Five credit union marketing tips inspired by 80s heavy metal

We watched their music videos: guitar licks, tight pants and bravado. We wept to power ballads as we raised our lighters. We felt the noize and banged our heads.

Little did we know, those screaming songsters had more to teach us than how many inches hair can add to one’s height.  Put the needle on the record and read on for some marketing tips just for credit unions, inspired by heavy metal music.

No One Like You (Scorpions)

Differentiate. Credit unions are not the same as traditional financial institutions. Educate people how we’re different and why that’s good.

But keep it positive. Instead of pointing out negative bank practices that credit unions don’t do, focus on why credit unions are the right choice. For instance, credit unions are not-for-profit. We reinvest profits to benefit members, who are also our owners. Our mantra “people helping people” is a testament to how we focus on members. We’re local but national all at once.

You’ve Got Another Thing Coming (Judas Priest) 

Our industry and our world can expect the wind of change to blow without a break for the foreseeable future. The tools available to help reach certain audiences, and measure a campaign’s data, are constantly evolving, becoming ever more customizable and powerful. Adaptability to new market environments and new technologies is important.

Keep content optimized for each delivery method. Evaluate appropriate avenues for delivering messages to audiences. You wouldn’t advertise studded leather jackets on the Gramophone site. Likewise, reaching millennials will require different tactics than if you were trying to reach retirees. Consider investing in outside help to harness available digital marketing capabilities, educate your department on how they can best serve your purposes and let you plan for future innovations.

Here I Go Again (Whitesnake)

The six most groan-inducing words at a rock concert just might be “here’s something from our new album.” Old hits are crowd-pleasers, and it’s okay to keep using what works.  At the same time, you don’t want to be that classic rock station with the tired playlist. Keep it fresh and think beyond what’s always been done.

Great performers read the audience and adjust plans for the biggest impact. Likewise, analytics are an awesome tool. Use them to see what campaign elements work and are worth replicating. Eliminate what didn’t work and move on. A mullet can be fixed with a few snips.

And go ahead and rehash an idea from past experience, inspiration boards or such. Just be sure to tailor it to your audience and your purpose, and make it yours.

Photograph (Def Leppard)

We live in a visual age. Sadly for us writers, images are the lead singer of modern marketing. They grab attention, draw people in and make audiences want to see more or scroll on by. Visually-based social media platforms show no signs of ebbing.

Make sure your images, graphics and videos are top-quality, communicate what you want and support your brand. Remember, too, that you may have only a fraction of a second to convey your message. Make the image easy to decipher quickly.

And be very selective using stock images. That grinning fellow from your mortgage post looks great, but there he is on a blog about communicable diseases. Bad Medicine, indeed.

I Remember You (Skid Row)

Lots of people aren’t currently looking to switch financial institutions or sign up with an additional one, but they may at some point. Who will make their short list?

To be top of mind for potential members, we need to earn space in their memory.  And what we pour into that space ought to be relevant to their needs.  Define the audiences you want to reach, and for each one, formulate a marketing strategy aligned with your organization’s business strategy.

Depending on the audience, marketing campaigns may need to look beyond rates or short-term reward incentives to make a lasting impression; a prospective member can find competitive offers in a few keyboard strokes.

The CUNA messaging guide is a great resource for creating an awareness campaign’s content.

One bonus tip: rock bands need to work together to be successful onstage. The same is true for marketing departments. Utilize the various perspectives and skills of your department to produce the best result. And when you need to get outside input, either from other departments or outside your organization, have at it.

Now that you’re energized by these tips, go forth and use them to produce marketing campaigns that rock. Just leave the painted-on pants at home. Please.

Cynthia Kolko

Cynthia Kolko

Cynthia Kolko manages community involvement and public relations activities for The Summit Federal Credit Union, which serves members across Western and Central New York. She is also The Summit's copywriter, ... Web: Details

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