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Your Marketing Campaign Failed - Now What?

Article originally featured on CUInsight.com.

Your marketing campaign is over, the numbers are in and…uh oh. It appears the ROI results are far from what you were hoping for. Time to throw in the towel and give up marketing forever at your credit union because it will never work, right?

Wrong! It may be time to re-evaluate your current strategies and throw in the towel on them, but this important lesson should prompt your marketing to grow and evolve into something even better.

A Pinterest-worthy quote by former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam capturing this very moment reads, “If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L. means First Attempt in Learning.” Don’t write off the role of marketing in helping your credit union succeed because of a failure; instead, ask these questions to get clear on what to change in the future:

1.)  Did members see the roadblocks you missed? If your credit union directed people to apply online without having an online loan application, they may have been frustrated when that convenience was unavailable. Or, if you touted hometown service as a feature but applicants sat on hold for 20 minutes, they may have given up before speaking to an MSR. You may reach the right audience at the right time with the right offer, but if you aren’t easy to do business with you won’t have their attention for long.  Put yourself in the member’s shoes and perform a channel audit to check for inconsistencies such as these.

2.)  Is your lending policy too restrictive? Examine the loan applications that came in during the campaign period, including those that were denied. People with B, C, and D credit have borrowing needs, too; if your credit union had 100 applications but only approved 25 exclusively from the A and A+ group, that’s a reflection of lending at your credit union, not your marketing efforts.

3.)  Was your messaging appealing to your target audience? Hopefully, you created a target for your marketing campaign and didn’t offer home equity loans to 18-year-olds, for example.  Take a look at the messaging of your pieces compared to what you know about your target audience (including their wants and needs, demographic, and psychographic information). Through your own insights or even by surveying, evaluate if the language, graphics, and offer might have fallen flat with this group. For instance, if you serve an area where many potential members face financial difficulties, the piece may have been more successful if it promoted low, affordable monthly payments rather than relying on an interest rate to do the heavy lifting.

4.)  Did you promote a clear offer? Imagine you’re strolling down the aisles at your local supermarket and you come across two candy bars – one has a sign that reads, “BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE!” while the other one says, “THIS IS A CANDY BAR. BUY IT NOW.” Which one are you more likely to take an interest in? Brand awareness campaigns aside, when pieces lack an actionable offer, members and potential members may not fully understand what you wanted them to do or when.

5.)  Were your employees campaign cheerleaders?  The most successful marketing campaigns are the ones championed by a credit union’s employees. If you don’t have the buy-in and support of your team, you effectively have their sabotage. Make sure you’ve armed your co-workers with enough campaign information to keep them educated, engaged, and excited to spread the word.

Chin up! You’ve just had your first attempt in learning how your members, potential members, and employees respond to your marketing efforts, and now it’s over. By moving forward and asking great questions to uncover the root cause of the failure, you ensure your second attempt is a WIN… no acronym needed!

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