Vantage West Credit Union
– Sakshi Sirpal
This research paper is aimed at providing
a look at the background research of Vantage West Credit Union, their current
situation, various market analysis strategies that can be implemented as part
of the project as well as the Personal Goals which I will be working to achieve
from the Consulting course.
Client Background Research
Starting in 1955, in a one room
barrack with one mission in mind- to help Tucson’s airmen and families by
offering personal and business financial services, Vantage West Credit Union served
about 600 members with less than $60,000 in assets. Over 15 years it grew
tremendously to nearly 14,000 members and now it is among the largest credit
unions in Arizona. Its primary goal is to invest in its surrounding communities
and their members and provide them with personalized services as well as
maintaining a loyal and honest relationship with each of its members.
A Credit Union is basically a
member owned financial co-operative which is created and operated by its
members wherein the profits are shared amongst the owners. Their mission is to
serve people, not profit which rightly terms them as ‘not- for- profit’. The
advantage of being associated with Vantage West is that it is run by members of
the same community hence it is more personalized. Since it is a local
institution, the membership at Vantage West helps fund businesses in the
locality and thereby supports the community thrive. The very impressive
customer loyalty towards Vantage West can be quantified as 71% as opposed to
other Credit Unions and Banks at 59% and 9% respectively, which proves that the
quality of service provided at Vantage West is exceptional.
Aside from promoting financial
readiness, Vantage West invests its profits to enhance the lives of its members
by financing education, honoring the military and offering voluntary support to
various programs that create a positive impact in the communities. In 2015, Vantage
West financed $395,000 in higher education, in the form of scholarships and
matching funds programs for the students. They have also upheld their
principles of having a great community impact by investing $52000 in
sponsorships for events benefitting nonprofits in the local community and have
also directly contributed more than $64000 to local charities. According to Jill Casey, who is the AVP of
Communications for Vantage West Credit Union, “In 2015, we paid out 280 hours
of volunteer work in the community. Interestingly,
employees self-reported performing an additional 1,618 hours of volunteer work
on their own time.” Employees are providing volunteering support to the
community by partaking in various other community activities such as walks,
runs and stair climbs and are each paid their regular salary to perform up to
16 hours of volunteer work every year.
Vantage West has been honored by
the Junior Acheivement of Arizona for the title Community Partner of the Year
in 2015. They have partnered with Junior Achievement of Arizona time and again,
and serve as advisors to the Junior Achievement Board. They have hosted various
fundraising events like bowling and golf, and have volunteered to help prepare
the youth by educating them on financial readiness. Our Project Sponsor,
Richard R. Paige, who is the Director of Market and Product Development has
rightly stated, “Saving is a fundamental necessity that should be practiced by
individuals of all age ranges, but in many instances, it gets overlooked”. Drawing
parallels from the financial services of a Credit Union, he believes that
inculcating values such as being financially ready and stable at an early age
Vantage West has also been
recognized for its initiative to expand the Hispanic market and was awarded the
CUNA Diamond Award for its efforts. They made use of bilingual and bicultural
multimedia as part of their marketing strategies for more involvement of their
existing Hispanic members and catering to their needs, as well as spreading
awareness amongst potential members of the community. They indulged in various
social media activities and extended support to the cultural events specific to
Vantage West Credit Union – Market Expansion
Vantage West Credit Union currently has 1.9B in assets,
around 150,000 members and have branches in 16 locations. They are on a
fast-growing path of success and as a part of it they are looking to expand the
market in Phoenix. Since Credit Unions are extremely community oriented, and
Vantage West has had a phenomenal response about the quality of financial and personalized
services from their existing members, the expansion of the member base in
Phoenix is a really good idea. They are looking for us to perform an in-depth
market analysis specific to the Phoenix market, and thereafter make recommendations
which will attract various interested depositors to be a part of the Vantage
In the past, Vantage West has partnered with WHYFOR agency
to help them reintroduce the Credit Union’s image as a serious and professional
financial institution. Vantage West took into consideration the public’s
feedback and WHYFOR established a marketing and advertising campaign based on
the tag line “You Deserve More”. The agency used a variety of tactics for
advertising, including TV, radio, print as well as online advertisement. They
helped Vantage West deliver influential marketing strategies and this in turn
improved the customer engagement and the brand image. As part of the current
project aimed at the Market Expansion in Phoenix, we can leverage the previous
marketing strategies applied and can come up with innovative ideas to expand
the customer base in different geographical regions of the submarket.
