In today’s volatile economic and sociopolitical times, one thing most credit union marketing professionals can agree on is, what worked to attract and retain members yesterday probably won’t work today. Long gone are the days of monthly statement inserts and lobby posters as drivers of growth, both in terms of overall member numbers and bottom line dollars and cents.
We’ve identified the following three marketing tasks your credit union implement to help accomplish this. While far from exhaustive, it is a good list from which to start and may also serve the added purpose of lighting the fires of new conversations which, in turn, spark new ideas and innovations.
Use More Video
Online video (and especially YouTube) are vitally important players in the way social media is reshaping the way American consumers investigate purchasing choices. Video has become what used to be “window shopping” of 25-30 years ago. YouTube viewers spend enormous amounts of time watching online videos, and it’s not just dancing cats and cute babies. It’s new car ads, movie trailers and yes, even credit union spots. Video also offers a tremendous emotional appeal. As noted in a recent article by Tim Avila, VP of product marketing at online video advertising provider Brightroll, “When was the last time anyone got emotional over a banner ad? Never. But video offers the full sight and sound experience. You can tell a great story with video and that’s why we’re seeing such extraordinary growth … the penetration of the medium into the marketplace is substantially deeper than it has ever been. ”
For great tips on how to use video to the marketing advantage of your credit union, check out this recent e-zine post.
Conduct a marketing audit
Before a naval vessel puts back out to sea, the crew performs a bow-to-stern inspection of all its working components. In fact, the United States Navy has an entire team devoted to inspecting and assessing the seaworthiness of vessels. Similarly, in order to make better strides into the future, it’s crucial to know the point from which you’re starting. That’s why conducting a marketing audit can be such a great step towards improving your overall future marketing efforts.
A marketing audit can go a long way towards improving your credit union. Credit unions run audits all the time, from compliance and lending to teller drawer and branch audits. But when is the last time your credit union conducted a marketing audit? You might be surprised at what you find.
Sarah Taylor, SVP with ASI Federal Credit Union in New Orleans, Louisiana said of a recent marketing audit conducted at their credit union “All of the targeted recommendations were presented to our senior staff and it was evident that much thought, time, and research had gone into the list of recommendations. We are very optimistic that we will see positive income generated as a result of some of these key recommendations.”
Marketing audits do not concern themselves with the compliance side of marketing but rather with a deeper dive into overall strategies and tactics. Aspects of a credit union marketing audit might include competitor mystery shops, branch mystery shops, marketing plan and calendar reviews, marketing material analysis, strategic and tactical marketing recommendations.
While it’s not always easy to look at “the way we’ve always done things before” and make decisions to change them, a marketing audit often points a clear direction towards greater improvements and a more consistent brand for your entire credit union.
For more information on how a marketing audit can help improve your credit union, visit this informative blog.
Update your branches
Depending on the overall age of your credit union, and the subsequent ages of your branch locations, you may present a very different retail look and feel to members and potential members as they come to different locations. While there’s not much you can do about the physical architecture of most locations, there is plenty you can do to ensure that all your branch facilities present a common and unified marketing face to all members. Are the color schemes the same? What about the walls, their textures and the types of marketing materials you hang on them? When running special promotions, do all branches feature the same materials, displayed in the same way? Are your brochure racks continually stocked and maintained, and do the materials in them look the same?
As far as actual decorations go, do your branch locations match the theme of your credit union? If you are a high-tech credit union, do your branches match that? If you are more of a rural or Western theme, does your appearance mirror that? Most importantly, do your branches match and provide a comfortable retail environment for your membership base?
Shag carpeting and wood panels are easy to tear out and replace. And while you don’t necessarily have to blow a huge budget to do it, updating the look and feel of your branches can have a fantastic impact on the overall member experience.
Even though we’re only a few months into it, 2012 is already setting itself up as a newsworthy and volatile year, in many ways. In November, the entire political landscape could change, at the federal, state and local levels. Technology will no doubt continue to astound us with innovations and improvements we can scarcely imagine. And the financial landscape could alter, for better or worse, at the drop of a hat. As credit unions continue to deal with these challenges, marketing professionals will continue to come up with new ways to entice and retain new members and ensure future stability and growth.
Mark Arnold, CCUE, is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner. He is also president of On the Mark Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in branding and strategic planning. Some of the services Mark provides include strategic planning, brand planning, leadership/management training, marketing planning and staff training. His web address is www.markarnold.com and his blog is blog.markarnold.com. You can also contact him at 214-538-4147 or email@example.com