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United Heritage Credit Union leverages Marketo to better serve existing members, attract new members while influencing an 11% asset increase. 



United Heritage Credit Union (UHCU) was founded in 1957 to serve military personnel and their families. Since that time, it has become a community-based credit union open to anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in the counties surrounding the Austin and Tyler, Texas areas. UHCU, a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, offers checking accounts, savings accounts and loans. Focusing on improving the member experience rather than serving the interest of shareholders, UHCU usually offers more favorable loan rates and higher savings yields than the big banks.

According to Kevin Farley, AVP of Digital and Brand Experience, UHCU is expanding its marketing efforts to provide current members with a more personal, financially fulfilling relationship and spread the word among potential members about UHCU’s competitive rates and services. Though he and his team continue to address the needs of current members, they are also working to attract new members to achieve economies of scale that allow UHCU to deliver more compelling member benefits.

To attain growth targets, UHCU marketers are addressing the challenges associated with shifting member expectations regarding how, when and where they want to be engaged. They are combining digital marketing across email, the web, display advertising and social media with traditional channels such as radio, billboards, print advertising and local community events. UHCU’s marketing approach focuses more on behavioral targeting than segmentation. The UHCU digital marketing team targets people whose behavior indicates specific interests and needs—for example, buying a car or a home. Marketo provides UHCU with a platform for delivering personalized and genuine experiences to members and potential members using the channels each person prefers. 


  • Attract new members to grow assets and achieve economies of scale
  • Continue to build lasting relationships with current members
  • Strengthen engagement and conversion by communicating with individuals based on behavior that reveals their interests and needs 



The Increasing Importance of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has become increasingly important in view of shifting demographics from an older population to one that includes more young people who prefer digital communication. Regardless of demographics, all customers today want to do business with organizations that understand them well enough to engage in personalized communications using the channels that the customers prefer. 


UHCU marketing employs traditional channels to create brand awareness and then leverages targeted digital marketing to drive potential prospects back to the credit union. Marketo’s ability to tie different systems together, such as the ability to exchange data with Facebook, has enhanced UHCU’s ability to engage members and prospects. Through this integration, marketers can understand behavior and create highly effective Facebook campaigns—for example, identifying and targeting people who are looking for specific types of loans. These campaigns have driven up the number of new loans substantially. The staff is also looking into bringing data from SMS and direct mail into Marketo. 

"Marketo gives us visibility into individual needs and then enables us to engage people by zeroing in on those needs,” Kevin explains. “For example, our initial thrust has been targeting prospects for auto loans. If a person’s behavior matches that of people who have gotten auto loans from us, we then target them with email, ads, direct mail, and other communications. We highlight our competitive auto loan rates and flexible payment options.” 

Personalized Engagement Brings Impressive Results 

With Marketo, marketers can test and fine-tune campaigns based on how people respond. The result has been a dramatic rise in email engagement. In the first full year with Marketo, marketing sent approximately 44,000 email messages. The open rate for the new engagement emails was 54.7%, with a click-through rate of 5.2%. That’s a 41.7% increase in open rate and a 40.5% increase in click-through rate compared with the one-off email messages sent in the past. In addition, there were only 52 unsubscribes. 

"The population in Austin is growing rapidly and that alone would account for natural growth in membership,” Kevin explains. “But our targeted marketing is driving growth beyond that. Since we established the digital marketing team, UCHU’s assets have grown by 16%—approximately $200 million— driven mainly by digital initiatives.” 

Marketing has created an onboarding process that welcomes new members with a series of four email messages that help build genuine relationships right from the start. In the past, marketers sent a standard birthday message each month to all members with a birthday in the following month. “With Marketo,” says Brittany Walla, Digital Communication and Content Manager, “we now send individualized birthday greetings. What surprised us is how much our members appreciate that personal touch. We get replies saying things like, ‘Thank you for the birthday wishes, you made my day.’” 



Getting to Know Our Members Even Better 

UHCU intends to continue exploiting the power of Marketo and its ability to integrate with other systems to gain deeper insight into its members and develop increasingly personalized relationships with them. For example, a growing family may need a new car or a new house in the future. By building out members’ journeys, the team can initiate communication indicating how UHCU can help members meet those future needs. 

As Kevin notes, “We can leverage Marketo and its easy integration with other systems to automate processes that keep us up to date on what people in the community want and need. That’s essential to meeting our objectives for growing membership and assets in today’s engagement economy, which requires us to thoroughly understand who our customers are and communicate with them when, where, and how they expect.