Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Julie Ellis
Last updated: August 15, 2019
LEARNING OBJECTIVESVantage West Credit Union- Sakshi Sirpal Overview This research paper is aimed at providinga look at the background research of Vantage West Credit Union, their currentsituation, various market analysis strategies that can be implemented as partof the project as well as the Personal Goals which I will be working to achievefrom the Consulting course. Client Background Research Starting in 1955, in a one roombarrack with one mission in mind- to help Tucson’s airmen and families byoffering personal and business financial services, Vantage West Credit Union servedabout 600 members with less than $60,000 in assets. Over 15 years it grewtremendously to nearly 14,000 members and now it is among the largest creditunions in Arizona. Its primary goal is to invest in its surrounding communitiesand their members and provide them with personalized services as well asmaintaining a loyal and honest relationship with each of its members.
A Credit Union is basically amember owned financial co-operative which is created and operated by itsmembers wherein the profits are shared amongst the owners. Their mission is toserve people, not profit which rightly terms them as ‘not- for- profit’. Theadvantage of being associated with Vantage West is that it is run by members ofthe same community hence it is more personalized. Since it is a localinstitution, the membership at Vantage West helps fund businesses in thelocality and thereby supports the community thrive.
The very impressivecustomer loyalty towards Vantage West can be quantified as 71% as opposed toother Credit Unions and Banks at 59% and 9% respectively, which proves that thequality of service provided at Vantage West is exceptional.Aside from promoting financialreadiness, Vantage West invests its profits to enhance the lives of its membersby financing education, honoring the military and offering voluntary support tovarious programs that create a positive impact in the communities. In 2015, VantageWest financed $395,000 in higher education, in the form of scholarships andmatching funds programs for the students. They have also upheld theirprinciples of having a great community impact by investing $52000 insponsorships for events benefitting nonprofits in the local community and havealso directly contributed more than $64000 to local charities. According to Jill Casey, who is the AVP ofCommunications for Vantage West Credit Union, “In 2015, we paid out 280 hoursof volunteer work in the community. Interestingly,employees self-reported performing an additional 1,618 hours of volunteer workon their own time.” Employees are providing volunteering support to thecommunity by partaking in various other community activities such as walks,runs and stair climbs and are each paid their regular salary to perform up to16 hours of volunteer work every year. Vantage West has been honored bythe Junior Acheivement of Arizona for the title Community Partner of the Yearin 2015.
They have partnered with Junior Achievement of Arizona time and again,and serve as advisors to the Junior Achievement Board. They have hosted variousfundraising events like bowling and golf, and have volunteered to help preparethe youth by educating them on financial readiness. Our Project Sponsor,Richard R. Paige, who is the Director of Market and Product Development hasrightly stated, “Saving is a fundamental necessity that should be practiced byindividuals of all age ranges, but in many instances, it gets overlooked”. Drawingparallels from the financial services of a Credit Union, he believes thatinculcating values such as being financially ready and stable at an early ageis mandatory. Vantage West has also beenrecognized for its initiative to expand the Hispanic market and was awarded theCUNA Diamond Award for its efforts.
They made use of bilingual and biculturalmultimedia as part of their marketing strategies for more involvement of theirexisting Hispanic members and catering to their needs, as well as spreadingawareness amongst potential members of the community. They indulged in varioussocial media activities and extended support to the cultural events specific tothe community. 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 afast-growing path of success and as a part of it they are looking to expand themarket in Phoenix. Since Credit Unions are extremely community oriented, andVantage West has had a phenomenal response about the quality of financial and personalizedservices from their existing members, the expansion of the member base inPhoenix is a really good idea. They are looking for us to perform an in-depthmarket analysis specific to the Phoenix market, and thereafter make recommendationswhich will attract various interested depositors to be a part of the VantageWest community. In the past, Vantage West has partnered with WHYFOR agencyto help them reintroduce the Credit Union’s image as a serious and professionalfinancial institution.
