Why Marketing Isn't Just For Marketing Dept.

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LAS VEGAS-Marketing cannot be left solely to the VP of marketing; it must be done top to bottom, according to Sean McDonald.

"From tellers to the CEO, everybody needs to be engaged," said McDonald, chief marketing officer for $58.3-million Liberty Savings FCU, Jersey City, N.J. "Everyone needs to be on the same page, and everyone needs to have the same message."

McDonald, the new chair of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council. said during the group's recent annual meeting that this top-to-bottom approach will be one focus in 2011, as will be helping marketers help members make sense of new rules coming out of Washington.

"These messages are complex so it is difficult to streamline everything," he said. "We want to give members the information they need but we don't want to create a panic. I see the Council getting more involved in these efforts, and the overall financial literacy outreach. We want to give credit unions education and best practices on how to cultivate relationships with their members."

As for 2011, "We don't want to remain the best kept secret in financial services any more," he said, pointing to the new aSmarterChoice.org website from CUNA as a good, new tool.

McDonald said the use of Facebook and Twitter is "past the budding stages" and is a "very effective" tool for reaching younger people, but it's insufficient by itself. "We need to be there, because that is the place Gen Y and Gen Z go to get their gossip or to get their movie reviews. So that is where someone is going to say, 'I love my credit union. But we still need to use traditional media."

McDonald said that during the past 18 months there has been an increase in CU marketing budgets, but he expressed concern that marketing and training budgets are often the first casualties in tough economies.

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