Let your members carry your message

Leading up to the CUNA Marketing and Business Development event in Las Vegas, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about marketing.

Marketing is hard. The heady days of throwing some ads on a billboard or the local radio station and seeing an uptick in sales, or new members pouring through the door at your credit union, are gone. There are now so many marketing channels that most marketers spend much of their day schizophrenically moving between tools and campaigns, uncertain as to what is actually going to work.

Of course, with the ongoing digitization of our marketing tools has come a welcome set of analytics and measurement tools. This has enabled the modern marketer to measure, down to the millisecond or mouse movement, when, how and in what manner, customers are interacting with their online marketing campaigns. The amount of data produced from these tools is astounding, and has turned many university marketing programs into part marketing, part data science degrees. In the technology world, the concept of a “Growth Hacker” has emerged in recent years – pointing to a role (or team) of marketing-oriented, engineering-enabled individuals who can drive marketing messages through multiple channels simultaneously, split testing each along the way to either scale or kill each component of a campaign. I’m not THAT old, and it’s amazing to me to see the difference in what is now required for a junior marketer to be successful relative to the seemingly straightforward fundamentals of the 4P’s that were hammered into me and my contemporaries back in my university days.

Yet alongside of all of these great new tools and techniques has come an increasing level of uncertainty for marketers. What will work? What do I want to try? How do I spend my scarce budget dollars to achieve maximum results?

These questions strike at the very heart of the marketing function, because the poor consumer is inundated with non-stop messages. No longer can we as consumers avoid marketing messages. In addition to all of the traditional mediums, we now carry a window into branded content with us everywhere we go – from the boardroom to the bedroom.

As a result, the signal-to-noise ratio of marketing content is at its worst. We are all presented with thousands of branded messages per day, making it more and more difficult to make product or service choices based off of marketing messages alone. The signal is buried by the noise.

Recently, I was reading an article on how marketing will look in 2020, and was struck by one statement:

“Most branded content will come from consumers”

– Chris Brandt, CMO, Taco Bell

This is a very powerful statement, and one that I have witnessed taking shape over the last decade or more.

In 2010, Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, famously informed us that every 2 days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. Think about that for a moment… the explosion of content creation tools for web sites, blogs, social media sites, cameras and video cameras on our phones has turned everyone into a creator of content.

In many of those pieces of content, there are embedded brand messages and images. Individuals pick and choose which products and services they are willing to align themselves with in their communications. As a marketer, you must ask yourself – is your brand among them?

One of the most powerful trends today is the rise of the consumer voice. Through social media, text messaging and more, the consumer voice has never before had the ability to become so widely amplified. It is because of this that we are such strong believers in the capabilities of “consumer to consumer” marketing tools. If a product or service is of high quality, and a brand’s core values line up with those of their customers, there is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the consumer voice. The only way a message now cuts through the noise is by the credibility of the sender. The most powerful of which are trusted friends and family.

The bottom line? Let consumers tell your story. Empower and enable them to share content and your brand with their friends, family and colleagues. But don’t leave this to chance. Don’t hope that it’s happening – make it happen.

We have recently launched a short survey for Credit Union marketers, which includes a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey:


We are also running a free webinar on referral marketing on April 8th. We hope you can make it!


Rob Goehring

Rob Goehring

Rob Goehring is the CEO of RewardStream, a leader in automated referral marketing solutions for credit unions, financial services and telecommunications companies. Rob has 20 years experience leading high growth ... Web: www.rewardstream.com Details