Economic Realities Post-BTD Will Separate CU Wheat from Chaff
The economy is harvesting individuals and businesses that are not efficient. That is the truth. I think there is an epic struggle going on in American business today and it does not involve McDonald’s, Ford and Bank of America.
It’s between Burger King and Wendy’s; brands seeking to be option B. McDonalds, Ford and B of A will be here in 2030, but my bet is that Wendy’s and/or Burger King may be extinct when Bart Simpson is in his 40s.
After Bank Transfer Day, it is now up to credit unions to pursue being option B. An Option B that is the best and most efficient option B in American banking. It will mean fewer credit unions. However, if CUs can be to banks what Target is to Wal-Mart, that’s a great place to be.
The frenetic energy of Bank Transfer Day has been replaced with a tangible silence as credit unions ask the question: Now what? Be honest, there is not one credit union in the world that sat down in 2010 for their strategic planning sessions and asked how best to exploit an unexpected wave of media coverage and visibility in the fall of 2011.
That is why for years I have preached the concept of a flexible response versus a strategic plan. However, now that Bank Transfer Day is over, what will you do to exploit it? Here are some ideas.
- Social Media (tired of that phrase yet?) I am, too. But BTD completely legitimized Facebook as a marketing medium for credit unions. If your CU does not have a fan page you need to get one and then give people a reason to go there. Don’t replicate your website on Facebook; take chances, be creative and give things away. Otherwise you will have fans when what you really want is a following.
- Twitter? That’s up to you. But in my opinion BTD means we have to compete with banks by being more like them. Especially community banks. Today the marketplace is a tapestry of individuals and small businesses that have no interest in doing their business banking in one place and their retail banking in another. If you have business development and marketing professionals who use Twitter, ask them a simple question: Which do you have more of this week: tweets or personal contacts with small business owners in your community? If the answer is tweets, I would terminate them immediately. There is a circular conversation of the obvious going on right now in the Twitter world between CU employees that is of no benefit to your CU brand or members and is in fact bordering on time theft. The week leading up to BTD, I was contacted by phone by Chase and two local community banks who were obviously mining city hall filings for LLC, DBAs etc. I did not get one contact from a credit union.
Finally, hire performers and fewer of them. Get rid of your problems and borderline employees. You simply don’t need them. And if you don’t have an app by end of year 2012 you are going to be in big trouble in 2020. BTD put CUs on the A List, now you have to earn the right to stay there as a solid, more efficient option B.
Jason Dias is president of Eloquent Online.net and host of the RadioFree CU show.