Getting creative and driving results with integrated campaigns

A question I get asked a lot is ‘how can we make our next campaign different and more interesting?” This comes up with CEOs looking for growth just as often as with marketers wanting to shake up the status quo. Because when our tried-and-true campaigns start missing their marks, it is time to rethink how we’re tackling the marketing calendar.

At the heart of it, what credit unions are really asking about is finding creative ways to drive more results. Results being a mix of new accounts, engagement, and retention. But not everyone has unlimited resources to devote to marketing. So there’s always the constraint of keeping the man-hours and budget down.

My number one response to this kind of question is designing an integrated campaign that leverages the credit union’s strengths to meaningfully interact with their intended audience.

An integrated campaign is simply a marketing campaign that uses a consistent message across multiple channels, including advertising, sales promotions, direct marketing, social media, and event marketing. It’s intended to educate and engage an audience in a variety of ways and in a number of places, nudging them along their sales journey.

This style of campaign has been around for a while, but it evolves over time as new channels and platforms pop up – making it continually relevant. It also give us just enough of a framework to get us started when we’re trying to get creative about campaign design and execution.

Making Your Impact

With an integrated campaign, we need to identify a strong message that can be used across multiple channels. The overarching theme and offer needs to be consistent, but we have flexibility to shape each piece of marketing content to the individual channel. That flexibility makes integrated campaigns incredibly fun.

To help narrow down ideas, stay focused, and drive results, try using these 4 tips:

  1. Know Your Audience

Square one is always going to be the audience. When we understand our audience, we understand what they’re looking for and how we can connect the dots so they know how we can fulfill their needs. A good list of questions to answer includes:

  • Where can you reach them? Do they prefer doing their business in person, on the phone, or online? Are they active in the community? Where are all the spots that you can find them in their daily life? Use the answers to these question to help you select which channels to use.
  • What’s important to them right now? The shorter the duration of your campaign, the more specific you can get. If there is a special occasion or current event that’s taking over the attention of your audience – holidays, elections, football season – you can incorporate that in your campaign. Make it a part of the promotion or offer solutions during tough times.
  1. Leverage Your Strengths

You can do yourself a lot of favors by regularly assessing your credit union’s strengths and leveraging them whenever possible. Maybe you have an incredibly knowledgeable team that has years of experience and great stories to share. Maybe you have beautiful branches that can easily host events. Or, maybe you have lots of business partners and can collaborate to promote each other’s offering.

Whatever your strengths are, finds ways to use them in your campaign. When you utilize content that you already have, expertise that exists, photography skills available, or connections that are enthusiastic about working with you, your job becomes much easier.

  1. Maintain Consistency

It’s easy to let constancy slip when we’re working on a campaign with extra moving parts. Remember, the overarching theme and offer needs to stay consistent. Then, you can shape each particular piece to work best with the channel you’re using.

Keep the language, images, colors and fonts complimentary and it’ll be easier for your audience to recognize the campaign when they see it in different places. If you view an online ad, a social media post, a video in the branch, and a workshop worksheet next to each other, you should be able to tell that they are part of the same campaign.

  1. Create a High-Quality Experience

While you’re creating the offer and the different pieces of your campaign, don’t forget to consider what the experience looks like from start to finish. It can be incredibly helpful to have a central place with all of the campaign details – usually a landing page that is easy to list on your printed materials and point to in online links.

Besides a general place for additional details, what do you want your audience to do with your promotion? What can you do to make it easy for them to complete that action and interact with the credit union? Take into account how your audience likes to do business and try to make that an option when you’re designing your calls-to-action.

Wrapping it up with an Example

Your campaign is going to be unique to your credit union, but let’s use an example to illustrate how you could go about an integrated campaign using these tips.

Let’s say that our credit union primarily works with families in one particular community. This audience is getting ready for spring break and they are looking forward to family-oriented, out-of-town trips in the next 1-2 months. Day-to-day, they can be found checking out news online, flipping through their social media feeds, and helping their kids manage their extra curricular activities.

The credit union wants to increase credit card activity and gain new credit card accounts. There is a rewards program, the credit union has a good social media following, and the main branch is located on a main street that has lots of retail shopping and an active chamber of commerce that runs events like an upcoming sidewalk sale.

Now we can start looking for the overlap in the credit union’s strengths and what the audience needs to create a fun campaign.

To give members and non-members extra incentives to open or use the credit card, we can offer some additional rewards and contests that make spring break travel more enjoyable. To make sure we reach the audience, we can use social media, online search, the physical branch, and the community event.

Working within any brand guidelines, the credit union can use travel images and language about getting away for some family-bonding time. Main points can include:

  • Extra reward points for gas and travel purchases.
  • Tying in the local opportunity and sidewalk sale, run a contest involving making local purchases for entries. The giveaway could include things for the vacation like a tablet, headphones, and small items from local shops.
  • Added-value content placed online and on social media has travel tips: keeping your accounts safe, considerations for international travel, and tips for helping kids manage their money during vacations.
  • Posters, banners and window clings in the branch can help drive awareness around the time
    of the sidewalk sale. Social media, email blasts, and online ads can drive activity to a central landing page with more details and an application. Collaboration with local shops and the chamber could lead to cross-promotional efforts in the stores or through their online channels.

As you can see, campaigns have many more possibilities when you choose an integrated approach and leverage the resources available. Consider an integrated campaign the next time you want to try something new and let your creativity run wild. You’ll start discovering new ways to reach members and even better results in your marketing efforts.

Jennifer Laud

Jennifer Laud

Jennifer is a credit union marketing consultant and the owner of Jennifer Laud Consulting. She has a background in strategy and a passion for positioning credit unions to find their ... Web: Details