketing?

Author Erin Petro
Read time 7 minutes read time

In the last three years, credit unions have taken a bigger piece of the pie in the competitive consumer credit card space. From 2020 to 2023, Credit unions increased their primary credit card share from 6% to 8.3%.

But with national banks taking the most significant share with 68%, credit unions need strong credit card marketing strategies to continue growing. Knowing how to sell credit cards to members is imperative. But what is credit card marketing, and what are the processes to make it work?

Credit Card Marketing

Targeting specific demographics on the right channel with relevant content is essential when marketing credit cards. Identifying the appropriate platforms and developing content that resonates with the target member is essential. Timing is also crucial.

Remember to incorporate flexibility in your credit card marketing strategies. Changing members’ motivations, behaviors, and expectations can make a static credit card campaign ineffective. 

When developing credit card promotions, differentiate members by generation, income level and more. There are several steps to take that will lead to a credit card marketing campaign. They include:

  • identifying target demographics
  • using demographics to identify needs
  • leveraging and segmenting members’ data

Personalizing a credit union’s approach will create compelling campaigns. It’s also an opportunity to connect with members.

Identifying Target Demographics

Each generation has a different philosophy and needs. Generation Z is digitally native and socially conscious. The average Gen Z is carrying around $2,283 in credit card debt. The national average is $6,365. 

Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z believe establishing a credit history is important to avoid financial dependence on parents. They tend to use credit cards responsibly. Communicating with them about the opportunity to establish good credit is the avenue to convincing them to apply for a credit card.

On the other hand, millennials have the fastest-growing debt load. They started acquiring credit card debt at age 24, and only 13% are revolving debt-free. 

Their credit card balance averages $4,651. But their payment plans are under control, and only 2.7% have fallen behind 30 to 59 days. Still, nearly two out of three have credit card debt. This is more than double the number who have student loans. 

Because many Generation Xers took on their children’s student loans or are caring for aged parents, only 11% are free of credit card debt. The average Gen X credit card debt is $7,070. Thirty-eight percent of Gen X say they carry a balance month to month. They are strong candidates for rollovers to lower interest rate credit cards. Many have high reward cards, but because they carry balances with high-interest rates, they are losing money. 

And finally, baby boomers are in the best position at 29% without revolving debt. Their average credit card balance is $6,747, with a 3.2% delinquency rate for 90 to 180 days.

Use Demographics to Identify Needs

Millennials, baby boomers and especially Gen X are strong candidates for rollovers to low interest rate credit cards. Educating them on how much money they are losing will guide them to roll over their balance to a low-interest-rate credit union card. Some tools can help in making this conversion. One is the Nickels Card Check tool. Available through Nickels.us, it shows the members how much they owe and can save by rolling their balance to a low-interest credit union card. Credit unions provide this at no charge as a service to their members. It educates while identifying a need and can be an asset in the credit union’s marketing plan.

Leverage and Segment Members Data

A credit union can survey members to identify demographics or those with competitor’s credit cards. This will help in formulating credit card campaigns. But taking advantage of already available information that lives in the core is also essential. For example, there is transactional and member data. 

It is essential to integrate the core and card programs. Analyze spending trends and identify growth opportunities. One way to identify trends and growth is the Nickels checking account analysis. It uses in-house data and segments customers according to their credit card behavior. This information allows the development of a strong marketing plan.

With solid credit card marketing strategies, it’s important to communicate the promotional credit card offers to receptive members. Using the information in the core, along with surveys, is vital.

There are several ways to use the information gathered.

Promote Local Options

Although many people don’t realize it, local credit unions offer solid credit card options. And although with larger companies, the rewards feel great. A credit union should position its credit card for short-term and long-term financial wellness.

Seasonal Credit Card Advertising

Running credit card campaigns during peak spending seasons can impact a credit unions credit card adoption.

Summer vacations, back to school and the holiday season are key times to sell credit cards. But waiting until the season’s peak will not be effective. Instead, credit card campaigns should be implemented before the season begins. 

During these times, educating members to see the big picture is essential. Using a lower-rate card is smarter in the long run and will provide the biggest reward. 

Credit Unions and Digital Marketing

Credit unions rely heavily on a personal approach. This should extend online. Today’s consumers expect to engage digitally. Members want easy-to-use solutions and personalized promotions. Credit card marketing strategies and acquisitions must have a cohesive online experience.

Social media is an excellent tool for outreach. There are 4.6 billion active social media users globally. Social media encourages member engagement. 

There are two ways to use social media. One is organic, which takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a commitment. The other way is paid advertising. This allows specific demographics to be targeted, takes less time to implement, and requires a monetary investment. By engaging with members, education and, ultimately, conversion is more likely.

Credit unions should use multiple communication types. This can mean taking advantage of cross-device communication strategies. The channels used should be diversified. These include live website chat, messaging, text services and social media.

And although it’s essential to advertise on the right channels, the content delivered must resonate with their specific audiences. This can be done by leveraging fresh, comprehensive data sets to achieve a more holistic view of members and other customers.

The point is to touch members as much as possible and not only educate them about interest rates and rewards but also make them aware of credit union card benefits.

Credit Card Marketing Imperative

It’s necessary to stand out in the credit card crowd. A credit union can enhance existing practices and uncover potential opportunities through credit card marketing.

By using digital and seasonal campaigns, members can be targeted when their needs are high. Using existing information can provide the edge needed to reach members. Know members because each generation has different goals and credit needs.Ultimately, the goal is to use today’s technology to educate and convert members and Nickels.us accomplishes that. It takes credit card marketing to the next level. With Nickels Checking Account Analysis and Card Check tool, information is provided about customers that leads to conversions. If you want to take the right step to market credit cards effectively, contact Nickels.us.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.