One of the most intriguing concepts in understanding and marketing to Gen Y – and who doesn’t want a younger membership – is that they don’t like to be sold to. In fact, in our world of information overload and marketing-clogged brain cells, no age group is really all that interested in your ads.
Welcome to the post-marketing world, where the landscape is still changing. While your members are tired of everything sales oriented, they still need your products and services. Gone are the days of “Build it, Let Them Know About it, And They Will Come.”
You want to cut through the clutter and win more members and more activity from your current members. But how? Engage them in your brand? Engage them less in your brand? It’s clear that in today’s world, you need a different type of strategy, but what does that strategy look like?
There’s no doubt that today’s marketing strategy is far more complicated than ever before. Between new tools like QR codes, new platforms like Facebook and Twitter (does anyone really know how to measure the ROI on that?) and a push towards mobile banking, not to mention video marketing, where do new tech tools fit into your existing strategy?
Do you rip up last year’s notes and start from scratch? Do you incorporate the new into the way you’ve always done things and hope it’ll seamlessly fit together? What about the costs? Can the expenses of bringing in new marketing media be justified? These are just some of the challenges facing credit union marketers today.
While everything changes, some basic concepts actually do stay the same. As always, marketing strategy starts with your members. If they’re on Facebook then, surprise, surprise, that’s where you need to be. If your members are using their mobile phones more than their laptops, better think twice before investing thousands of dollars in a new website while ignoring the need for a mobile app.
As the late Stephen Covey, author of the classic Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, stressed, it’s important to begin with the end in mind. Think about your members, study their habits, and set goals regarding where you’d like the credit union to be in one, three, and five years from now. How would you like to be interacting with members? How will they prefer to be interacting with you? With those goals, and that vision in mind, you can begin to approach marketing strategy.
Don’t be afraid to challenge what’s worked in the past, because it may not work in the future or even in the present. If you’re doing something because “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” stop and think: are there tools that make it easier, more effective, and less costly? Maybe they were not available in the past, but are they easy to implement today? For example, could your print newsletter and/or other print communications be replaced with less expensive email marketing?
Challenge assumptions or what I like to call marketing myths, and see if they still hold true. Remember, as things change, your marketing needs to evolve too.
Don’t be afraid to embrace technology, but before you do, determine if it’s what your members will want now or at some point in the near future. Bring in new, younger employees or interns if you need to infuse a fresh perspective. Get a focus group together. Mobile marketing is fabulous, and not necessarily expensive, but find out if your members want it before jumping in.
Another thing that should stay constant in your credit union’s marketing strategy is the benefits versus costs analysis. It’s as applicable as ever. At the same time, there’s a basic risk in not embracing the technology your members are using. By not keeping up, by not having a social media presence, a mobile website or an email marketing strategy, you may not be around in ten years. That alone is something to take into account when figuring ROI.
And that brings us to your credit union’s marketing ROI, or return on investment. Just because a technology is cool, it doesn’t mean you’re good to go and should jump on it.
Sue Woodard is president of Credit Union Toolbox.
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