Credit Union Marketing Departments Grow
A study from the Louisville, Ky.-based digital signage firm Codigo showed that credit unions are staffing up their marketing departments, and those employees are sticking around longer than employees in the rest of the labor market are.
According to the study, 36% of credit unions said they increased their marketing departments’ headcounts this year, compared to 26% of banks. Credit union marketing departments are still small, however. Three years ago, they had a weighted average of 3.1 employees; that’s risen to 3.9 today and is expected to grow to 4.42, the study said. Responding credit unions with departments of four or more employees said they were especially poised for headcount growth, Codigo noted.
Turnover is relatively low in credit union marketing departments as well. The average American stays on the job for 4.6 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the average weighted tenure in a credit union marketing department is 5.58 years, according to Codigo.
“The data shows a large difference between bank and credit union tenures – 35% of credit union employees had tenure longer than six years, compared to 62% of banks,” Codigo noted.
Titles vary in credit union marketing departments – respondents reported more than 20. “Marketing specialist” was the most common title listed in the survey, but it also indicated more employees are specializing: Twenty percent of credit unions now have social media managers and 36% have graphic designers.
Titles aside, credit union marketing employees are busy figuring out how to make more auto loans, according to the survey: Fifty-four percent said that was their primary product push for 2015.
They’re also working with budgets that are smaller than those similarly sized banks have, however. The average weighted marketing budget for credit unions in the survey was $463,319, which is about $20,000 less than the same measure for banks ($486,574), the survey said.
Credit union marketing departments usually do their web, social media, public relations, digital signage and branch merchandising work in-house, the study said, although about two thirds said they also use an agency.
“The most frequently outsourced marketing activity was print marketing with 40% saying they used a marketing agency to fulfill this task,” the report said.
Most institutions allocate less than 15% of their marketing budgets to agencies, it noted.
The majority of credit union marketing executives came from the financial industry (60%), although about one quarter are from other industries such as education, government, health care or manufacturing, the study found. Only 13% are from the marketing, advertising, media or telecom industries.
Technology expertise is an essential part of today’s credit union marketing jobs, according to Codigo. Being savvy with social media is the most important requirement in hiring for credit union marketing, respondents reported. A college degree and experience in financial marketing strategy were ranked the next highest, while prior experience in the financial industry and with compliance ranked lower.
“When asked what other characteristics were important in the hiring process, the highest response was having a team-minded personality with 11%, followed closely by design skills with 8%, and rounding out the top five were creative problem solving, communication, and online or tech skills,” the study noted.
The study also highlighted a significant gender gap in marketing departments at credit unions and banks – just 23% of the respondents were male.
Of the 255 U.S. financial institutions surveyed, 55% were credit unions. Seventy percent of the surveyed institutions had $250 million to $5 billion in total assets and five to 50 branches. Credit unions in the survey had a weighted average of 8.6 branches and a weighted average of $809,239,130 in assets.