CMOs Need to Measure and Analyze the Data!

The CMO is faced with a constant challenge to prove the value of their marketing efforts. The channels we use continue to grow, the technology continues to innovate, and the consumer expects more personalization and customization of offers than ever before.

To be successful, CMOs must collect, segment, analyze and visualize the data to create efficiencies in their marketing efforts, personalize and customize offers, and report to management believable numbers around adoption, balance growth, and profitability.

To do this collecting, segmenting, analyzing, and visualizing, the CMO must integrate multiple data repositories. The most important repository of data is your core system. But the sources of data a CMO needs also come from many vendors outside of the core.

Consumer Loan Tracking

To properly measure consumer loan adoption, a CMO needs to have access to the loan origination software. Here she/he can see the number of applications generated, where the application is in the underwriting and processing cycles, the number of loans approved and funded, and the average time from application to funding. Since the CMO is responsible for the campaign’s success, she/he also needs to know how many loans were not approved and why and how many loans were approved but not funded. Also, marketing needs to understand the dropout rate of members during this process and precisely where they dropped out. This knowledge of drop-outs is a key indicator of friction in the application process and creates an opportunity to see if this friction is necessary. We know that the success of a lending campaign is co-dependent upon expert execution by the loan origination software, the lending team, and the risk tolerance of the ALM Committee.

Mortgage Loan Tracking

Like consumer loans, mortgage loan tracking starts with the data inside the mortgage loan origination software with the same criteria as consumer loan monitoring. The unique issue marketers have with mortgage loans is with those loans sold to the secondary market. The marketer must know the member has this relationship with the credit union even though the credit union is no longer carrying this balance. But also, during those periods of refinancing when mortgage rates decline, knowing what mortgage balances are held versus sold is critically important. The CFO may not want to re-price the portfolio by marketing a refinance offer to a member withheld mortgage balances. Still, they would really like to create new balances and profits, held or sold, from members whose mortgages were sold to the secondary market.

New Member Acquisition

Typically one of the most important deliverables from marketing is member growth. But, like loan growth, the success of a new member campaign is co-dependent on the new member process, operations, branches, call center, and online channels and the ability of staff to cross-sell these new members. This requires a lot of system integration. If the credit union is an indirect lender, the indirect member must be segmented and looked at with different expectations than a member that joined the credit union through a proactive choice. Seldom can marketing take credit for the indirect member, but they should take credit for the direct member. But just adding members for the sake of getting new members is seldom a sustainable strategy. The credit union wants engaged members, members that contribute to the cooperative, not just cherry-picking our very best rates. Therefore the CMO must know what products members are adopting and why what kind of balances they are bringing to the credit union and track to know when are successfully onboarding the member to maximize the balances and products acquired. These analytics require visibility with the indirect lending engine, the new member application process, and the ability to track this new member through the entire new member process and onboarding. CMOs need to know why members are coming to them, for which products, and if our cross-sell efforts yield the results the credit union needs to grow profitable new members.

Reporting Profitability

CMOs are required now to now report SWAGs when it comes to profitability. Boards and management expect real numbers consistent with the general ledger (GL) that the CFO is delivering. To properly understand profitability, marketing data needs to integrate with the GL so that the ROIs that marketing delivers are consistent with the numbers finance has. As demonstrated above, this integration must happen between multiple vendors, with some “hard-wiring” into the credit union’s GL. Some vendors facilitate this kind of “hard-wiring,” but, you guessed it, they need to be integrated…

Here’s the Rub

All of these measurement and tracking efforts require system integrations with multiple vendors. All of these system integrations and the maintenance of these systems take up significant IT bandwidth and investment.

How can Marketing get all of this Integration work done?

Develop a plan to get the key data you want into a single source. Make sure the data names are consistent between sources. Some software refers to members as members, some as accounts, etc. These names all have to be standardized and normalized. Standardize the queries, definitions, and report timing. Three things make reports not balance:

  1. Query – the logic that the query is built on must be consistent; the greater than, equal to, etc.
  2. Definitions – if one report defines a member as a unique social security number and another report defines a member as a membership account, the reports will not be consistent.
  3. Timing – different software you use has different report timing. Even a two-hour difference of when data is run will create an imbalance. Having all data in a data file/warehouse where you control when the report is run will remove these inconsistencies in timing.

A data strategy is not something that happens; it is an intentional effort to capture, cleanse, normalize, and store your data sources.


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at


  1. Top-Down BI Strategy | The Knowlton Group on July 23, 2015 at 6:01 am

    […] Another school of thought is the “Bottom-Up BI Strategy” or “Data-Driven BI Strategy” which focuses primarily on what data sources are available. From the data sources available, you then determine what questions you can ask of the data and build the data structures off of the existing sources. The “Bottom-Up BI Strategy” typically tends to be a bit easier to develop. It only uses data sources that are currently available, and often times can be the shortest method to achieving some limited success. However, these strategies typically fail to see the greater potential of business intelligence. By focusing only on what is currently available in a SQL format, you tend to ignore other data opportunities. For example, what value could integrating your core data with your credit card system bring to your business? Or integrating your core with your LOS system and with your CRM system to drastically improve marketing operations and ROI (Rich Jones has an excellent article on this topic named CMOs Need to Measure and Analyze the Data!). […]

    • Rich Jones on July 23, 2015 at 8:30 am

      More on data utilization in this excellent article by The Knowlton Group!

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