The world of financial products and services has evolved rapidly in the last two decades. What worked for consumers in 1997 or 2007 just doesn’t measure up to what they expect in 2017. Bank and credit union marketing professionals must always strive to to learn, evolve and keep up with this dizzying change of pace.

However, with change often comes great opportunity. With that in mind, we quizzed Nick Cray, VP of Member Relations and Marketing at AmeriCU (Rome, NY; $1.5 billion assets; 122,000 members). Nick, a long-time veteran of marketing and consumer experience within banks and credit unions offers the following “big three” opportunities facing financial institution markers today:

1) Differentiating credit unions. We see it all the time in industry research- people just don’t know what a credit union is. Even on a micro level, I can’t say how often I hear So, you have to be, like, in the military to join?’ One large issue facing credit unions is simply explaining to potential members who we are and building awareness of the industry as a whole.

2) Standing out from the noise. Once members or potential members are aware that we’re here – so what? They have a plethora of options to choose from. How to make members see you instead of something in the background is critical.

3) Building relationships. In an age where consumers are comfortable with disjointed services (cobbling together Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon; instead of a single cable provider, for example), how do you even begin the conversation about relationships? Credit unions know that they are the best option for many consumers. Unfortunately, those consumers may already see the world in terms of multiple relationships, instead of a primary. Winning them over requires a lot more than good advertising.

Change is tough, especially when the professional world in which we work moves on from the day we earned our college degree or just entered the industry. This effects many bank and credit union marketers today. Staying abreast of these changes and identifying the “diamond in the rough” opportunities that exist for financial institution marketers is critical. As Cray notes, differentiation in a crowded marketplace, positioning consumers to choose you over the competition and building deeper and more meaningful consumer relationships are three such opportunities waiting to be tapped at many banks and credit unions.