We are solidly into the new year, and if your credit union is still working to finalize 2020’s marketing plan or you are already executing on one, here are five essential elements to check for in your plan:
- Clarity around objectives. I have yet to speak to a credit union that says “we have a big budget and tons of money to spend,” which means budget dollars are at a premium. You probably can’t do everything you want to do and take advantage of every single opportunity out there to gain new members, loans, or checking accounts. But what you can do is align your marketing plan with the larger business objectives of your credit union. Those objectives should clearly inform what you are doing from a marketing standpoint for the year.
- Goals. And I am not talking about things like “get more auto loans.” That isn’t a goal. That’s a wish. “Book $5 million in new auto loans by December 31” is a goal. Moreover, the process with which you set goals is also important. Do you know what your loan runoff is? If so, do you also know what your runoff is by loan product line? You want to have clear, realistic goals that set clear expectations for your entire credit union, but you also want to ensure that the goals are going to get you in the black. If your credit union doesn’t use data to set goals, you’re playing in the dark. Need a place to start? Hint: find out your runoff if you don’t know it!
- Data-driven tactics. Play a game of “Marketing 20 Questions!” Do you know the success/ROI of your previous marketing initiatives? What channels were most successful? What are the current needs of your existing members? Do you know what your most profitable products and services are? Do you know what media your intended audiences are consuming and how to reach them? Ok you get my point…data should be a major influence on the tactical plan of how you are going to reach your goals.
- A sufficient budget. It would be so nice if, upon seeing one email or digital ad or marketing promotion from your credit union, members flocked to take action on the offer. But with the number (I’m talking tens of thousands) of marketing messages we all receive on a daily basis, you have to cut through the noise. That means repetition. And repetition requires money. If you have a limited budget, consider focusing on the product lines that you have the most opportunity with and/or are the most profitable and use this year’s budget as a building block to make next year’s budget even bigger.
- Employee buy-in. This isn’t typically something you see listed as an essential element of a marketing plan. But I can tell you after working with dozens of credit unions on their marketing plans, marketing promotions only work if you educate your employees about what is happening and if they are excited to share this information with members. You can have a fabulous rate and that will drive rate-shoppers to your branch, but, once the promotion is over, numbers will drop. Marketing is all about momentum and your employees play an integral part in building that momentum over time.
Cheers to a fabulous 2020!