TAMPA, Fla. – Good marketing doesn’t have to be salesy, it can be educational too. GTE Federal Credit Union has gotten a jump on taking its members and staff back to school for an education- credit union style. The $819 million credit union has a new five-year strategic plan that focuses on using member financial education as a marketing tool. The CU kicked off the campaign with the Question of the Week promotion. “Given what is happening in the financial marketplace from increased competition and the growing number of nontraditional financial providers, to price no longer being the competitive advantage,” said GTE FCU Vice President of Marketing Traci Germain. “We recognized that consumers need a trusted resource that will give them unbiased financial information and if we became that resource then nine out of ten times we’d get the business.” Knowing that not everyone may be as enthusiastic about learning, Germain made sure the promotion would be bursting with bright colors and fun. From July 16 through October 6, 2001, GTE FCU members are asked “Are you playing?” to answer a weekly question on topics about the history and philosophy of credit unions and cooperatives. Weekly drawings are held at each branch and entries are accepted over the Web. Winners receive a Question of the Week “winner” polo shirt, a ceramic 16-ounce coffee mug and are entered to win a trip to Germany, Quebec or New Hampshire. Future campaigns will be created around the three remaining education modules including basic financial education, reviewing what is checking, credit, equity; personal financial management, which discusses goals, budgeting, planning; and smart shopper, which ties it all together so whether shopping for a house or a washing machine the consumer can make wise decisions. So far the current promotion has been averaging over 500 member entries per week and 1,400 Web site entries. “We’re really having a lot of fun with this,” said Germain. “It’s not just the members either, more than half the staff is participating in their own internal version of questions.” In addition to members, 10 employee winners are selected weekly. There are different employee prize levels with the top scorer receiving the special “winner” polo shirt, mug and $125; three employees win the polo and mug and six win the mug. At an approximate price tag of $57,000, the campaign is splashed all over the branches from the standard newsletters and statement stuffers to the more unique question mark stress balls, flashing buttons, gift bags and QOTW T-shirt worn by employees on Fridays. “Everything just fell into place for this campaign,” said Germain. “Even our prize destinations are linked to our rich credit union history with the first credit union being established in Germany, then in Quebec and the first U.S. CU in Manchester, New Hampshire.” Going back to the CU roots, GTE FCU will host an Oktoberfest on October 27, where grand prize winners will be announced. [email protected]

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