Free stuff is good

Everyone loves free marketing, right? Then why don’t wee see more credit unions taking advantage of holiday marketing?

As is always the case, Google had a “doodle” of their logo of for Saint Patrick’s day last week. Google has made it a point to create doodles of their logos for darn near every holiday possible. They even did a doodle to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the patent for a bar-code.

Google's Saint Patrick's Day Logo

Newegg, a major online electronics retailer, even gets into the holiday spirit with their own customized holiday logo.

Newegg's Holiday Logo

So what does all of this mean to credit unions?

Credit unions can stay relevant and fresh with only minor tweaks to your brand.
Your brand is not set in stone. It is not a palette of 3 colors that you must always use.
Take advantage of the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Oscar the Grouch’s birthday.

These “holidays” give a marketer a tremendous amount of material to create new campaigns to entice new members, and existing members, to strength their relationship with the credit union. Run a promotion that makes Oscar the Grouch (aka the CFO) cranky. And pitch it like that.  Don’t forget the upcoming Earth Day. But do forget the overused “Plant a tree for switching to e-statements.” You just missed National Pie Day on January 23rd, which was your chance to hold a pie fundraiser. Sell pies at $10 a piece to throw at your local branch manager to raise funds for Credit Union for Kids or your own charity. But be careful not to encroach on someone’s protected trademark.

Whatever your do, do it well and do it different. Your members will love you for it.

When Google/Microsoft/BofA/Wamu enters your market

Bank of America is still building out branches and their ATM structure like crazy.  Wamu is every where.  We even have super tough competition coming in from CU’s that historically have been in other cities and are 5 times our size.  What is a credit union to do?

Google just stepped into the browser marketplace with Chrome.  Building on other open source projects, they’ve thrown their development staff and large stash of capital behind launching a new browser project.  It is different then most other browsers, is smokin’ fast, and combines many common tasks into a simple process, like search.  Go figure.

The competition in the credit union space is only going to get worse.  In my CUSO side of life, there is really only one main competitor and they own the entire marketplace.  They are the Microsoft of my market.  So what are small CU’s, or small CUSO’s, going to do to stay alive?  Can we really survive based solely in niche markets?