The great credit union marketing scam

There is a word that describes credit union leaders who have succumbed to the popular and very alluring notion that ‘the more people we can reach with our credit union marketing, the more we can grow.’

That word is “scammed.” This is especially true for credit unions with less than $500 million in assets, which means the majority of credit unions.

Let’s first identify your ideal member. If your definition of ideal member is anyone who needs a loan, you’re already losing the war. In the marketing world this is called ‘spray and pray.’ Throw that spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. Let’s reach as many people as we can in hopes that maybe some of them will respond. Lots of reach, little frequency. Lots of hope, little returns.

Successful credit union marketing is not about how many people your credit union can reach. It is a function of reaching enough of the right people with a compelling message that includes a unique value proposition and a clear call to action.

According to CUNA, the average credit union spends around 0.5% to 0.75% of its total assets on advertising annually. If you ‘spray and pray,’ your budget should be significantly larger. If you focus in on reaching your ideal member you can allocate significantly less. One of our most successful credit unions is $68 million in assets and allocates just $1,000 to paid marketing, all in digital and social. There are two factors to their success and efficiency:

  1. The credit union knows exactly who its ideal member is. Marketing dollars are spent reaching them specifically with a message that includes the credit union’s unique value proposition that makes those people say, “Whoa! These people really understand my problem. I need them.”
  2. The team also serves this member so well that their members are their best marketing. 8 of 10 consumers rely on personal recommendations from friends and family over paid advertising. Spend more dollars on training and serving your member well, and they’ll be your best marketing.

You cannot expect to compete and win when you scatter your marketing budget into the wind, spraying and praying, hoping that something sticks. If you have not clearly defined your ideal member and developed a unique value proposition, right now is the time. Before you start working on next year’s marketing plan, hit pause and focus. That’s the very first part of any engagement with new credit union clients for our team at Your Marketing Co. Gaining perspective, asking, ‘what is the problem we’re trying to solve,’ and only then can we make recommendations we know will help our credit unions.

Contact the author: Your Marketing Co

Contact the author: Your Marketing Co

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, ... Web: yourmarketing.co Details