Keep Getting Blocked?

Four ways Credit Union Marketers can slam-dunk their ideas.

by. Lisa Moore, Gira{ph}

As credit union marketers we are sometimes the right-brained people on a team of left-brained realists.  In management meetings, we speak up with wild ideas, ways to push the envelope and explore innovations to solve problems using our creative imaginations.  At times, we are even thought of as the unrealistic ones.

Rather than being seen as the two-headed idea monster, how can marketers earn respect for their ideas?  To my fellow kindred spirits out there in CU marketing land, here are four ways to get your ideas heard.

1)     Practice

If you have a great idea, practice first!  Before making a huge investment into a new promotion or product, test it on others.  Call some of your most loyal fans, share the idea with other departments, hold focus groups or ask out-spoken family and friends in your target market to get their opinions. This feedback and sometimes bruising honesty will help you tweak your idea before taking it to the management team.  Plus, by experimenting on others, it will help arm you with some good data and insight for when you present your idea.  It can be a powerful statement to say, “9 out of 10 people would benefit from this new product.”  Besides, let’s face it; we know how much bean counters love data.

2)     Pass it. 

One of the best ways to get your idea heard by a group is to pass it by someone else.  Find someone on the management team that typically thinks differently than you and is somewhat of an influencer in the group.  This can be anyone from the CFO to the VP of Collections.  Involve him or her early on with your idea.  This will help them take some ownership in the idea themselves.  Will they poke holes in your strategies and test your theory?  Sure, but it will only make your idea better by getting a different point of view.

3)   It’s about the season, not just the game.

Don’t just think in terms of budget, projected ROI or departmental goals; make a case on how your idea supports the overall strategic plan of the credit union. How will it impact everyone from the front line to the bottom line?  Have others help present the idea to show collaboration and different points of view.

4) Study other teams’ playbooks

Often our ideas have been tested, executed, failed or succeeded long before they were sparks in our brain.  Do some research inside and outside the industry that supports your idea. Even if the case study isn’t exactly like your idea – highlight how doing something remotely similar made an impact.  If the idea failed previously, make an argument as to why you think it failed, and what you are going to do differently to make it successful this time around.  Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or blast out an email to someone that has done something similar.  You can’t get any better advice than from someone who has been in your shoes.

Don’t forget that sometimes even the best ideas need to be heard more than once.  Persistence pays off.  Even Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

So, next time you have the ball in your court, make it a slam-dunk.

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Lisa formerly served as Marketing Manager for Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union before becoming a partner at gira{ph}. At her previous post with Pioneer, she helped spearhead an ... Web: Details