Vantage West took into consideration the public’sfeedback and WHYFOR established a marketing and advertising campaign based onthe tag line “You Deserve More”. The agency used a variety of tactics foradvertising, including TV, radio, print as well as online advertisement. Theyhelped Vantage West deliver influential marketing strategies and this in turnimproved the customer engagement and the brand image. As part of the currentproject aimed at the Market Expansion in Phoenix, we can leverage the previousmarketing strategies applied and can come up with innovative ideas to expandthe customer base in different geographical regions of the submarket. Project Plan – Market Analysis As part of the scope, I understand that my project team andI will be performing analysis of transactional data to identify the targetpopulation within the Phoenix market that would be more likely to obtain theservices of Vantage West Credit Union. We can adopt various strategies toperform the Data and Market Analysis. Our team would be performing the Market Research in 4 steps:1. Target Population Assessment – We will beassessing the behavior of the Vantage West audience, in terms of how they seekinformation, evaluate the company’s services which can be done via surveys,interviews, focus groups.
2. Trend Assessment – We will be compilingand analyzing the most engaging offers and services that provide opportunitieswhich will attract the target population.3. Media Assessment – We will be identifyingthe top influencers in the financial space for Vantage West and leverage thatinformation to maximize the promotional efforts.
4. Competitor Analysis – We would also liketo analyze the competitors in the field to make sure that we have a competitiveadvantage and have a differentiating factor.Once the market research has been performed, it will giveway to the important tasks that need to be performed as part of the Project.
Wewill be segmenting the market and looking at the potential customers in thePhoenix market. The segmentation can be performed using different approacheswhich are affected by various factors. Here I would like to utilize theBusiness Communications knowledge of the Porter’s 5 forces which are thefactors affecting segmentation approaches- Power of suppliers, Power ofCustomers, Competition Threat, Threat of new entrants in the market and theThreat of Substitute services. We will thereafter look at the Market Appeal which isinfluenced by factors such as Strategic Value, Market Size, Market Growth andthe Profit Potential. Finally, we will be analyzing the Market Needs and willevaluate strategies to improve customer engagement and thereby expand thecustomer base of Vantage West Credit Union in the Phoenix Market.A few of the marketing strategies that we can look at arethe following:· Differentiating Vantage West based on the valuesthey propose – Shifting focus to the less tangible, but valuable benefits ofjoining Vantage West, such as its community centric nature, loyalty,personalized experiences must be highlighted over the quantitative aspects suchas better rates, profits and fees.
· Enhancing the online experience – Improving thecompany website, making it more insightful by providing detailed information onpopular financial services, answering common customer queries, sharing valuabletips and tricks on building credit score, savings, investments etc., and makingmobile applications for easy access will boost the growth of the customer basein the Phoenix Market. · Rewarding existing members for providingreferrals – Since most of the population trust endorsements from family orclose friends, member referrals are a good way of getting people interested in VantageWest Credit Union.
The rewards can be in the form of money or value-addedservices to the existing members on each referral used by a potential customer. · Capitalize Content Marketing – Vantage West canattract more customers by providing meaningful content on social media, whichwill resonate with their potential members. They can use blogs, email, chatservices to have conversations with people and address their concerns. Posting captivatingexperiences of individuals who have been associated with the Credit Union for along time could be a good strategy to attract customers from the community. · Rebranding – Vantage West can consider reintroducingthemselves with a new logo, new infrastructure and opening their branches in favorablelocations of the Phoenix market which are home to potential customers. Personal Goals I would like to leverage the learnings from the BusinessCommunications course, BNAD Consulting Course and the Project experience withVantage West Credit Union, and achieve the following Personal Goals, which willhelp me in the professional world and enhance my personal growth as well aspersonal brand.1.
Maintain good client interaction – I would liketo improve my client interaction skills and make the most of the clientmeetings to make good progress in the Project as well as give me a picture ofwhat working in a real-life client setting will be. 2. Improve networking skills – I would like to usethis opportunity to network with peers, my instructors and various members ofVantage West Credit Union and build a strong network of motivated and drivenpersonalities.
3. Ask a lot of questions – I want to make sure Ido not shy away from asking questions and expanding my knowledge base. The onlyway to do that is to ask questions whenever I feel unsure about certain aspectsof the Project. 4.
Have good team dynamics – I hope to work in agood environment, wherein each of the team members will motivate the others. Iwant to go through all the phases of project execution and be successful indelivering the project. This is an important takeaway for working in thecorporate world. 5. Enhancing presentation skills and improveconfidence – I want to use this opportunity to enhance my presentation skillsand perfect them. Also, would like to be more confident in presenting in frontof any kind of audience.
6. Successful project deliverables – Finally, Iwould like to be able to successfully deliver exactly what the Client expectsand demands of us. 7. Become a valuable consultant – After achieving allthe above goals, it would in turn lead to be becoming a valuable consultant andbecome prepared for the specific role in the industry.