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Employee Engagement: Your Marketing's Secret Weapon

Article originally featured on CUInsight.com.

Your auto refinance campaign is just a week from launch and everything seems ready to roll: the offer? Finalized. The artwork? Designed. The disclosures? Compliance approved (woohoo!). The only thing keeping you from basking in the joy of a completed campaign checklist is that the staff just isn’t sharing in the excitement of the promotion the way you had hoped…but they’ll come around, right?

This story is a familiar one in credit union marketing land. It’s a painful reality that when we’re immersed in numbers, ROI calculations, and the minutia of campaign details, it’s easy to miss the forest through the trees.  And what’s worse?  The forest – our coworkers – may well be one of the biggest players in the success of our marketing efforts. Here are 5 ways to maximize marketing results by pulling the employee engagement lever:

1.)  Involve them from the beginning.  The best time to engage employees in your marketing efforts is before they’ve even been finalized.  You may have data on your members, but don’t discount the wisdom that can be gleaned by engaging frontline staff who interact with those members every day.  Supplement your knowledge by asking them questions.  Your service team is much more likely to be in tune with what members are asking for, and can tell you what they need so you can craft a better marketing plan.

2.)  Educate them on your campaigns…including the why.  Go beyond rates and timeframes when you communicate the details of your campaigns with staff before launch. Who stands to benefit from taking advantage of this offer?  How would their lives improve?  What would taking advantage of this offer allow a member to do that they couldn’t have done otherwise?  Providing employees with a “why” allows them to connect with the message they’re communicating, and both encourages and empowers them to do their jobs that much better.

3.)  Know what motivates them. In addition to communicating effectively with your coworkers, it’s essential for you to know what’s important to them.  This will allow you to incentivize them in ways that are meaningful and motivating. Use input from the whole team to create a celebration plan. When goals are met, recognize leaders, celebrate together, and set a positive tone for a successful next campaign.  This doesn’t have to be a large expense – get creative and remember how far recognition and praise can go.

4.)  Solicit their feedback and perspective to make future campaigns even better. Analysis is an important part of every campaign, but it can only tell you so much.  Listen when employees give feedback about what fell flat with members; they may give you important insight into why a campaign didn’t reach its full potential.  On the flip side, your employees may be able to tell you the ways in which your campaign was successful, so you can incorporate that in your strategy going forward. People offer personal insight that an Excel file won’t.

5.)  Celebrate the wins together. Throughout the campaign, employees need to be kept in the loop on progress.  Communicate regularly to show actual numbers compared to the goal.  At the conclusion of the campaign, reveal the final numbers so they know their hard work paid off. If you met or exceeded campaign goals, follow through on the celebration plans you made with them in mind.

Marketing is deciding who to target, what to tell them, when to tell them, and how to say it.  The “why” behind it is determined by the employees telling the story, guiding members to see how your credit union improves their lives.  Members aren’t just buying your marketing pieces, great promotional rates, or the products behind them; they’re buying a trusted relationship and the idea that the people at your credit union are operating in their best interest. If you make an investment in the people working alongside you, you’re sure to see a return on it.

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