Building Stronger Relationships: How Navy Federal Credit Union Puts Members First

June 2, 2023  |  
By Jeff Pedowitz
June 2, 2023
By Jeff Pedowitz

Successful marketing strategies in a rapidly evolving digital landscape require a strong sense of purpose and a deep understanding of customer needs. Pam Piligian, the Chief Marketing Officer of Navy Federal Credit Union, recently shared her valuable insights on purpose-driven marketing in an episode of the CMO Insights Podcast. Here are the key takeaways from the conversation and how Navy Federal Credit Union has leveraged purpose-driven marketing to build strong relationships with its members: 

  1. The Importance of Purpose: A clear sense of purpose is at the heart of Navy Federal’s marketing approach. As a credit union serving active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families, Navy Federal’s mission is focused on putting its members first. By adopting a member-centric approach, Navy Federal Credit Union has become the largest credit union, serving 12.7 million members. 
  1. Aligning Values and Building Relationships: Navy Federal Credit Union understands the significance of aligning its values with those of its members. While their core membership base consists of active-duty military personnel and veterans, they have garnered respect from individuals who may not be eligible to join but appreciate the mission of supporting those who have served. This alignment of values fosters trust and loyalty among their target audience. 

    Furthermore, Navy Federal recognizes that value extends beyond traditional factors like price and quality. They acknowledge the importance of minimizing stress and providing convenience to their members. By prioritizing efficiency and making it easy for members to engage with their services, Navy Federal creates an environment where members can focus on what truly matters to them. 
  1. Operationalizing Purpose: Pam highlights how Navy Federal operationalizes its purpose-driven marketing approach. She emphasizes that the primary focus is always on serving the member and making decisions based on what is best for them. As the CMO, Piligian’s role is to tell Navy Federal’s story and serve as the growth engine by connecting with more eligible individuals and encouraging them to join. 

    Membership acquisition is a crucial aspect of Navy Federal’s marketing strategy. Once individuals become members, the focus shifts to cultivating engagement and advocacy. This involves providing superior products and services, as well as nurturing strong relationships through effective communication and encouraging participation in events and activities that align with their members’ interests. 
  1. Challenges and Opportunities: While serving a specific demographic brings inherent advantages, it also presents unique challenges. Navy Federal faces the task of accurately identifying and engaging with veterans who have diverse backgrounds and experiences. Understanding this diverse group’s nuances and individual needs is critical to building meaningful relationships. 
  1. The Changing Landscape: Navy Federal recognizes the importance of maintaining intimacy with its members as the digital landscape evolves. While digital banking has gained popularity, many members still seek a path to human interaction when necessary. As a result, Navy Federal offers multiple channels through which members can access services and receive support, whether through physical branches, online platforms, or phone support. This balanced approach enables Navy Federal to meet its members’ varying needs and preferences. 
  1. Building the Right Team: Pam emphasizes the significance of building a team that aligns with the credit union’s culture and values. Cultivating a culture of doing what is right for the member and treating employees with respect and support enables Navy Federal to deliver exceptional service. By prioritizing employee satisfaction, they create an environment where employees are motivated to go above and beyond in serving the members. 

Navy Federal Credit Union’s success can be attributed to its purpose-driven marketing strategy. Navy Federal has established itself as a leading credit union by prioritizing member needs, aligning values, and fostering strong relationships. 

Watch the full interview here: 

YouTube player

Connect with Pam Piligian on LinkedIn. 

Connect with Jeff Pedowitz on LinkedIn. 

Listen to the CMO Insights podcast. 

Download a free copy of Jeff’s book ‘F the Funnel’. 

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