Focused Marketing

What makes your Credit Union unique?

by Mark Rowh

Marketing strategies that fit each credit union’s unique qualities hold the most promise, according to Olivier Raoust, president of CUES Supplier member Raoust+Partners, a consulting firm headquartered in Hampton, Va.

“If everyone out there is offering the very same rates and terms, the credit union will have to offer up something deeper and more fundamental to prospective buyers,” he says. Just what that is will vary from one provider to another, he adds, noting that it should be rooted in the history and heritage of the credit union, in its team members, existing members, and the mission and philosophy that they espouse.

He points to the example of his firm’s work with $1 billion/59,000-member Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in Lowell, Mass., when it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Measures included developing an anniversary logo and launching a campaign with TV and radio spots, videos and print ads that promoted the credit union as a dedicated community resource.

Along with historical factors, marketing goals should always dovetail with the board’s business objectives, Raoust adds.

“Credit unions should never try to be all things to all people,” he says. Instead, he argues, it’s important to realize the singular strengths a given credit union brings to the table. The marketing team can then define its highest propensity audiences and work backwards from these audiences to the strategies that will yield the strongest results for these specific audiences.

“Too often, credit unions make the mistake of spreading precious marketing dollars way too thinly,” he says. “And media reps don’t make our jobs any easier with the constant calls and emails hawking their latest, greatest promotion when you commit to a buy.”

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