Case Study

Financial Services Case Study: Steinbach Credit Union


Steinbach Credit Union (SCU) is Manitoba's largest credit union and the 7th largest in Canada with more than $4 billion in total assets. For over 70 years, SCU has worked with its members to create relationships based on trust and support. Its goal is to provide products and services that are tailored to meet every member's individual needs in the best way possible.


Steinbach Credit Union wanted to better understand its members and prospects to develop more effective marketing initiatives. But it faced a number of challenges: a small marketing team; limited data on how current members conducted their banking at SCU; and a complex data warehouse that was difficult to mine. With few opportunities to apply response metrics, staff members were unable to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. “We wanted to develop ways to measure and learn from our marketing programs,” says Stephanie West, Marketing Generalist at SCU. “And we wanted to share the results across the organization.”


SCU’s solution began with a novel approach. Although analyzing the response of a direct mail campaign is usually the last step in a marketing effort, Environics Analytics analysts working with SCU’s marketing team developed responder metrics before creating a campaign. Using EA’s PRIZMC2 segmentation and WealthScapes database, analysts first sorted the best performing segments into three target groups—Prosperous Parents, Middle-Aged Movers and RVs & Retirees—based on behaviour and ownership of financial products. They profiled the groups using demographics, lifestyles, social values and media. In the fall of 2011, SCU launched a direct mail campaign—using both addressed and unaddressed mail—to cross-sell consumer lending and retirement planning products with customized messages. The analytical team then conducted a response analysis of the members and prospects who answered the promotion, analyzing their age, branch used and product preferences. The results allowed SCU’s marketers to target, track, learn and improve their targeting efforts for four follow-up campaigns in 2012 and 2013.


The campaign proved that insights-based direct mail is an effective approach for attracting new members, energizing current ones and reducing marketing costs. Product sales rose, even among members not previously expected to buy. Marketers learned how to turn addressed and unaddressed mail walks into an efficient and sophisticated marketing tool for cross-sell and up-sell programs. Just as important, the marketers shared their findings with SCU’s branches and leadership team. SCU’s advertising images were revised to reflect the segmentation-based target groups, which also guided formation of focus groups. And today the marketing department is the hub of Steinbach Credit Union, sharing its response analytics. “We wanted to base our marketing campaigns on data-driven insights rather than instinct,” says West, “and that’s just what’s happened.”