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Marketer to Texas CUs Eradicate old marketing ways
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/12/12)--Credit unions have never had a better opportunity to seize greater market share. However, they must evolve, Sean McDonald of Your Full Potential LLC, told Texas credit unions at the Texas Credit Union League Leadership Conference & Expo in San Antonio last week.

"The old way of doing things have to be eradicated," he said in his "CU Marketing: What You Simply Must do to Survive" presentation (LoneStar Leaguer Sept. 10). "I'm not saying that traditional marketing doesn't have its place, it does for certain demographics," McDonald told attendees. "But it doesn't work for younger people."

Social media isn't going away. Facebook is about to eclipse one billion users. Twitter has more than 300 million users, and LinkedIn has roughly 160 million users, McDonald said.

"The amount of time spent on computers and on the Internet by Gen X and Gen Y is staggering," McDonald said. "Why not take advantage of this? It's a whole lot cheaper than traditional marketing."

At the very least, credit unions need to have a Facebook page and a Twitter handle, McDonald said. Technology is essential, and credit unions will have to invest in new and innovative marketing techniques to capture the attention of a younger audience, he added.

What can credit unions do better? McDonald suggests:

  • Simplify. Don't over complicate products and services. If it's a holiday loan, call it a holiday loan;
  • Dedicate more resources to staff training and development;
  • Focus on big ideas;
  • Revamp and modernize old policies and procedures; and
  • Get out more; don't wait for them to come to you.
He also noted that financial literacy is an excellent way to reach a younger audience. "If your credit union isn't offering financial education, this should become a top priority in your strategic planning initiatives," he said.

Also, stop trying to come up with clever names for the sales process, and stop being afraid of the idea of selling, McDonald added.

"Sales is not a dirty word," he said. "We've got to stop thinking that all sales is pressure-selling."

Credit unions simply must approach the sales process in a different way, he explained. "Credit unions are in the relationship-building business and that is how you redefine the selling process," McDonald concluded.

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