On the importance of knowing

Author: Debra  //  Category: Communicating, Marketing

There are a lot of different ways of running a department and a lot of different leadership styles.   Not all work, purchase and not all fail.  What’s really important is evaluating and re-evaluating to make sure that what we have is actually working.

The biggest frustration I have as a relatively new team member is that I don’t always know what to expect.  I know that the marketing manager juggles a wealth of knowledge in our department, pharmacy and I want to tap into that.

I have an agenda.  I admit it freely.  I want to see our department run smoother, with less panic moments.  I believe with all my decades of business experience that in an industry like ours, if it’s a recurring event on an annual basis, we should know about it.

On Wednesday, I’m going to try once again to pitch the idea of creating a Marketing Calendar that has ONLY the annually recurring events and the dates they occur.  This will allow me to plan my tasks far more effectively and I also believe that it will benefit the entire department to have a year view in mind when we are asked about what we’re doing.

Personally, I would love to look at the Calendar in March when I have some time to think and see that Credit Union Appreciation Day is in October and start to brainstorm ideas on how we can make that a really memorable event.  I need to know that I can’t slate time in August for Back to School planning during the Member Appreciation/Sweepstakes event since all resources will be put toward that event.  I need to start thinking about promotions for Graduates in January, not in May when it’s too late.

This should be an easy sell, but it’s not my first attempt.  If necessary, I will push this individually until I can build the calendar on my own.  It’s just that important.

My head is full of ideas!

Author: Debra  //  Category: General, Marketing

On website improvements:
I am currently writing a web survey that will allow me to ask the people who visit our site what they like, dermatologist dislike, patient need, click and use.   When I started writing it I thought “Grand!  Input is a wonderful tool!” and then I started realizing what an incredible can of worms I was opening up.  Asking for hundreds of people to tell me what they want, what they like, what they dislike.  It nearly took my breath away.  But I’m ready for it.  I’m thickening my skin and I’m going to listen to all the comments I get through August and see if I can’t make something from the input that is even better than what I think I can do right now.

On assuring our members
I have been reading about the ways other credit unions have addressed the topic of the recent bank failures.  Yesterday I had an idea and created a poster for the branches to let our members know that they don’t need to take to stuffing their mattresses with their savings to feel secure.  I have buy-in from our CEO to write something I can put up on the web to help our members realize their in good shape.  It shocked me to discover that everythingCU is reporting that 66% of CU members don’t realize their money is insured, and insured with a fund that’s as strong or stronger than FDIC.

On marketing ideas
I’ve been out looking at other websites for inspiration.  I saw a program that used a drawing for a really cool prize to get people to refer friends and family.  We’ve offered money in a tiered program before with decent results, but nothing that would have inspired me.  I think that I’m a pretty decent representation of a member.  I’m not saying I’m ‘every member’ by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m in my mid 40’s with some disposable income, a retirement date in mind, a regular income, female, middle class and interested things that I might not actually purchase, but would enjoy.  The prize was a Fruit of the Month club subscription.  I would love that!  And I bet others would as well.  I am not that motivated by $5 or $10 or even $25 for a referral.  I can’t say why for certain, but I know I wouldn’t go out of my way to nudge friends and family to open an account with us for money.   But hands down I would for the chance to get a Harry & David fruit box for a few months!

I am also going to really push that we have something in place for graduating members in the spring of 2009.  I didn’t do an adequate job of selling this idea to management so that it was acted upon this year, but the more I think about it and the more I talk to people in other departments who would offer it, the more I am convinced that we have a need in our membership for this.  Right now I’m thinking of packaging a Visa and a First Car Loan along with a e.Rewards checking account.  I need to put together a sample package to take to management.

Lots of stuff rattling around up here!  Time to put it to use.

New Places to Touch our Audience

Author: Debra  //  Category: Marketing, Technology

I am thrilled that our Board of Directors accepted the proposal to turn our plain jane ATMs into marketing tools.

Sometime in the next few weeks I will be adding a new line item to the ever growing list of marketing touch points I manage.   Thanks to a product called Campaign Manager, malady the screens on our ATMs will never be boring again.  The welcome screen will have rotating messages, information pills and I will be able to customize the “please wait” and “thank you” screens to communicate messages to our members, and different messages to non-members using our ATMs.  I can also ask if they want additional info or to be contacted.  They get to choose.  I like that bit as it means this won’t be annoying, just informative!

Doing the ROI on this was fascinating for me, because I hadn’t seen just how many member and non-member transactions were done on our ATMs in a month’s time.   The cost ends up being about 4 cents for every transaction.  I can’t think of a lot of ways I can tell folks about what we can do to help them financially for so little money!

I love doing a coordinated marketing campaign where we can put our message out with a cohesive look at all touch points.  I don’t do the literature or TV ads, but I do the animated flat screen ads in the branches, the LED signs on the street, posters in-house, and the web pages and banner ads.  Now I get to add our ATMs to that mix!

Is this earth shattering? No.  But I do think it will be a fun and fascinating item to track and see if we can generate more members from non-members, and engagement from current members.


Author: Debra  //  Category: Marketing

At what point do you run screaming with your hands flailing about your head when it comes to determining what tools you need to do your job.

I’m almost at the yell and flail stage, information pills but I may have a few more months left in me still.

We have this incredible tool for disseminating the information of our core data system. No one has ever gotten truly worked up over this program, though. It’s a tad intimidating on first (second…third) look. But there was something truly alluring to knowing that if I could make it past all the obscure codes and seemingly senseless placement of pertinent info, that I could build beautiful reports that would become like neon signs telling us just what our members need!

You’re looking at me weird now, I can feel it. Yeah, the graphic artist part of me is competing with the techy geek and I still have no idea which will come out ahead.

But I feel this delightful flush of eagerness to look at the cold data and make it into reports that let us take a look at the lives of our members and help develop products that will make a difference in the quality of those lives.

I’m looking at our purpose and mission.

Purpose: To enrich peoples lives by providing opportunities to prosper.

Mission: To provide financial services that are in our members best interest and to serve them not once, but for a lifetime.

I think this tool will help me do this. But it’ll be ages before I master it. Perhaps that’s the allure after all

So…what’s next?

Author: Debra  //  Category: Marketing

Tomorrow I am giving part one of a two part presentation to the CU management team.   My teammate for the presentation is the compliance officer.  We went to a wonderful seminar given by CUES in Minneapolis last month.  The conditions for us going was to bring back useful information and then share it.

I’m thrilled to be able to do a brain dump to management about the great ideas we picked up.  I think that the best part was the solid “if you’re going to do it…avoid these pitfalls” info.

This blog is my personal blog, rubella but I want to bring blogging to the CU.  There are just a lot of things we need to agree upon and then get buy-in for before we proceed.  There are some truly amazing CUs out there that have done the social networking part so well that it will be hard to put out anything that is less phenomenal and expect to be heard or taken seriously.  If we can’t do it right, then we really should be putting our efforts into another place where we can be at the top of our game.

My goal tomorrow is to get management as excited as I am with these ideas.