Strategize to thrive: Pro marketing tips for credit unions

As it draws towards the end of another year, it’s natural to feel reflective over the last 12 months and to think about what you have achieved. What did you set out to do at the beginning of the year? Did you achieve your goals and ambitions? Did you get to where you wanted to be at the end of the year? Of course, for marketers and credit union leaders alike, you have personal goals and a sense of achievement to think about, and then you have your company’s overall targets.

For most credit unions, thinking about budgets and the coming year is a constant strain that might take you right up until the holidays. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Now is the time to pause for a moment, take stock of what your marketing strategy and budgets looked like last year, and think about what it could look like next year.

Times are not what they used to be and no matter your asset size and budget for 2022 – here’s the 411 on wrapping up your end-of-year marketing initiatives.


Think about what you have utilized wisely this year and reflect on what didn’t work. Do some R&D about trending themes in the landscape – ask what the data shows, what are you missing out on? Use these reflections to incorporate successes into your budget and plans for the year ahead, and instead of simply scrapping the initiatives that didn’t work – ask yourself why.


Reach out to every single partner and vendor you have worked with throughout the year and inquire about any special programs and incentives your partners might have to offer. Capitalize on the fact that everyone has a quota to meet, and every company wants the last bit of growth spurt that places its year-end higher than the previous year.

Strategize to energize

In this industry, we know that this is the busiest and most stressful time of the year. But we see it too often – missed opportunities to spend the remainder of the budget, and marketing dollars being left unspent. Leaving cash on the table puts your budget at risk for next year, so marketers need to be doing due diligence to make sure you’re on track to crush it in the coming months and start strategizing for the fast-approaching 2022.

Pro thought – if you have budget leftover, no matter the GL source, ask if you can roll it over. If it’s a ‘hard no’ then don’t lose those vital funds, you can always find another way to source them. Many marketing firms offer prepayment plans where you can get added incentives and bonuses to put towards the following year.

Focus on thriving

The development of expert strategic plays will add the secret sauce you need to your marketing practices in the post-pandemic era. This is necessary to not only survive but to thrive in the credit union industry. In 2022, its survival of the fittest and with uncertainty in the financial sector still on the horizon (this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon), you bet you’re going to need a killer marketing strategy to see you through to the end of next year. Stay ahead of the curve and focus your strategic efforts on how you can thrive.

Stand out from the crowd

Taking the time for strategic planning could be the major differentiator between being middle-of-the-road mediocre, and smashing it out of the park for your members as an innovative institution. According to Accenture, just 29% of consumers trusted their banking provider to look after their long-term financial wellbeing in 2020, compared to 43% two years before that. With this in mind, look at how you can build trust and stand out amongst your sea of competitors, who are all boasting similar products, rates, and services. Don’t be afraid to be different. It’s the only way you can truly make a lasting impression on your members.

People before profit

At EmpowerFi™, we recognized the challenges our clients, financial institutions, and everyone else was facing over the last year and we realized that there was power and understanding in simply, being human. We decided to lower our creative fees and break down the barrier of entry to affordable marketing support, and because we specialize in working within the credit union space, we were able to negotiate lower fees for volume, frequency, and commitment. This is not always the case, but being adaptable and flexible to the needs of your members can help in keeping your relationships long-term. Plus, it was hugely beneficial for us to have the opportunity to pay it forward to our credit union community.

Give yourself a break

While now is the time to reflect, it’s also time to recharge. It’s important to remember not to be too hard on yourself or or any strategic plays that you weren’t able to implement. Re-evaluate said missed opportunities for success and polish them up for infusion in 2022! If something’s been missed or wasn’t quite on point, then you’ll be forgiven for managing to get through the year in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, there, I said it. The theory is that a pandemic hits civilization every 100 years and well, it’s just our luck that we’ve experienced it in our lifetime. Both our work and our home lives have been impacted dramatically. Believe me, when I tell you – you deserve a break!

What next?

It’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed and if you’ve left things until the last minute then, we get it. If you need help with your strategy and planning your marketing budget for next year, then there are plenty of experts on hand to help you navigate through and come up with a solution. It’s ok to ask for help and often, collaborating with the right partner can make all the difference towards guaranteeing the success of your future marketing initiatives.

Discuss your strategic planning and get advice – schedule a 15-minute meeting with us to see how we can help.

Hilary Reed

Hilary Reed

Hilary Reed, founder of EmpowerFi, is an innovative thought-leader who has been involved in various aspects of strategic sales and marketing for 15 years. Her career began in 2000 when ... Web: Details