Tight Marketing Budgets Only Add To Importance Of Selecting A Partner

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Doing more with less. It's a concept that has become prevalent in today's tough economic times. It is no surprise that marketing budgets are often among the first expenses to be cut, but experienced marketers know that maintaining these investments are crucial during economic downturns. Seasoned professionals are finding ways to meet these challenges with money-saving, value-added solutions. They're coming up with ideas to help credit unions do marketing on a shoestring budget that will meet their central need: to satisfy their members.

An ideal way for credit unions to reach their members and save money is through a marketing partner with a proven track record. For anyone outside the credit union to market to credit union members, they must understand the protective relationship. The credit union needs to trust that the company will add value for their members and keep them happy.

Insurance is a central need among credit union members. Consider low-cost, turn-key benefits programs when marketing insurance products to members. The marketing company does the leg work at virtually no cost to the credit union. They create, market and execute the materials and pay for the administrative and other costs. Members receive high-value insurance products without expense to the credit union because they generally are not required to pay a front-end fee.

Many benefits are created through the partnership. When the credit union works with credible marketing professionals, it can feel confident they know their product and that they will be successful. It allows for experienced people in the insurance business to work directly with their members, leveraging the value they receive as part of the union. This in turn enhances the credit union's relationship with its members and meets their needs. The marketer offers a no-cost, value-added proposition for the credit union. The financial cooperative can enter this partnership with virtually no risk, from a financial or marketing aspect. Good companies and employees who have been in the business for a long time usually have the infrastructure to support the needs of clients, regardless of size. A company with a good reputation should provide a higher level of service to credit unions of any size and scale.

Also Worth Noting

In times of tight budgets, a central focus should be on offering high-value products to members without worrying about the expense of marketing. Dealing with a trusted company means they know their product, program and audience. Professional marketing programs can satisfy members, which in turn leads to retention. Because credit unions are more member-oriented than profit-oriented, loyal members are crucial to their success. More results can be achieved with less simply by enhancing the relationships with current members of the credit union. They are the most valuable asset the credit union has.

These direct response programs are designed to help financial institutions market themselves cost effectively by targeting the current membership base. Choosing a marketing company that knows your audience means they understand the unique difference between credit unions and other financial institutions and that the target audiences are also the part-owners. They are the ones who vote when election time comes around for the board of directors and who share in the "profits" in the form of dividend distribution. Building on the intelligence you have is a must in order to develop the client relationship.

Increasingly Critical

Because each credit union is defined by its own field of membership, insurance marketing companies can tailor insurance packages for specific demographics. Understanding members' credit needs will help focus and maximize the efficiency of the credit union marketing strategies.

It is becoming increasingly critical that credit unions market their differences and the unique ways in which they meet members' needs. Credit unions are more successful than other financial service providers in creating stronger, deeper relationships with their members. They have a recognizable advantage over bank competitors because of their historic low-cost approach to products and services.

Most credit unions follow the creed "once a member, always a member." That signifies long-term relationships and means the members are not faceless customers. In direct marketing campaigns, members want to know they are more than merely a number. Those who are treated in a personal way will act more favorably. Members should know the credit unions will go the extra mile to meet their needs, whether it be a small or large service.

Choosing A Partner

The financial landscape in today's world is constantly changing. While experts are optimistic the economy will improve, it is clear that companies may remain hesitant when it comes to spending marketing dollars. Seasoned professionals know the importance of marketing in any successful program or campaign.

A sure way to be financially conservative during these times and achieve desired results of a marketing campaign is to use a reputable partner who will do the work for you at no charge. Use companies that provide high-value service and products with no financial risk. That means selecting a partner with a proven track record that will understand your needs to deliver results and enhanced relationships for you and your members.

Dave Curtiss is vice president-direct marketing with Progeny Marketing Solutions, Nashville, Tenn. For info: www.progenymarketing.com.

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