CU Gives Away 70 Prizes In 70 Days To Mark 70 Years

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GRANITE CITY, Ill.-GCS FCU is making a big splash with its 70th anniversary celebration, but won't be breaking the credit union's marketing budget in the process.

The $278-million CU is giving away 70 prizes in 70 days, including a grand prize trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic-and the promo's prizes should cost the CU less than $350.

Marketing manager Traci Louvier said credit unions have to get creative with their marketing budgets and leverage partnerships they already have. "The times simply demand it," she said.

From Jan. 10 to March 20, GCS FCU will draw a name each day from entries received through a special contest page on the credit union's website that's also linked to from a local radio station's website. GCS FCU is partnering with Khits 96 to run and promote the giveaway. Daily prizes include two tickets ($20 value) to a Gateway Grizzlies minor league baseball game and a $5 coupon good for a share draft deposit the CU expects will lead to new members.

"We decided to stretch out the promotion so more people recognize this is our 70th anniversary, and that we have been supporting the community for a long time," said Louvier.

GCS FCU sought to develop a prize package that had value, but could be assembled affordably. The Grizzlies tickets are free to the CU, as it holds the naming rights to the Grizzlies stadium. The trip-five days and four nights to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic-was donated by Apple Vacations in trade for GCS FCU placing the travel agency's logo on giveaway promo materials.

Above the potential $350 price tag for the share draft deposits if everyone takes the credit union up on the deposit offer, are costs related to the radio station's efforts. But Louvier said those expenses are reasonable since the radio station will benefit from the giveaway, as its website will receive traffic from CU members.

Louvier believes the giveaway pays off many ways: stronger name awareness, new members, and an avenue to promote credit union products. "We plan to do some other smaller promotions. We'll tell members to come back to the giveaway sign-up section of our website, and to our main website after the giveaway is over, for special discounts on loans, mobile banking, and other things. We think driving members to our website is a great way to increase membership."

But Louvier stressed the celebration is not a membership drive. "That is secondary. We are more interested in just drawing attention to the credit union and our 70th anniversary this year."

The giveaway is being promoted by the radio station through on-air announcements and e-mail blasts to their listeners. GCS FCU has sent out a press release, has in-branch materials, and is taking out newspaper ads. Branch PCs used by members for online banking are also serving as terminals that link to the contest's sign-up page.

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