The NFL and the Credit Union Chief Marketing Officer?

by Lyle Heller, CU-VO

Indecision may be the key to flexibility… and quite possibly the door to disaster.  There may have been a time when long, thoughtful analysis developing an optimum solution was best.  We are finding that time is frequently not available.  Just look at the recent week for NFL teams and the flurry of deals worked out in the few days since the collective bargaining agreement was reached.  Inability to make timely decisions will probably spell disaster for some NFL teams.

Within a few days teams and players had a bewildering array of opportunities and constraints to evaluate and accept.  The credit union marketing officer (CMO) has become similar to an NFL general manager.  The CMO has an additional challenge, that of new approaches and technologies.

The NFL general manager of 30 years ago and today have the same mix of alternatives to choose from; quarterbacks, wide receivers, etc.  The CMO of 30 years ago never heard of the Internet, Twitter, and more.  As a result, the CMO developing a marketing strategy needs to identify the best “players” AND inclusion of new approaches.

The NFL general manager has an array of tools and data allowing timely analysis of the situation and ability to make a decision.  How much is left in the free agent budget?  Who is available and do they fill our needs?  How much can be offered to get a particular player?  The CMO faces a similar situation as the year progresses because competitors, such as banks, are going to alter their plans during the year.  Hopefully, the CMO has similar tools for analysis.

Maintaining the best mix of marketing media was at one time a periodic event.  Order directory listings and that problem was resolved for a year.  Choose some mix of television advertising from a choice of 3 stations, and obtain a contract for newspaper advertising, and that problem was handled for a while.

Printed directories have virtually disappeared.  Three network channels are now 50 or more.  Newspaper circulation has been declining about 10% per year.  Newspaper advertising revenues are declining at double digit rates.  Credit union return on investment for newspaper advertising is declining even more quickly as subscribers disappear.

The credit union website has taken on greater prominence in the marketing strategy.  In fact with the explosion of smart phones and mobile media, the Internet has moved to a next higher level.  (Just take a look at the people in a restaurant.  Chances are extremely good you will see tablets and smart phones in use.  And notice what is not seen, such as newspapers.).  With the Internet, credit union marketing is now quite personal and specific.  With mobile media, credit unions are almost carrying on a conversation with a growing number of members and potential members.   Twitter with your picture and video overlays add the personal connection that remains a powerful closer in any sales effort.

As the CMO develops the marketing strategy and budget, analyze results and costs of current approaches.  What percentage of credit union members visit the website?  Are new members the result of print advertising or other?  What do visitors look at?  Are visitors staying on the page long enough to make an informed decision?  Are visitors responding?

In developing the new strategy and budget:

  • Recognize some approaches require time to implement.  (Designing and deploying billboards has a significant lead time.  Website content changes may have short lead time.  Video overlays have an instant install time since website changes are not required.)
  • Determine cost and return on credit union investment for each different media.
  • Maintain ability to adjust to changing needs and still support the credit union’s overall brand.
  • Identify strategic, long lead time requirements and allocate that budget.
  • Determine tactical needs and provide the budget and tools that allow your credit union to respond to the changing situations that will occur.

Join us in the following session for more.  How does your credit union allocate its marketing budget?  Share your thoughts.

This series is authored by Lyle Heller of CU-VO.  Mr. Heller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and a Masters of Business Administration in Production and Operations from Marquette University.  Mr. Heller served as Executive Vice President of two CUNA organizations.  He has lectured in at the university level in Quantitative Decision Analysis, Simulation, Systems Analysis, and Marketing for more than ten years.  Additionally, he was a top-ranked winner of the 2005 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan contest.  CU-VO is a strategic partner of CUNA Strategic Services to provide video overlays to credit unions.  Learn more at and follow CUVOTweet.

Lyle Heller

Lyle Heller

Lyle Heller is the Vice President at CU-VO. Mr. Heller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and a Masters of Business Administration ... Web: Details