7 Critical Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Your Credit Union Marketing
My love affair with credit unions started when I was just a kid, and my parents used the full benefits of their credit union to find stable financial footing. My father ended up serving as chair at his credit union, and I now chair my credit union. Circle of life.
Feeling the love for credit unions and my entrepreneurial longings, I founded Your Marketing Co. with a clear vision to generate strategic marketing results for credit unions, so they could continue serving their members with unique products and solutions they won’t find anywhere else. Since 2008, we’ve been collaborating with our clients to achieve their desired results.
Collaboration is key to an excellent client-agency relationship. A well-versed marketing agency will neither prescribe what your brand is, nor should the firm be filled with ‘yes’ people who do whatever the client says. A strong credit union marketing agency will share why certain ideas will or won’t produce the results you’re looking for because they’ve already done a lot of testing and followed the metrics for success.
Part of what a marketing agency partner will do for you is ensure the best use of your resources for results. The firm will already have proven individuals who can get the job done with the right tools and KPIs in place to facilitate your best possible outcomes. These two qualities combined leverage the cost-effectiveness of experts across all aspects of marketing, from creative to copywriting to social media and more, and deliver a significant ROI for your credit union.
As we round the corner on year 15 and I ponder redefining marketing, some basics of an outsourced marketing relationship remain table stakes. Here’s what your credit union should look for when considering outsourced marketing firms.
1. When looking for a strategic marketing partner, one of the factors credit union leaders should consider is the sophistication of their marketing infrastructure. The right people, processes and tools keep your marketing plan and campaigns running like a well-oiled machine.
2. Although there are plenty of potentially great credit union marketing companies opening every day, there is something to be said for experience. The processes and procedures gained from years of experience in serving clients and using the right software saves everyone involved from wasted time, money and resources – and potentially precarious situations.
3. Plus, the perspective gained from partnering with hundreds of credit unions can bring new and innovative ideas that have been tested. ‘You can’t read the label from inside the jar,’ is a phrase I often use. When you outsource marketing, they will bring a different point of view precisely because they are not as close to your credit union’s brand.
4. In-house marketing teams understandably get caught up in internal happenings and the daily fires, distracted from the important by the urgent. An experienced and trusted partner will help alleviate the anxiety of task saturation by creating a marketing plan unique to your credit union and its membership and ensure its execution, so your team doesn’t have to. The purpose of outsourcing work is to make your life easier, not more difficult, right?
5. Being the sole internal marketing person can feel like being on an island. Your outsourced marketing team should be an extension of your internal team, giving you the opportunity to brainstorm with others and providing a sounding board for those ideas that might not be so crazy as you think.
6. You shouldn’t hear things like, ‘This is how we’ve always done it,’ from your credit union marketing agency. While there are processes that make sense to ensure an efficient marketing company and streamlined and exceptional client experience, be sure not to fall for some of the cookie-cutter agencies out there that might simply adapt a previous clients’ website or marketing templates with your brand colors.
Each credit union is incredibly unique and has its own value proposition that should be reflected in its brand and marketing. Don’t lose what differentiates your credit union to a lazy marketing agency that stamps out unoriginal ideas and artwork to make a quick – albeit large – buck.
7. Needs change and your credit union should be able to expand and contract your marketing services to fit those needs, which is much easier to do with an outsourced agency versus staffing up and down. Your scope can flex with your needs and even the economy once your partnership is established.
No matter how great your marketing is, one element to keep in mind is that it cannot deliver results if other issues are bubbling below the surface. We’ve started working with many credit unions that have come to us for marketing help, but that wasn’t really what they needed – or at least not all the assistance they required. No amount of marketing will produce more loans, for example, if there’s a logjam of applications pending review. In the race for instant gratification, those loans will be lost forever to your credit union as potential borrowers move on to your competitors who can deliver more quickly.
As we create strategic marketing plans for our credit union clients, we are able to identify familiar gaps we’ve seen at other credit unions. The above scenario is the type of issue for which holistic marketing strategists will assist your credit union in finding solutions. This is where an experienced outsider’s 30,000-foot view becomes highly valuable to help your credit union better serve its members and thrive.
We firmly believe in credit unions’ ability to succeed, regardless of size. Our clients’ average asset size is $115.4 million, and the smallest by assets is about $24 million. Some say these credit unions cannot possibly survive, but the leadership and tenacity demonstrated by our clients is remarkable.
While most credit unions with less than $1 billion in assets experienced declining membership in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022, according to the NCUA, Your Marketing Co. clients celebrated a median 1.31% membership increase. Loan growth at our credit unions also exceeded the median for all federally insured credit unions (14.2% vs 10.1%) during the same period.
You read a lot in the trade press about similarly sized credit unions merging into oblivion. I’m confident that with the right leadership and a strict focus on their distinct brand, credit unions of all sizes will continue serving their members well for years to come.
Bo McDonald, founder of Your Marketing Co., and his team, employees and clients!, are celebrating the company's 15th anniversary in business this month with a toast to everyone's successes. While 52% of credit unions with less than $1 billion in assets (which encompasses all Your Marketing Co. clients) experienced declining membership, Your Marketing Co. clients celebrated a 1.31% increase. Loan growth also exceeded the median for all federally insured credit unions (14.2% vs 10.1%) during the same period.