New Year’s is often a time of reflection and new beginnings, but you’re not going to believe the nostalgia tsunami washing over me right now!

MarketMatch recently re-signed our very first client, after they had been away for 12-years. This client was also the credit union that brought me into the industry as their Marketing VP 17-years ago. And one of the first official meetings for this credit union, at their web developer’s office, is in the building that housed my very first (and now defunct) ad agency. A building that I walked into from 1995-2001.

I must be dying, because my entire professional life is passing before my eyes.

From a big, traditional ad agency … building brands for packaged goods, business-to-business and entertainment.

… To transitioning to a financial focus … growing a mid-sized credit union and getting heavily involved in the state league and national association committees.

When asked by River Valley Credit Union’s CEO, “Why should I hire you as our marketing VP when you have no financial experience,” I answered:

“I’m 30-years old. I recently bought a home. We are thinking about starting a family. My wife and I buy new cars every 3-years. And … before you called me for this meeting, I had no idea what a credit union was. I am your best target audience, and I can’t be alone in not knowing who you are. If you explain the industry to me, I’ll translate that to all of the people, just like me, that don’t know the benefits of a credit union.”

… To staying financial focused, but now partnering with, building brands for and growing several credit unions and community banks from all over the country.

It’s been a “Wonderful Life.” And, I’ve learned a lot along the way.

  • There is value in outsourcing. No one person can manage the research, analysis, planning, day-to-day detail and creativity that marketing demands.
  • Not all outsourcing is good. In my big agency days, we had two goals: 1) Make money for the agency at any cost; 2) Make the clients successful … in that order!!!
  • You can do more by doing less. You can’t be all things to all people. And, you can’t target everyone in your footprint. The tighter you target, the better results you get.
  • Always, I mean ALWAYS, look at the world through the eyes of your target. No jargon. No abbreviations. Don’t assume they “get it.” Understand and talk to THEIR needs … not yours.
  • Your job is to try to make the target care about your message as much as you do. You’ll never be successful, but it’s a perfect goal.
  • Spend your marketing budget as if it were coming from your personal account. You’ll budget and spend much smarter and demand results.
  • Measure everything.

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