Blockade to Success for Credit Unions: A Lesson from Mitt Romney

by Bo McDonald

I’m a marketer…but I’m also a politico geek.  That’s why I was so interested in a Facebook article recently posted by fellow credit union marketer Deb McClean titled “The Story Behind Mitt Romney’s Loss.”  As someone who enjoys playing armchair quarterback with politics I had to click on it to check it out.

Not only was it an interesting read politically, but it held several lessons that could be applied to our business. One sentence from the last page of the article struck a chord with me: “The majority of voters preferred Romney’s visions, values, and leadership. But he had clearly failed to address the problem that Romney’s own family worried about from the start. Obama beat Romney by an astonishing 81 to 18 percent margin on the question of which candidate ‘cares about people like me. ‘”

How could that be? If people really believed that they were more aligned with Mitt Romney on the key issues they cared about, why wouldn’t they vote for him?

It seems to be the same question that credit unions struggle with. Study after study show that consumers prefer the mission and values of a credit union over big banks. Yet they don’t make the switch. Why is that? Probably for the same reason that Mitt Romney lost the election. Credit Unions don’t do a good job of telling their story. When is the last time you had a member in your lobby bragging about how much they love their credit union? Yet you glossed over that in favor of a message that talked about your latest rate promotion.