Project Plan – Market Analysis
As part of the scope, I understand that my project team and
I will be performing analysis of transactional data to identify the target
population within the Phoenix market that would be more likely to obtain the
services of Vantage West Credit Union. We can adopt various strategies to
perform the Data and Market Analysis.
Our team would be performing the Market Research in 4 steps:
Target Population Assessment – We will be
assessing the behavior of the Vantage West audience, in terms of how they seek
information, evaluate the company’s services which can be done via surveys,
interviews, focus groups.
Trend Assessment – We will be compiling
and analyzing the most engaging offers and services that provide opportunities
which will attract the target population.
Media Assessment – We will be identifying
the top influencers in the financial space for Vantage West and leverage that
information to maximize the promotional efforts.
Competitor Analysis – We would also like
to analyze the competitors in the field to make sure that we have a competitive
advantage and have a differentiating factor.
Once the market research has been performed, it will give
way to the important tasks that need to be performed as part of the Project. We
will be segmenting the market and looking at the potential customers in the
Phoenix market. The segmentation can be performed using different approaches
which are affected by various factors. Here I would like to utilize the
Business Communications knowledge of the Porter’s 5 forces which are the
factors affecting segmentation approaches- Power of suppliers, Power of
Customers, Competition Threat, Threat of new entrants in the market and the
Threat of Substitute services.
We will thereafter look at the Market Appeal which is
influenced by factors such as Strategic Value, Market Size, Market Growth and
the Profit Potential. Finally, we will be analyzing the Market Needs and will
evaluate strategies to improve customer engagement and thereby expand the
customer base of Vantage West Credit Union in the Phoenix Market.
A few of the marketing strategies that we can look at are
Differentiating Vantage West based on the values
they propose – Shifting focus to the less tangible, but valuable benefits of
joining Vantage West, such as its community centric nature, loyalty,
personalized experiences must be highlighted over the quantitative aspects such
as better rates, profits and fees.
Enhancing the online experience – Improving the
company website, making it more insightful by providing detailed information on
popular financial services, answering common customer queries, sharing valuable
tips and tricks on building credit score, savings, investments etc., and making
mobile applications for easy access will boost the growth of the customer base
in the Phoenix Market.
Rewarding existing members for providing
referrals – Since most of the population trust endorsements from family or
close friends, member referrals are a good way of getting people interested in Vantage
West Credit Union. The rewards can be in the form of money or value-added
services to the existing members on each referral used by a potential customer.
Capitalize Content Marketing – Vantage West can
attract more customers by providing meaningful content on social media, which
will resonate with their potential members. They can use blogs, email, chat
services to have conversations with people and address their concerns. Posting captivating
experiences of individuals who have been associated with the Credit Union for a
long time could be a good strategy to attract customers from the community.
Rebranding – Vantage West can consider reintroducing
themselves with a new logo, new infrastructure and opening their branches in favorable
locations of the Phoenix market which are home to potential customers.
I would like to leverage the learnings from the Business
Communications course, BNAD Consulting Course and the Project experience with
Vantage West Credit Union, and achieve the following Personal Goals, which will
help me in the professional world and enhance my personal growth as well as
Maintain good client interaction – I would like
to improve my client interaction skills and make the most of the client
meetings to make good progress in the Project as well as give me a picture of
what working in a real-life client setting will be.
Improve networking skills – I would like to use
this opportunity to network with peers, my instructors and various members of
Vantage West Credit Union and build a strong network of motivated and driven
Ask a lot of questions – I want to make sure I
do not shy away from asking questions and expanding my knowledge base. The only
way to do that is to ask questions whenever I feel unsure about certain aspects
of the Project.
Have good team dynamics – I hope to work in a
good environment, wherein each of the team members will motivate the others. I
want to go through all the phases of project execution and be successful in
delivering the project. This is an important takeaway for working in the
Enhancing presentation skills and improve
confidence – I want to use this opportunity to enhance my presentation skills
and perfect them. Also, would like to be more confident in presenting in front
of any kind of audience.
Successful project deliverables – Finally, I
would like to be able to successfully deliver exactly what the Client expects
and demands of us.
Become a valuable consultant – After achieving all
the above goals, it would in turn lead to be becoming a valuable consultant and
become prepared for the specific role in the industry.