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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -The Golden 1 Credit Union Senior Vice President of Marketing Dave Thompson is a self-described true “renaissance man” of marketing. “At 18 I fell in love with the work,” said Thompson. “I never considered doing anything else because with marketing I had it all – creativity, innovative ideas, challenges, stress and excitement. Prior to his career at the credit union, Thompson was the creative director and partner at a Sacramento advertising agency. He credits the board’s vision in hiring a professional to set up the credit union’s in-house advertising agency. “In the `70s what used to happen is that the general manager would just walk into a department and ask who wants to be in charge of marketing- so I can’t stress too strongly just how visionary this board has been,” said Thompson. “Early on they recognized the importance of marketing to the credit union’s growth and expansion and most importantly in making the members aware of what the credit union has to offer. They even did a name change to The Golden 1, which was unheard of at the time.” Thompson says with his background in everything from market research, copywriting, graphic arts and photography to experience in conducting focus groups and member surveys the credit union’s one-man in-house advertising agency was a major success. The department has now swelled to 21 and includes a Web design staff. “One of my proudest accomplishments is that our in-house advertising agency has given the credit union over the years the ability to respond quickly and stay competitive,” said Thompson. “We have the flexibility and talent to produce an ad and place it within just days and we had that from day one when I started. I’m glad that I had a small role in helping the credit union grow from $77 million to $5.2 billion in assets and serving over 550,000 members” With over 45 years of marketing and advertising experience Thompson says one dramatic change for the better has been how the specialized credit union marketing quality continues to improve and help the credit union movement overall. “Marketing is a really important piece of the whole credit union picture-it is the grease that drives the wheel of sales, training, education, member awareness and community involvement beyond advertising,” said Thompson. “Credit union marketers, be more passionate, emotional and more dedicated when making your presentations to the board, have the tracking data to support your efforts and deliver those results. Sometimes I would get so passionate about my presentations that my board would say slow down. There has to be a real passion and love for what you do – show it to your board and maybe that will help them move on it.” Thompson says he’s lucky that in 27 years at The Golden 1 he’s never been denied a project or had a cent cut from his marketing budget because his board and management believed in the value of marketing and he delivered results. He says research is vital. The Golden 1 not only conducts quarterly phone and electronic surveys of the entire CU membership but also more specialized surveys and focus groups of each of its 67 branches to help gauge each community’s needs. Thompson has recently retired for health concerns but won’t let that slow him down. An avid photographer and seasoned traveler, Thompson is looking forward to exploring more of California. “It was not an easy decision to step down but I look forward to enjoying the benefits of retirement and still doing some consulting work for The Golden 1 on special projects,” said Thompson. “I could never believe how lucky I was to get to do what I love and actually get paid for it. I was always worried that one day they might realize just how much fun it was for me.” [email protected]

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