Why I hate marketing

I’ll admit it, when someone asks what I do, and they’re not in the industry – so it’s more like polite cocktail conversation, I usually just default to “I’m in Marketing.” Truth be told I HATE marketing.

Just now I got my daily Google Geek Alerts, which I have set to all things credit union and CUSOs, I clicked on a link to a cool looking article on Blockchain technology, and as I got through the first sentences, BAM, in my face an ad. And it’s a “countdown” ad so I can’t hit the “Get the hell out of my way” button until THEY said I could.  Who thought that was a good idea? And I’d love to see the stats on how many click on it and actually buy.

I’ve said this so many times I’m sick of myself but why why why are the majority of credit unions STILL using shiny happy stock art people in their marketing? What member or potential member is looking at your young black couple with their kids in the park blowing bubbles and thinking – I need to move my checking account THERE!? Answer: zero.

Have you ever clicked on an article on Facebook (you know the kind: Top 10 Celebrities That You Won’t Recognize Today) and you can’t find the article because there are so many banner ads and pop ups, and flashing crap in your face you feel like you are on the Vegas strip?

Or you launch a video, they get you about 30 seconds into it, so now you’re invested and then fade to black as an ad comes up and you can’t return to the video for 15 excruciating seconds. Still not going to buy your product but do you feel it’s a victory if I stay on the site? Because guess what, I just typed this while your video ran so I have no idea what you’re selling. Boom.

My tiny little town of 400 has discovered and embraced nextdoor.com. In fact, almost 2/3 of the community is now registered. In the last month I’ve noticed “ads” creeping into the discussion threads. And what’s so funny about it is the ads don’t bother to take into consideration our demographics or community stats which are easily found online. The two ads on there right now are for Home Security packages and a Mortgage Refinance program IF you owe less than $625,000.00. We are so remote we have zero crime, people leave their doors unlocked, and I can say with certainty that there is not a single home anywhere near $625,000 in value. So marketing fail.

I’ve worked with credit unions for years to define their target audience. One of my goals is to help them navigate their way out of the shiny happy people tunnel, or worse yet, the picture of money, plastic cards or God forbid (it’s 2018) a picture of a hand writing a paper check. Once you’ve defined your target audience, how do you find images that connect with them? Here’s a thought, take REAL pictures of REAL people. Or even better, go off the marketing rails all together and have pictures of unique things in your community.

One of my favorite small credit union brands is PointWest CU in Portland, Oregon.

They used to feature pictures that were kind of “gritty” of Portland landmarks. And they switched them out often. When I would get a bit homesick I would flip over to their site to “visit” the Steel Bridge and I took pride in knowing that someone that wasn’t from the Rose City would have no idea why that picture means something. And that’s the point. Today they have targeted the truly underserved and invite people to become “Citizens of Point West” Check it out – real people helping real people. www.pointwestcu.com. Marketing victory!

Denise Wymore

Denise Wymore

Denise started her credit union career over 30 years ago as a Teller for Pacific NW Federal Credit Union in Portland, Oregon. She moved up and around the org. chart ... Web: www.nacuso.org Details

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