Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: Creating a Membership Quorum
Problem: Increase Quorum Federal Credit Union’s membership by 6 percent in one month.
Solution: Create a referral program that provides monetary incentives for both lead providers and referees, who legally only can be family members or partner company employees.
Results: Quorum saw a 13 percent increase in membership, a figure that rose 122 percent above expectations.
The phrase “spread the wealth” instantly creates two major impressions on those following current events. For one, the president-elect, Barack Obama, has been associated with the principle. But far earlier, a marketing campaign of the same name netted a Gold ECHO Award in October for bringing in a 13 percent increase in membership for Quorum Federal Credit Union of Purchase, N.Y.
Quorum charged True North, a New York-based digital direct marketing agency, with bringing in 6 percent more members. The agency took on the challenge by creating a multichannel approach to the referral program that gave monetary incentives to both existing members and the colleagues and family they invited to join.
The campaign spread the word through direct mail, e-mail, in-branch posters and referral cards, as well as a landing page. Quorum’s lucky number, 13 percent, represented a 122 percent rise over projections for the “Spread the Wealth” campaign.
Kim Schade, vice president of marketing for Quorum, says her organization’s goal for this campaign was to remain a stand-alone entity.
“We’re challenged with trying to grow or be merged into,” she says. “And so we’ve chosen, obviously, to grow.”
So grow it did, like the beanstalk in its referral literature.
“The results were just completely unexpected, and we had never done anything like this—such a widespread campaign—and had never had to do anything like this in our past history because we just were growing naturally,” Schade says of the membership spike. “I think the messaging really spoke to our membership base, and certainly the incentive helped.”
Neil Feinstein, director of brand and creative strategy for True North, says the month-long effort began when members received referral e-mails with buttons linking them to a landing page where they could list family members and colleagues they thought should join Quorum. After members submitted the referrals, auto-generated e-mails landed in the inboxes of those family members and colleagues.
To give the campaign that personal touch, Feinstein says, the referee e-mail was personalized—both with the recipient’s name and that of the referring colleague or family member.
“The initial ‘member’ e-mail resulted in a unique click rate of over 20 percent,” Feinstein says. “A total of 733 auto-generated referral e-mails were delivered and resulted in a clickthrough rate of over 60 percent. Approximately 20 percent of those who visited the ‘member’ landing page sent a referral e-mail.”
Clicking through the e-mail, prospects arrived on a customized landing page complete with details on Quorum, the offer and a sign-up form. There, potential members learned benefits Quorum could provide—in addition to the promotional offers of a $50 bonus for signing up and a 5.5 percent interest rate on a four-month CD.
Quorum let its members choose their referral channels, immersing them in the $100 per friend or family member offer via in-branch posters, referral cards available from branch employees and a direct mail piece—loaded with referral cards—that was in members’ mailboxes one week after the e-mail promotion had been in their inboxes.
By the time the offer expired on Oct. 12, 2007, the campaign had surpassed Quorum’s expectation of 2,500 new members by 3,043. With those 5,543 new members, Quorum’s total membership base grew by more than 13 percent. With lucky numbers like that, Schade says Quorum’s first member referral campaign probably won’t be its last.