Media Diversification: The Solution to Slow Growth?

As media options proliferate, effective marketing becomes a challenge. Learn how credit unions like American First Credit Union find success with a “layered” marketing approach.


By Market and Sales Logic


Running the same ads with fewer results? You’re not alone. With the widespread growth of the Internet, MP3 players, satellite radio, TiVo, coupled with traditional media such as print, radio, and television, reaching consumers and capturing their attention is increasingly difficult. Marketing managers accustomed to choosing one medium and sticking to it may find that the new marketplace requires ''layering,'' or utilizing a variety of media to reach existing and potential members.

Consider this: In 1999, 68 percent of the population read a Sunday paper each week and 57 percent received a daily paper. Only 5 years later, barely 60 percent read a Sunday paper and only 53 percent receive a daily paper. Evening news audiences have also declined, down more than 47 percent in the last 25 years, from 55 million to 29 million viewers. Radio audiences have remained fairly consistent, falling only 1 percent in the past five years.

Is this the death of media? Hardly. Media opportunities are more abundant than ever. Today, it’s possible to advertise on millions of websites and via email, on cable television and in magazines, even on pizza boxes and dry cleaning bags.

The larger question is: how do you make an impression? American First Credit Union in La Habra, California, makes a splash by choosing multiple media outlets within its relatively small geographical reach and by utilizing new media when they find a good fit. Their media choices in 2005 have included regular ads in nearly a dozen community weeklies, local cable TV advertisements, and college campus newspaper ads with an accompanying campus ''postering'' campaign.

A media diversification strategy has helped American First grow its membership aggressively in an environment where overall membership and loan growth are nearly stagnant. In fact, American First has increased its membership 7.5 percent in the past year. Loan growth at American First has increased 15 percent over the same time period.

''Finding an effective mix of media is challenging, especially on a credit union budget,'' says American First AVP of Marketing Ryan Zilker. ''We want our marketing dollars to have a real impact. Spending too little or choosing the wrong media in this environment can be as bad as doing nothing. By putting ourselves in traditional community papers and on TV—as well as nontraditional outlets like campus posters—we are reaching a wider and more diverse audience, and we’re reaching them where they live.''

American First works with Market and Sales Logic (MSL), a marketing and media consulting firm, to plan, purchase, and implement their media strategies. MSL manages a patent pending cooperative network that helps credit unions buy media at bulk rate cost savings, participate in leveraged campaigns, and receive individual brand return. We also offer Money Matters, the credit union syndicated magazine customized for your members. For more information on Market and Sales Logic, please contact Kristin Witzenburg.


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, please contact our Callahan Media team at or 1-800-446-7453.


Nov. 21, 2005


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