4 Ways to Pave Your Own Marketing Path

Hey credit union marketers, have you met Mr. Wolfdog?  As silly as he is he sadly illustrates a challenge that I continue to see credit union marketers face.

by. Meghann Dawson, Instructional Design Manager, Credit Union National Association

Hey credit union marketers, have you met Mr. Wolfdog?  As silly as he is he sadly illustrates a challenge that I continue to see credit union marketers face.  The struggle to have a voice at the executive table due to a misconception that marketing is so easy anyone in the credit union can do it. However, credit union marketing professionals know there is far more strategy and knowledge involved.  It’s certainly not “Stamp. Stamp. Stamp. I just made a million dollars.”

Over the last 10 years as I’ve developed training for credit union marketers and worked with some of best in the field, I’ve discovered that these four pursuits continue to lead ambitious marketers toward paving a path to marketing excellence, increased member outreach and a seat at the executive table.

1. Build Credibility

Marketing is a competitive field by nature. How do you get noticed and transform yourself from an order-taker to a thought leader? Skip the flashy gimmicks – real credibility is based in actionable strategic insights backed by concrete knowledge and applicable skillsets. Basically, buckle down, take the classes, read the books and stay up to date with the latest trends, as well as classic approaches. I know, I’m not exactly revealing trade secrets, but there are no easy shortcuts to genuine comprehensive marketing know-how.

The second half of credibility, once you’re confident in yourself as a well-rounded marketer, is to make others aware of that confidence.

Recommended resources to assist:

2. Learn from Past Mistakes

The path to the table is never a straight line. Everyone gets it wrong from time to time, and you will, too. The difference lies in your reaction after the fact. Treat every mistake as a lesson instead of a failure and not only will you be able to avoid making the same mistake twice, but you’ll also find yourself applying that lesson to new situations. Your mistakes will begin to act as your strengths.

The catch? Sometimes the mistakes you’re making won’t be obvious. Barry Callen, expert marketing communications strategist and solutions provider, has made it his mission to end common ineffective marketing practices. He openly condemns tracking results, seeking approval as a marketer, using the term “member” and even thinking “like a marketer.” Controversial as these may sound, the point is that a marketer shouldn’t take for granted the utility of even the most intuitive-seeming marketing practices.

Recommended resources to assist:

3. Know your Financials

Want that seat at the table? Learn the details of your credit union’s financials. This one is a “must do.” You represent an organization that’s all about numbers and that means those numbers need to be incorporated in your strategies and campaigns.

Take on the challenge to learn how to articulate the financial implications of a promotion’s net income, talk balance sheets with the CEO and actively participate in conversations regarding the direction your organization is headed and then see if your executives don’t want you sitting across from them.

Recommended resources to assist:

4. “Connect the Dots”

Today’s credit unions should be looking to “connect the dots” within their organizations. It sounds counterintuitive when we’re putting so much emphasis on standing out in the crowd, but the idea here is that if you stay connected to your credit union’s strengths and needs, you enable yourself to make decisions that benefit the organization as a whole. That’s the path-paving that people notice.

Recommended resources to assist:

  • CUNA Marketing Management School – Through a curriculum including live sessions, expert speakers and insights from the marketing industry elite, this program enables attendees to apply what they learn immediately, increasing their credit union’s potential as well as their value to that credit union.

The development of certifications such as the Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive (CUCME) designation has made huge strides toward helping credit union marketing professionals pave their own paths away from being seen as just the creative mind, toward that of a leader with a seat at the executive table.

How will you take advantage of this shift and stand out in the crowd?

Meghann Dawson

Meghann Dawson

Meghann Dawson is an instructional design manager for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). She is responsible for designing, developing, and implementing educational programs for CUNA’s institutes and schools, ... Web: www.CUNA.org Details