Need a Sure Bet in Today's Economy? Step Up Marketing.

In these difficult times, few things are guaranteed. Headlines announcing company layoffs, budget shortfalls and shaky consumer confidence attest to the continuing recession - the deepest in 70 years. So what can you count on? Gearing up marketing during a downturn, pays off...

 

By DigitalMailer, Inc.

 

In these difficult times, few things are guaranteed. Headlines announcing company layoffs, budget shortfalls and shaky consumer confidence attest to the continuing recession - the deepest in 70 years. So what can you count on? Gearing up marketing during a downturn, pays off...

Sound Crazy?

Recession marketing works! Marketing sage Seth Godin sees recession marketing as the "opportunity of a lifetime," partly because the field is less crowded, but also because consumers have product and service needs even when money's tight. They're just more selective and value-driven in their approach to shopping.

Multiple studies show that companies that keep their messages and brands in the public's eye during a recession often come through hard times much better than those that don't. One such study, by MarketSense, proved the point with the 1989-91 recession: Brands such as Jif Peanut Butter and Kraft Salad Dressing increased advertising, and saw sales grow 57 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell stepped up promotion, increasing sales by 61 percent and 40 percent. But McDonald's, which took the opposite approach, had a 28 percent decline in sales over the same period.

Who's brave enough to increase marketing?

Stepping up marketing doesn't necessarily mean stepping up the cost. Many credit unions have been revising their marketing budgets and shifting expensive direct-mail promotions to lower-cost, online channels... especially with the Post Office considering dropping Tuesday delivery and another two-cent hike in stamp prices planned for May. The results of shifting to email delivery - more frequency, more reach, for less cost!

Permission-based e-marketing has been gaining ground for years. And now, with the economy in the tank, marketing funds slashed and consumers afraid to spend, promoting financial services via email is smart marketing. Email is emerging as the delivery system of choice for numerous organizations, and for good reason. It's cheap, it's quick, it's convenient and it delivers an ROI much superior to other marketing media. And unlike "snail mail," it's available all day, any day.

Case Study: Innovative Recession e-Marketing

Solidarity Federal Credit Union is taking an innovative approach to recession marketing: YouTube-style videos. The Kokomo, Indiana-based credit union is emailing promotional clips to targeted members, using short videos created in-house. Members tell their own stories about why they like the credit union's services, such as electronic checking and at-home check deposit. And according to Vice President of Marketing Diana Tenbrook, members' recommendations go a long way to boost credibility.

Tenbrook says the credit union began its unique approach to differentiate SOLFCU from its banking competitors. But with tighter budgets in today's down cycle, the credit union has found email can extend its marketing efforts without draining resources.

SOLFCU uses DigitalMailer's email engines to distribute the information. Here's the latest SOLFCU latest video clip, where Jake and Kylie, a newlywed couple, discuss how they had to deal with enormous bank fees with no explanation!

"Emailing these clips has actually resulted in some viral marketing, with members spreading the word after viewing them," Tenbrook said. "One of our members, who has a home-based business, told us people come up to her in the grocery store and say they've seen her in a Solidarity video."

Using DigitalMailer's email marketing service, SOLFCU can ensure that the emailed videos get to the inboxes of members who want to receive them. And with a high open rate of nearly 30 percent, the strategy is clearly working.

Want Another Success Story?

Learn how gearing up marketing during a downturn needn't break the budget in the article,"Is the"R"word at Hand? Time to boost marketing." With a well-designed message, one credit union stood out in a once-cluttered field laid bare by those with less moxie. The credit union timed its email marketing promotion just right and raised $1.4 million in new loans in only five days. The key: Timing - it's everything and when you've got something members want, they'll pay attention - perhaps more so when money is tight. Send an email; it will reach your members within moments. Send a preference-based email with links to offers and start seeing results. Fast.

Simple email strategies succeed

At DigitalMailer, we see it every time our clients use their email engines to grow their business. The ability to use collected email addresses to promote new products, cross-sell services or alert members to special offers is a great boon to credit unions. And when you combine the troubled economy with proposed USPS changes, email marketing is one sure bet.… when you have the right strategies in place. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Avoid the "too much, too often" trap. Email's ease and affordability has created one problem: People are drowning in it. Too many businesses send too many emails haphazardly. That can quickly backfire, leading to never-opened messages. Or worse, it can be tagged as spam.
  • Don't use a shotgun approach. Take advantage of marketing tools and software that let you target messages based on members' customer profiles.
  • Listen to your members. Members' stories change in recessionary times, and so do their needs. Pay attention to consumer needs through their pre-selected preferences.

Stop wasting time and money

The same event driven ARB system and campaigns NWFCU used for its student loan program is available for indirect auto loans, pre-approved mortgage loans, pre-approved auto loans, seminars and new member ‘on-boarding" programs.

Why spend money on direct mail paper and postage when the same thing can be accomplished in email? Let the Automatic Relationship Builder "super-size" your member relationships! Visit our website at www.digitalmailer.com/arb.html for more information or click the icon for a test drive.

To subscribe to our e-Newsletter that shares resources, industry trends, best practices and valuable lessons learned from financial service providers, visit http://www.digitalmailer.com/newsletter.html or click the icon to register.

This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact our Callahan Media team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.

 

March 9, 2009


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