When economic times are down, cutting marketing budgets is oftentimes seen as a simple way to reduce variable expenses. While it may be a quick fix, taking time to understand the future implications to the bottom line is important. Having said this, there are numerous marketing expenses that should be carefully examined.
It's true that many people are dissatisfied with banks and this presents a great opportunity to gain new members. However, most credit unions have tremendous opportunity to deepen the relationships with their current members. It is much less expensive to develop a deeper relationship with a current member than attract a new one. We need both, but we need the correct focus and strategies to make this happen.
A Time For Strategic Marketing Leadership
During a growing economy we are much more willing to experiment with new marketing ideas. Our marketing plan for 2010 must carefully prioritize our spending and demand measurable ROI from every marketing investment. You must determine now if your credit union has the expertise in house to make these critical marketing decisions. If you do not have the leadership you require it may be time to look to a third party for some strategic guidance.
Your 2010 marketing plan and beyond should address the significant changes in the environment and focus on eight key areas that are essential to credit union success:
- Branches & Convenience
- Brand Creation & Positioning
- Rebuilding Capital
- Increasing Loans
- Membership Growth & Penetration
- Technology & Delivery
- Return On Investment (ROI)
This is the time for credit union marketers and executives to reacquaint themselves with the basic principles of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Compare your product mix and pricing against the competition, and member or potential member needs. Review your checking account structure, delivery and online services. Use the most effective channels to achieve the greatest ROI for your marketing dollars. Review your website - it's your most important branch office. Is it due for a refresh or redesign? Research affordable branching opportunities. Engage in efficient targeting, proven strategies and continued communication with members.
Get It Done – Now!
There are times to plan, times to talk about what we should do and times to dream about the future. This is NOT that time. We have a window of opportunity right now to grow and position our credit unions as the best providers of financial services to consumers and small businesses. This will not just happen. You need a clear marketing plan, staff and outside resources to get it done.
Credit unions have been built on personal member relationships and service. Examine your marketing and business development staff and their daily responsibilities. Be sure they are focused primarily on relationship building and not marketing busy-work. You may consider using external partners to handle some of the planning and daily marketing items. This will free up the time of your internal team to build relationships in your community, groups and sponsors. Most credit unions do not spend nearly enough time shaking hands with members and prospects. This is still the most important and effective marketing – bar none!
To learn more, contact Marketing Partners to schedule a time to review our new strategies imperative to your 2010 Marketing Plans and receive a copy of our new white paper, The New Landscape Of Credit Union Marketing.
Toll Free: 1-888-641-1215
About Marketing Partners
Marketing Partners is a strategic branding, marketing, advertising and building company that has worked with more than 1,000 credit unions. We help credit unions grow and become more profitable by increased membership and maximizing the use of their products and services. Our strategic marketing plans will help you maximize your ROI.