We have clean toilets!

by. Amy Etheridge

As a credit union marketer I’m often faced with answering the million dollar question: How do we get people to better understand and want credit union membership. When we discuss this topic in a room of credit union marketers, you often find answers like low rates, and great member service as things that set us apart. I don’t mean to laugh at those responses but if that’s all we got then we should all pack it up and go home. These conversations have left me feeling that credit unions are having a bit of an identity crisis. I’ve spent a great deal of time lately evaluating various types of messaging and advertisement and I’ve determined something. We are wasting tons of money promoting fluff. As a result of this investigative mission, I’m challenging myself to make some changes to my own marketing ideas this New Year.

Tangible Benefits

Marketers like to make things look and sound pretty. But no matter how pretty our pieces are, useless information is still, useless. Beautiful graphics and key words are great but they should be focusing on specific tangible benefits. Particularly, how we can help our members save and earn more money. Rather than simply highlighting low auto rates as big as possible, in attractive fonts and color palettes, show members how that low auto rate will help lower their monthly payments.

Intangible Benefits

Talking about intangible benefits should be limited to things that make a difference. Touting great service and knowledgeable staff is about as relevant as putting “We Have Clean Toilets!” on a billboard. People expect great service. It’s not a differentiator. Your intangible benefits may be different than mine so here are a few examples to get you thinking on the right track: community involvement, charitable causes, and financial literacy.

Set Yourself Apart… The Right Way

I’m not trying to start a controversy because I know how much we love using words like join, membership, and share draft, but in all honesty, credit union lingo just makes me shudder. Additionally, I think it’s high time we stop flipping out when someone mistakenly references us as a bank. What do you expect people to say? “When I leave work, I’m going to go take care of my credit unioning.” I digress…if you‘re not familiar with credit unions, the lingo is confusing.  Sometimes we try so hard to show that we are “different from banks” that we end up creating an intimidating exclusivity. Instead, highlight the awesomeness of member-ownership in ways that make sense to anyone inside or outside of credit union world. Dare I say, even go as far as to tell people that they can bank with us.

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