Onsite: CUES Symposium 2015

I live in a world that is constantly forcing new technology on me from every direction, and 95% of the time I love it. So imagine my surprise to walk into the conference room for the opening session of CUES Symposium and see on stage an orange school desk. The theme this week? It’s time for the credit union CEO’s, board members, executive team, marketing department, all of us, to go back to school.

Our class was lead by Jay Baer today, and had a really simple bottom line: what is your credit union doing to be useful? When you stop and think about it, it sounds easy because you are all doing amazing things, but I want you to really think about it? How you are you being useful without the expectation of something in return; more difficult now right? The point is that marketing is changing and it’s no longer make a pretty billboard that people will drive past and think, oh yeah I’ll stop in and see what promotions they have. In fact more people are being referred by friends or family and/or reading reviews than ever! It applies to our lives as well, if I want a hotel to stay at I don’t see what billboard I pass, I go to TripAdvisor and see the ratings and in a matter of minutes I can make a decision and book it.

Gone are the days that members will come in and talk to you face to face about an issue or question they have, instead they post to social media. Customer service and marketing and now tightly intertwined, how and when you respond is just as important as any fancy, new campaign that you might create. This allows credit unions such and opportunity though! For example, Jay used an awesome one, of a business man who was traveling and asked for restaurant recommendations near X,Y,Z hotel in Dallas on twitter, and you know who the first response was from? Hilton Hotels (and he wasn’t staying at the Hilton), they never mentioned staying with them in the future, or made any reference to Hilton at all, just gave 2 recommendations that were walking distance from where he was staying. My guess is that in the future, this guy will consider staying at Hilton. They helped him when they didn’t have to, and with no strings attached.

So now what? Marketing is changing and we have to stay in the game. The key to lifetime-membership is to focus marketing efforts on the idea that eventually people will become members. Now, as a millennial myself, I understand the conundrum. No one understands instant gratification more than my generation. We want new members and we want them now. But guess what, that doesn’t make us stand out or differentiate ourselves from banks in any way, and frankly it doesn’t support the credit union values. Let’s show the community that first and foremost we are here to help them. To be a source they can trust and count on when needed, and membership will follow. Amp up content marketing efforts, establish your credit union as the go-to source for reliable information. I hope you are sensing a theme here – it’s trust. It’s why the first thing we think to do when we need advice is to ask our friends and family. We trust them, they love us and they have our best interest at heart. I challenge you to find someone who feels the same about their bank. Credit unions are in the perfect position to win the race, if we can just embrace the term “eventually”.

During the session today, I kept continually picturing scenes from the Tortoise and The Hare, and the tortoise didn’t force the race. He didn’t rush to make a decision that was only benefit him short term. He was looking at the big picture. I encourage to take some time with your team to sit in a desk and think outside the box, and to give “eventually marketing” a chance, much like the tortoise I think you’ll be happy with the results.

Amanda Reed

Amanda Reed

Amanda Reed is the Associate Publisher at CUInsight.com. As an associate publisher, Amanda works with professionals throughout the credit union industry to find new and innovative ways to spread ... Web: www.CUInsight.com Details

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