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How To Avoid Marketing #Fails

Article originally featured on CUInsight.com.

Here’s a tale of two credit unions.  Both are of equal size, with equal ROA, and equal lending/membership trends.  They have similar fields of membership in similar communities.  

They are doing very similar things from a marketing standpoint.  But here’s the catch…Credit Union A’s marketing is really successful, but Credit Union B’s marketing is not getting many results.  How could that be?

I regularly see situations like this.  Your credit union’s marketing efforts can be super beautiful with great messaging, a great brand story, and a great call to action.  So why is it not working?  Here are a few big things that significantly decrease the success of your marketing efforts:

  • Your website.
    • Websites should not be treated as a digital brochure.  Your credit union’s website is the online version of your branch experience.  It should be interactive, informative, easy to use, and in line with the rest of your brand experience – including your credit union’s marketing efforts.  If the marketing pieces/communications your members and/or potential members are seeing attract them to your website, make sure your website is on-brand as well.  If the marketing is well-executed but your website looks like something from 1997, it could cause you to lose business.   
  • Brand experience doesn’t match.
    • Your brand is not just your logo or your sign or your website.  While these elements are extremely important, a huge part of your brand is how others perceive your credit union.  If potential members are attracted by your marketing enough to take action and they call or come into your office and aren’t welcomed or your branch branding doesn’t match the marketing, the disconnect can cause people to distrust your brand.
  • Your credit union’s culture is bad.
    • A bad culture can kill any type of company – including your credit union.  One of the most prevalent things we see is a lack of communication in credit unions.  Whether it is letting your employees know about upcoming marketing initiatives or making sure important things are communicated effectively, communication goes a LONG way in improving a credit union’s culture, thus benefiting the marketing.  
  • Not following the marketing plan.
    • Your plan and corresponding budget may be approved, but if your credit union isn’t executing it or sticking to the strategy, marketing becomes stagnant and reactionary.  Be sure to give your marketing time to work and, if it isn’t working according to your projections, make adjustments to messaging, delivery channels, and budget.  Don’t just give up.  Like John F. Kennedy said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”  
  • Not making marketing a regular priority.
    • While human resources, compliance and many other areas of your credit union have lawful requirements that need regular attention, marketing should also be something to which regular commitment is made.  From taking time to talk with your front-line employees about current initiatives to planning for the future, the more preparation and time you devote to marketing, the more successful your efforts will become.

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