by Ron Daly
Yes, I know. It’s a joke that’s getting less funny, because it’s slowly becoming reality. People are losing homes, jobs are disappearing, business is bad all around. And we, dear friends, are in an industry that is constantly under the microscope (read about the CU industry’s recent scrutiny on our other blog, the CU Soapbox). We’re on the tightrope, and we need to stand up straight and tall to get through.
Marketing suffers at a time like this. People and businesses trying to do more with less are often left with nothing at all. And while “no news is good news” applies in some aspects of life, it sure doesn’t work for the CU industry. A diminished marketing budget only means you have to be smart about spending.
Multiple studies show that companies that keep their messages and brands in the public’s eye during a recession often come through hard times much better than those that don’t. One such study, by MarketSense, proved the point with the 1989-91 recession: Brands such as Jif Peanut Butter and Kraft Salad Dressing increased advertising, and saw sales grow 57 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell stepped up promotion, increasing sales by 61 percent and 40 percent. But McDonald’s, which took the opposite approach, had a 28 percent decline in sales over the same period.
Case Study: Innovative Recession e-Marketing
Solidarity Federal Credit Union is taking an innovative approach to recession marketing: YouTube-style videos. The Kokomo, Indiana-based credit union is emailing promotional clips to targeted members, using short videos created in-house. Members tell their own stories about why they like the credit union’s services, such as electronic checking and at-home check deposit. And according to Vice President of Marketing Diana Tenbrook, members’ recommendations go a long way to boost credibility.
Tenbrook says the credit union began its unique approach to differentiate SOLFCU from its banking competitors. But with tighter budgets in today’s down cycle, the credit union has found email can extend its marketing efforts without draining resources.
SOLFCU uses DigitalMailer’s email engines to distribute the information. Here’s the latest SOLFCU latest video clip, where Jake and Kylie, a newlywed couple, discuss how they had to deal with enormous bank fees with no explanation!
“Emailing these clips has actually resulted in some viral marketing, with members spreading the word after viewing them,” Tenbrook said. “One of our members, who has a home-based business, told us people come up to her in the grocery store and say they’ve seen her in a Solidarity video.”
Using DigitalMailer’s email marketing service, SOLFCU can ensure that the emailed videos get to the inboxes of members who want to receive them. And with a high open rate of nearly 30 percent, the strategy is clearly working.