In just a couple of days it will be two thousand ten. 2010. Ten years since Y2K – 10 years to – wait for it — 2020…..

And so I’ve decided to rename my blog and the book I’ve been writing to:

The 2020 Vision of Marketing.

I’ve been eulogizing the death of traditional marketing for most of 2009 – and now it’s time to look forward. What will marketing look like in the year two thousand twenty – 2020?  I’ve asked three marketing experts what they thought.

Here are the answers from James Robert Lay, Grower of Relationships at PTP New Media in Pasadena, Texas.

Denise:  What’s your 2020 vision of credit union marketing? Get it? The year 2020. Ten years from now? But seriously – what will it look like?

James Robert Lay: The credit union marketing landscape will be nothing like it is today in the year 2020.  The same can be true for any industry, not just credit unions.  The way organizations will market over the next 10 years will change tremendously.  Much of this change is due to two reasons.  The first reason is consumers are sick and tired of being bombarded by messages, some of them the same, every single day.  From TV to radio to direct mail, email, billboards, etc.

All these messages have created so much noise that we have been trained to block out everything.  This brings us to the second point in that organizations no longer control the message, the market does.  One way this can be seen is through the use of on demand access to content and media.  Don’t like commercials? Just DVR a show and blow through them.  The same can be true for radio with the rise of the iPod and satellite radio.  More importantly, with the rise of social media, organizations no longer control what is being said about their brand on a mass media level.

Credit union marketing in 2020 provides such a unique opportunity for credit unions to stop broadcasting messages to their members, get back to their grassroot foundations, and start connecting and listening to them.  It is through these personal interactions that the strongest, most powerful marketing channel can be cultivated, the member advocate, to go and help spread the good word of the credit union to their family, friends and community.

D:  If you had to pick one of the dying marketing mediums eulogized in my series (TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail)  to give life support to – which one would it be? Why?

JRL: Thats a good question.  For sure it would not be newspaper.  In my opinion, TV and radio are too broad of a marketing channel to really be effective.  In addition, more and more people will become immune to radio and TV advertising with DVR, iPods and satellite radio.  All that leaves is direct mail which can be effective when combined with non-traditional marketing.  We have seen this done before where a credit union sends out a targeted direct mail piece that includes a strong call to action to go online and do XYZ (not just a URL in 10 point font).

D:  What is your definition of social media?

JRL: I think a lot of people don’t understand or are afraid of social media because it is built around technology and can’t see past the zeros and ones.  However, social media is not about technology but instead social media is about sociology.  Its about connecting with people.  When we look at the history of the internet, Web 1.0 was a very static internet that connected documents together.  Web 2.0 on the other is a living, breathing, dynamic internet that connects people together.  The three keys in my book to social media success are to listen, learn and engage.  Too many times organizations try to turn social media channels (Twitter/Facebook) into another broadcast channel.

D: Music and video stores are almost extinct thanks to companies like Apple and Netflix. What industry do you think is on the verge of collapse? Why?

JRL: While I cant say for sure which industry is on the verge of collapse, I can say that any industry that does not or cannot adapt to changing trends will for sure go the way of the dinosaurs.  We are moving into a new era of business that is built around experiences.  Commodity industries, those where businesses provide the same product and service, will struggle to survive if they cannot learn to provide an experience that is different than the rest.

Take Starbucks for example.  Their entire business model was built on a commodity product, coffee beans.  They then became successful as they were able to take a commodity and capitalize on an experience.  You can go into any Starbucks and get the same experience.  The same look.  The same feel.  The same smell.  The same music.  As consumers, this makes us feel comfortable and their brand equity increases in our eyes.  We feel welcomed and loved.

To survive though, Starbucks however is having to change, adapt and adjust as new players enter the game.  The same can be true for credit unions as they really are in a commodity market and compete with other financial institutions.  When I ask credit unions, what makes you different, I typically get the same answers (rates and service).  However, this is not good enough as everyone else competes on rates and service.  To be successful in the future, I believe that credit unions will have to find a way to provide a unique, unforgettable experience that people remember, enjoy and want to experience again as well as share with others.

D: If Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos started a financial institution, how would they market it?

JRL: It would be heavily built around social and viral marketing.  It would be cool.  It would get people talking.  People would become believers and want to evangelize and help spread the word for them.  They would give away stuff for free to spark interest but not crappy pens and coozies.  Bright colors that are welcoming and inviting to complement and simple clean brand and tagline.  No fluff or marketing speak.  There would be no debit cards as your iPhone would be used for card-less transaction processing (even buying a coke from a machine).  You would be able to opt in to receive high customized and personalized alerts to your iPhone while providing an super easy way to opt out with one push of  button.  They would listen and evolve.

D:  Best and worst marketing moments of 2009. What comes to mind?

JRL: In my mind, the best and worst moment goes hand in hand.  It would have been early 2009 when Tropicana rebranded with a new look.  Pretty quickly a revolt followed but something amazing happened.  Social media gave them an ear to the market that they never had before to receive feedback so quickly.  They were able to listen to what their customers, their life blood, was saying and then quickly adapt and adjust going back to the previous brand.  This was pretty impressive to me that a larger organization on a national scale was able to listen, learn, engage and respond.

D:  Ginger or Mary Ann?

JRL: Um let me go hop on to catch some reruns of Gilligan’s Island and get back to you.

James Robert W. Lay founded PTP NEW MEDIA from his bedroom during college funded by selling his band equipment. It helped him pay for school. Five years ago he discovered credit unions and found success helping them build relationships with members online though web, viral and social marketing. James Robert also helped start the blog CU Grow and is the founder of CU*SWAG, a credit union viral t-shirt marketing concept.

He completed is MBA in 2006 at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He is on the faculty San Jacinto College, is married and enjoys traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures.

You can contact him at

Say Jay – forgot to ask you – “What’s the ‘W’ stand for?”