The 30-minute marketing plan

Still trying to find the time to put together a beautifully written, well-researched, comprehensive marketing plan? You’re not alone. Believe it or not, most credit unions we speak to don’t have an in-depth marketing strategy or plan. Unfortunately all too often credit union marketing professionals are bogged down with compliance burden, social media, public relations, event planning, analytics, and all of the day-to-day tactical work that comes with running their departments.

Most credit unions start with a simple marketing calendar and end up using this approach for years, never truly diving deeper, developing marketing strategies for growth. That’s where the 30-minute marketing plan comes in.

Start somewhere. Before writing your 30-minute marketing plan, it’s important to know the difference between a marketing calendar and a marketing plan:

Marketing Calendar: A month-to-month listing of product promotions and events. A marketing calendar is tactical in nature, a “to-do” list of sorts.

Marketing Plan: A written document that outlines your marketing objectives, your current situation, target audience, strategies, and tactics for how you’re going to achieve aforementioned goals. In addition, marketing plans often include a budget breakdown.

The purpose of a 30-minute marketing plan isn’t to serve as your end-all strategic marketing plan every year, but more to provide a preliminary guide and get your wheels turning as a precursor to writing your complete marketing strategy. If you hire a consultant to prepare your strategic marketing plan, providing them with your 30-minute marketing plan may also take some of the research costs out of the equation.


In order to make forward progress, you must first understand where you are now. Using simple tools such as the SWOT or PEST analysis can help you examine both your internal and external environment and give you a 360° view of where your organization stands in the marketplace.


You’ll want to spend the most time on this section, adding a clear picture of the direction your plan will take. It is best to start by reviewing the objectives from your credit union’s strategic plan and aligning your marketing objectives accordingly. By doing this, you’ll ensure that all marketing initiatives ultimately funnel back to the growth of your organization. Once the objectives have been determined, you’ll be able to outline the specific strategies you will take to achieve each objective.


Objective: Increase average number of products per household

Strategy: Implement & launch relationship-pricing structure


Marketing is all about knowing your members and your target audience. Perhaps your credit union already has a target audience established, but if not you can determine this by taking a closer look at your objectives. Do your objectives include increasing deposits and loans? Perhaps your target audience for this plan will lean more toward the baby boomer demographic. Focusing on checking account penetration? Maybe developing relationships with millennials is the direction you want to go. Whatever direction you decide to go, having a target market will help get the best bang for your marketing buck, eliminating the guesswork and optimizing your marketing resources.


A communications strategy can be complex, but for the purpose of the 30-minute marketing plan, you’ll want to identify your top 3 communication messages (based on your previously determined objectives and target audience) and use these messages as guiding principles in the formation of all communications going forward.


  1. ABC Credit Union acts as your personal financial advisor
  2. ABC Credit Union provides financial education to the community.
  3. ABC Credit Union fosters a culture of collaboration between members, community, and staff.

These communication messages can stem from your core values, mission statement, or simply your organizational objectives for the year. Once they have been determined, you will be able to decide which delivery channels to use to distribute your messages.


Developing your 30-minute marketing plan before the annual budget is determined may provide that extra push to help get that budget increase you’ve been waiting for. If your budget for the year has already been set, now is the time to allocate those funds to various objectives and strategies from the previous section. Don’t forget to leave room for the delivery channels you’ve outlined in your communications strategy.

Outlining the above steps should be a quick, 30-minute exercise that can help gain buy-in from senior management, keep your department focused, and can open the door to writing a more comprehensive strategic marketing plan.

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