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Credit Unions Explore Trends and Tactics at Annual Marketing & Business Development Conference

By April 8, 20244 min read

Credit union leaders and marketing professionals from across the U.S. gathered last month in Las Vegas for the annual Marketing and Business Development Council Conference. The three-day event was hosted by America’s Credit Unions (formerly known as CUNA) and featured insightful discussion around key topics like AI, digital transformation, and reaching Gen Z. The event wrapped up with an awards ceremony recognizing individuals and organizations for outstanding vision, leadership, and work.  Here’s a quick recap of our time in Vegas with our credit union partners, clients, and friends.

Collaborating on Innovation

This year’s conference featured a wide range of impactful and educational sessions, covering a variety of topics. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about emerging trends in AI, exploring its potential and strategies for implementation.

Keynote speaker Kelli O’Neill shared an approach called “strategic optimism” for adopting new technologies like AI. She explained how using data and emerging technology can help with problem-solving, accomplishing goals, and finding ways to innovate the credit union space–so long as we remain focused and realistic when it comes to positive outcomes.

Member acquisition remained top-of-mind as speakers and panelists shared insights. Social Assurance’s Jordyn Swanson participated in a panel discussion on the power of embedded lending and Gen Z member acquisition alongside other notable industry experts, including Bethani Williams of Spero Financial Credit Union; Freida Child of Redwood Credit Union; and Sam Das from TruStage Ventures.

The panel was moderated by Barry Kirby and Maria Rigstand of Union Credit. Alongside a robust discussion about customer journey and new member acquisition, panelists offered key insights on reaching Gen Z. “Gen Z relies heavily on social media for information,” explains Jordyn Swanson, who works closely with credit unions and organizations that support and serve them. “Credit unions must be creating content–for social media and other channels–that establishes their brand as a trusted financial resource,” Swanson said, adding that Gen Z is incredibly purpose-driven.  “Credit unions have a unique advantage here. By showcasing community involvement, give-back initiatives, and support for local businesses, credit unions can connect with and serve Gen Z more effectively.”

At the Social Assurance booth, Swanson fielded timely questions about finding balance in marketing and business development efforts–a little thing we like to call: #MulletMentality.  We placed a banner with two face cutouts depicting the most fabulous mullets known to man and saw attendees make their way to our booth, ready to embrace this newfound mentality. What, exactly, is Mullet Mentality, you ask? It’s a nod to the conundrum credit unions often find themselves in: The need to stand out, while also maintaining credibility; the desire to be both creative and compliant; the need to be buttoned up, but also authentic and human; business in the front, party in the back—if you will. Watching and encouraging many to harness the Mullet Mentality with confidence was exciting. Indeed, the fastest, surest route to deposit growth is by tapping into your business development team’s most impactful and memorable customer experiences.

Jordyn's Panel

Celebrating Excellence

What would ACU’s annual marketing and business development conference be without the highly anticipated Diamond Awards? Credit unions, credit union associations/leagues, and CUSOs submitted entries across 37 categories, including website, social media, complete campaigns, and membership marketing. Each submission underwent evaluation based on five key criteria: strategy, creativity, design and production, copy and communication, and results. The event solicited a record 1,451 submissions.  

Winners included the likes of Financial Plus Credit Union (based in Flint, Michigan), which created a viral social media campaign giveaway for Taylor Swift Eras Tour tickets as well as Vegas-based Clark County Credit Union’s Podcast (The Perfect Bite), which combines local food reviews with financial advice. When it came to Greatest Impact, Idaho-based Lookout Credit Union’s People Helping People campaign took the win after raising over $1,000,000 in donations for the construction and opening of a new park. 

A special congratulations to this year’s winners. We enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate your work and work together to innovate on the challenges and opportunities most pressing to our sector. Interested in learning more about how we work with credit unions nationwide? Follow the button below to get in touch.

Social Assurance

Social Assurance helps financial brands connect to their communities. With marketing, sales, and community development solutions, learn how we can help your organization do what it does best: support your community.