I love this week. From a marketing perspective, we no longer have to fear turning on our televisions without the TiVo control velcroed to our hip so we can avoid the barrage of Christmas ads. AND all of the Year In Review shows start airing.

It’s nice closure. A cleansing of sorts.

So I offer my year-in-review of the best and worst marketing moments:

Old Marketing (aka the worst)

The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. I’ve been reluctant to poke fun at this because I know that several credit unions sponsor sports. And in some markets I do believe it makes sense. They are very local and very small events that rely on sponsorship. Not to say this bowl game is huge but it’s certainly big enough to be televised.

Which is why it made my list. I think the Mental Floss blog sums it up nicely:

“If you’re like me, you were probably sitting around last Thursday night mulling the logistics of a hypothetical move to San Diego. If I took a county job, where would I do my banking? I couldn’t have been alone in this conundrum. The entire nation was wondering, and if they’d been watching the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, they would have known. Does a local credit union really need the national exposure of sponsoring a bowl game? If you’ve got a more efficient idea for letting people in Vermont know about the 4.00% APY they could be earning with an average daily balance over $100,000 in the credit union’s Money Market Max account, I’d like to hear it.”

Worst marketing also goes to Sun State Credit Union’s attempt to offer “lower rates on loans” by charging crazy fees. This member’s experience made the local paper not once, but twice.

Brand is your reputation. Not your name, logo, or tag line. Sun State has a tough road ahead, in my opinion, to overcome this negative image. CUES Nexus has a great blog post today relating to this issue as well.

and…….drum roll please.

The worst I-still-cannot-believe-credit unions-are-doing-this marketing goes to anyone who still uses pre-fab direct mail pieces. I don’t care if they are free. You get what you pay for – and it looks like you don’t care. There I said it – again.

Now for the best Modern Marketing examples of 2007:

Any credit union that paid an extraordinary dividend this year. (applause, applause). I cannot think of a better example of “how we are different than banks” than this.

One such credit union shared a letter from a member that received her dividend. Her closing statement was this: “When I look at my account and see the heading ‘extraordinary dividend’ I will be thinking ‘extraordinary credit union.’ I sincerely thank you and your staff for your generosity and I look forward to many more years as a member of this fine institution.” That’s good stuff.

To all those pioneering credit unions that have a blog. For jumping into this new and scary territory and taking a chance. To William Azaroff for showing us the way.

To any credit union that asked their members the ultimate question in 2007. “How likely are you to recommend your credit union to a friend, family member or co-worker?” aka Net Promoter Score. Word of mouth is modern marketing. It always has been and always will be the best and most effective tool we have.

Happy New Year!

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