3 steps to proactive marketing

In the financial world, marketing can be almost entirely reactive if we aren’t deliberate about our plans and actions.  “We need deposits,“ we need loans,” and “we need new members” can quickly give us whiplash and have us scrambling from one campaign to another.

To be truly successful in maximizing ROI for our marketing efforts, we must be more proactive in our planning and execution.  But how do we accomplish that on a limited budget?  That’s the million-dollar question in credit union marketing. 

Here are three important tried and true steps in calculating your marketing budget around the things that will have the biggest impact on your ROI.

Realize you’re not alone

Contrary to popular belief, marketers don’t operate on islands by themselves.  While there may only be one actual person in your marketing department, you are an integral part of your credit union’s strategic team, which includes the CEO and CFO.

Before the Christmas holiday gets here, schedule a meeting or a lunch together and have an open dialogue about how you see marketing best meeting the credit union’s strategic goals.  Work together as a team to determine profitability of all of your institution’s products and services.  Then, use these mutually agreed upon numbers in your pre and post-campaign analyses throughout the year to calculate the return on each marketing program in your plan.

Focus and think small

Step number two in budgeting is to ask your team: “what is the primary purpose of our credit union’s marketing budget?”  Is it to grow loans?  Do you want to expand into new areas?  What are the one or two things that are keeping you up at night?

There are so many flashy, exciting, fun, new, marketing programs out there to help you reach new members or existing ones.  Looking at what other financial institutions and other companies are doing, and seeing all of the new emerging technologies and social media platforms out there, the possibilities are endless!

Successful marketing is absolutely counter-intuitive to our “think outside the box” mentality.  Successful marketing is about thinking “inside the box.”  My team’s favorite phrase is “it’s not about the million things you could do, but the three – or four or five – things (budget allowing) you should do that will have the greatest impact on your bottom line.

Your marketing plan should include no more than three to five big objectives for the entire year.  For example, one financial institution’s marketing goals for 2014 are to:

  1. Expand existing relationships
  2. Increase member retention
  3. Increase brand awareness/brand equity in the community

Each goal will then have a multitude of tactics that will drive growth in each one of these areas.

Throw the “formula” out the window

The “formula” of taking last year’s number and adding or subtracting a percentage is not the best route to maximizing your marketing dollars.  The strategic direction and business objectives of your credit union should trump formulas when you are putting together your marketing budget.  Are you building new branches, adding new products, introducing new technologies or expanding niche markets?  What are your growth goals?

Take your three to five answers from step two above and map out the programs that would have the biggest impact on your credit union’s circumstances and growth goals.  Depending on your budget, you may need to rank these programs in order of importance and based on the financial growth they can drive.

Setting a marketing budget and reaching strategic marketing objectives for the overall good of the credit union is not a one-person job.  This is a team effort.  Following the steps above and coming to a deep understanding together of organizational goals and marrying that to specific marketing programs is the number one best way to maximize the ROI on your precious marketing dollars.

Here’s to a fantastic 2014!

Amanda Thomas

Amanda Thomas

Amanda is founder and president of TwoScore, a firm that channels her passion for the credit union mission and people to help credit unions under $100 million in assets reach ... Web: www.twoscore.com Details