Marketing sometimes feels like divining wine. You have to get the right offer with the right messaging in front of the right people at the right time. But you don’t need a crystal ball in order to create the perfect marketing campaign.
- Set a goal! If your lending manager says, “we need more loans,” ask him or her for some specifics so you have an end goal in mind. For example, $10 million in new loans. This will help you determine how many loans you will need to capture in this example.
- Find your inner journalist. Creating the perfect marketing campaign is only possible if you have all the right information. A good journalist asks the “Five W’s”: who, what, when, where, and why. This is where you’ll determine the target market and strategy for your campaign.
- Who? Male or female (or both)? Age? Household income? Homeowner or renter? Members or non-members? Do they live near one of your branches? These are great, specific examples of information that will help you determine your perfect target market. If your credit union has an MCIF system, work with the appropriate person to get good, specific data about the group(s) who statistically would be good candidates for this offer. If you don’t have access to MCIF data, consider contacting one of the three credit bureaus to get credit histories on your members in order to take a deeper look for opportunities. Is your goal to acquire new business from non-members? Take the same approach as outlined above and look for a reputable firm that generates lead lists based on the information you want to know and target. Remember – the more specific the group, the more targeted the message will be, which will yield better results.
- What? This is very straightforward: what is the offer, and what is your messaging about the offer? For example, $10 million in auto loans. What other specials might your credit union offer to accompany the loan? Rate isn’t the only thing to consider here. People make decisions based on emotion. What emotions can you appeal to in your messaging?
- When? Make sure your offer has a time limit on it to create urgency, or that postcard, newspaper ad, or whatever form of message you deliver will make its way to the bottom of their priority list. Example $10 million in new loans by August 31.
- Where? Using the specific information outlined in “a” above, how are you going to reach those people? Perform a communications audit on your current messaging mediums compared to everything that is available. Which ones are a good fit for this particular campaign that also fit into the budget? This is your strategy. Even look outside of the credit union industry to see what kinds of guerilla tactics have worked well for other companies. You never know what will catch peoples’ attention.
- Why? This is huge. Why would someone want a membership/loan/account [insert offer here] from your credit union? This is called your differentiator. Give them a reason to come to you for this product or service. If you don’t have a “Why,” get your team together and do some brainstorming. Here is a great book to get you started. Your “Why” is not only important for marketing, but it is the foundation of your credit union and why you do business differently than anywhere else.
- Ask for the business! Do you know how often credit unions miss opportunities because they either don’t regularly ask for their members’ business, or they assume their members already know they do mortgages, financial planning, car loans, etc. etc.? All. The. Time. For the purposes of a marketing campaign, this is known as your Call to Action. Our example says $10 million in new auto loans by August 31. What are you going to say that is going to get your perfect target audience up off their seats to get a loan with your credit union by August 31? Remember your differentiator and the specific details of your campaign. Those go into consideration in this phase of marketing campaign development.
- Is your campaign “on brand?” Does your messaging match your brand voice? Is the creative consistent with the design elements and colors of your brand? Putting your marketing initiatives through a brand filter is crucial to growing brand awareness and loyalty.
- Capture the leads. Make sure that you have systems in place to find out who is interested in your offer, and then follow up with those people. Your individual strategies and delivery channels will determine the mechanisms for capturing leads. In addition, outline a follow-up strategy for your sales team or front-line staff.
- Measure. Measure. Measure. Did I say measure? You want to be able to go to your lending manager, CEO, and/or board with concrete data on the marketing investment versus how many new loans were generated. This is important not only for knowing who responded to your offers and through what mediums so future marketing campaigns are successful, but also for justifying future marketing investments.
- Be agile. Throughout the campaign period, be sure to leave yourself the flexibility to make adjustments if certain elements are doing better than others. The earlier you find out what works, the more success you will have.
We bring these marketing philosophies to credit unions and community banks all across the country.
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