BARTLETT, Tenn. – Don't tell First South Credit Union Director of Marketing Anne Mathis that marketing is just fluff. "To me marketing encompasses so many things to reach into many areas and support the organization and goals of the organization beyond what many think – it is not just advertising," said Mathis. "It can play a huge role in the success of an organization." For the past 14 years Mathis has been enjoying what she considers the best of both worlds. "In college I started off in public relations because it appealed to my creative side, but I wanted more of a business background and I learned early on that I really enjoyed the analytical side of marketing research, return-on-investments," said Mathis. "While I didn't want to specialize in that particular field I switched to marketing and went to financial management school early on so that I could better understand what role marketing plays in the bigger picture of how an organization can be profitable." Before landing in First South in 1993, Mathis started her career in sales and product development for a furniture manufacturer. During that time she went back to school to get her MBA, then worked in a management consulting firm that specialized in sales and corporate marketing. "What I strive to do here at First South is try to be successful at conveying the brand image while working with other areas of the credit union to ensure service is consistent with that brand," said Mathis. "It can be frustrating for marketing departments to build demand and an image in members' minds that no one else is fulfilling. Fortunately we all work together here." The marketing department is involved with sales and service development from the very beginning. In fact, First South CU recently launched its first on-campus branch at the University of Memphis and it fell to the marketing department to launch that branch. In addition, the call center also falls under the marketing department. Mathis says the department helps staffers reinforce the sales service culture and identify cross-sell opportunities. "We are so glad to play a part in service delivery and strategic planning," said Mathis. "With the new campus branch we're able to see the whole circle of member loyalty from the beginning and that is same with the call center. For three years we've been working to redevelop it as more of a remote lending department. It is integrated marketing and for it to work everything needs to be consistent and reinforced. It has to be delivered at every interaction." Mathis and her team have also been beefing up their public relations efforts and building relationships with the media because "people pay more attention to an article about us than an advertisement. So we've been making strides to get more press coverage." In her spare time Mathis enjoys horseback riding four times a week. "After 25 years I'm reliving my childhood fantasy of riding hunter jumpers," said Mathis. The self described focused, fair and committed marketer says staffers would be most surprised to learn that she actually likes to have fun and does forget about work sometimes. A big fan of traveling that mixes a good blend of adventure and being pampered, Mathis and her husband recently spent some time in Costa Rica rappelling between treetops and tried their hand at sports fishing. "We like to visit places that are different and give a little rush without having to rough it in the outdoors," said Mathis. [email protected]

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