Thanks in part to advocacy ads hitting on ownership, Michigan credit unions enjoyed a sharp membership run-up in 2010 with prospects hopeful for more of the same in 2011, according to the Michigan Credit Union League.
"In 2010 we started with a totally clean sheet of paper hiring well-known ad agency McCann Erickson of Chevrolet and 'Pure Michigan' fame and that worked in a campaign seeing a jump of 39,000 members in just the third quarter," a league spokesman said.
The co-op TV and radio commercials promoting the "Own Your Money/Join a Credit Union" theme ran from June through August and resumed on radio in the early fall with $950,000 contributed by Michigan CUs, the league said.
The remainder of a $3.4 million budget went in part towards the Invest in America radio commercials with all of the expenses representing "a new high in co-op ad spending for Michigan credit unions and we believe the results are noticeable," the league official said.
The 39,000 member gains in the third quarter tops the 15,000 members for the entire two previous quarters, the league said.
"Michigan has always been a strong credit union state with 44 percent membership penetration being the highest of any of the ten most populous states," noted David Adams, league president/CEO.
However, he said, as Michigan has lost population in the past decade CU membership growth was negligible, but that changed two years ago when advocacy ads began appearing in earnest.
Many Michigan CUs, Adams said, retain strong brands and great marketing strategies and the hope is that the revived industry push will reach the 60% penetration threshold over the next decade.
The league also noted that post ad polling in Michigan shows that 77% or 7.5 million people recall CU advertising and that 62% know that everyone is eligible to join, a 7% increase from 2009.
It also shows that 69% of bank customers might switch to a CU and that 95% of CU members would recommend their CU to others.
The league said the underlying message of the "Own Your Money" campaign "is one of personal control, member-focus and value" with a strategy focusing on reaching 18-34-year-olds "who are just beginning to establish their financial habits and relationships."