Marketing: The forgotten arm of growth – Part 2

Last month, I wrote about how credit unions have an awesome natural lead channel given their deep roots and high visibility in the communities they serve, but how most don’t leverage that competitive advantage in their marketing to drive growth.

Whether it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what marketing can do or a lack of committed resources, many credit unions simply aren’t taking advantage of marketing like they should.

So, let’s answer these questions:

Is your marketing department set up for success? 

People, vision, and technology are the 3 main areas that I often hear as to why a CU’s marketing function is not producing more growth. 

Understaffed – Where you have 1, or maybe 2 people doing marketing at a CU that should see the attention of a 6–7-person team. 

Vision – A common belief among marketing and staff that while it’s important to keep the community and member happy, it’s also important to grow the relationship of those members within your CU. Finding the balance between serving a member and growing the relationship doesn’t have to be a salesy interaction, instead it could literally create loyalty that could last forever. 

Technology – If technology isn’t a priority, it’s tough to do marketing in an efficient way. Do you have a marketing platform to track, measure, execute, and plan? What does the tech stack look like today, or is there one? With the shift to more digital interactions, this is pivotal for CUs to understand as technology can empower the engine of marketing to grow even faster. 

Technology empowers marketing to lift communication in the preference of the member. My CU won me over by text and email. Not one call, not one branch visit. Marketing is the fuel to where all growth can be accelerated: Lending, commercial, credit cards, etc. Marketing CAN and SHOULD fuel those. 

Does the rest of the organization understand marketing’s value?

If marketing isn’t being measured by how it impacts growth, that often will be translated by leaders with a question of where is the value? This can also create vacuums where CUs are battling to capture budget from other projects to allocate to their SEO efforts, a new credit card offer campaign, a sporting event sponsorship, etc. If your leader doesn’t understand marketing’s value, you will always be the last area to get budget and the first one to cut.

Does the rest of the institution even understand what marketing does? 

This is a big one. How many folks on your lending team have full visibility into the campaigns you are running? How many of your tellers know what campaigns a member is in when they interact? How many folks in your contact center know the last marketing message your member received, and can they speak to it? Aligning all functions of a CU to not just have visibility but empowerment to act on a campaign, offer, or marketing initiative means every employee is a marketing channel when they interact with your members.

Can marketing measure what they do and is what they do actionable?

Data is the key to so much nowadays. Not measuring against a true outcome is just dollars wasted. Technology can also help set this up nicely, but without humans behind the wheel it fails. 

Are you measuring traffic deltas on your website? Are you measuring CTRs with your ads? Are you measuring which channels produce the most leads? If not, you should. Simple measurement can create the value and help the rest of the institution understand why it’s important. But it also needs to go deeper than just a lead that is on a sticky note that gets forgotten. It must be turning that interaction with a member into onboarding them onto a product. It is turning those interactions and assigning them to the right people, in the right place, and at the right time. It’s turning the outcome of marketing into service touchpoints with the rest of the staff. 

Whatever you measure means nothing if it can’t create action. So, you got a 35% email open, now what? What’s next for that member in that 35% pool?

No matter how you slice it, marketing should be leveraged significantly more across the entire credit union. So… what’s your plan to make that happen?

Please select a valid form

James Gilbert

James Gilbert

James currently leads the Marketing Team at CRMNEXT, a CRM solutions for financial services. He recently lead a global marketing team at CloudCherry, that was acquired by Cisco with a ... Web: Details