As the marketing job continues to grow in complexity and reach in most Credit Unions, marketers find themselves delivering campaigns, messaging and more in both physical and digital spaces. But, as Credit Union marketers take on more challenges and more responsibilities in this digital, data-driven age, it is important for them to remember three things that can help them navigate the future, both in terms of performance and job satisfaction.
When it comes to data, guide rather than spin.
The digital service revolution is putting data at the forefront of decision-making and every function in every organization is confronted with how best to gather, analyze and use data to improve performance and, in many cases, promote discussion and influence direction.
For marketers, the challenge is to avoid using data simply to “prove marketing’s worth.” It’s true that marketers have spent years confronting the question of how much return-on-investment was gained by marketing campaigns. And now, with ever greater amounts of data available, and more ability to parse and analyze it, marketers may feel even greater pressure to justify their work. But remember this, don’t do that.
Instead of falling into the trap of using data to validate your efforts or to promote your beliefs, use data to reveal the reality of where your organization stands in relation to your members. Rather than settling for selling the impact of your work, embrace the effort to bring everyone else along the journey of working with marketing data to understand the challenges that are faced and the opportunities that are available. Why? Because showing your fellow workers the reality of where the Credit Union stands with its members, in relation to where it wishes to be, is the most important strategic task you can undertake. It sets the stage for better decision-making and better performance.
Relax, your co-workers have a growing understanding of what you are up against.
There is no doubt that you play a bigger role in your Credit Union now than you did a decade ago. You may be asking yourself, and be worried about, your ability to deliver against those higher expectations. And you may let that worry drive you to focus efforts on justifying your role and your work. But remember this, don’t do it.
Your fellow executives and team members have a much greater appreciation of the challenges you face when working to meet the demands of all the marketing stakeholders. They are better positioned today than in the past to listen to, consider, and support the marketing mission. They don’t expect you to have all of the answers. They just want you to lead them in the effort to understand members’ needs, understand the changing landscape, and craft strategies for brand success.
When it comes to strategy there’s no single path forward
After years of crafting strategy for organizations, I no longer talk in terms of a strategic “path.” Instead I talk of a “direction”, for the best strategies are not plotted on a line, they are found within a vector. The best strategies have room to adjust to initial efforts and outcomes. The best strategies accommodate both success and failure to promote learning and to promote progress. Too often, however, we find ourselves defending the outcomes of an initial plan or task, rather than learning from them. But remember this, don’t do it.
It takes flexibility to plan, budget and perform well in a rapidly changing environment like ours. So, use data to learn and not simply justify. And give your co-workers credit for knowing something about the challenges you face (and return the favor). And be flexible when things don’t initially work as you had hoped.
You can play a leading role in your Credit Union’s efforts to meet member’s needs, and to deliver on its brand promise. And you can gain satisfaction from your efforts. Just remember these three things.