There is a rapid evolution occurring in the world of credit union marketing and branding—a series of fortunate events, if you will, that is elevating the strategic role and presence of marketing professionals.

In the not-too-distant past, if you’d given your marketing efforts a consistent brand look and feel, you’d done your job. Now, marketing priorities have broadened to place emphasis on integrating brand with culture and the execution of marketing strategies in a complex, dynamic and rapidly changing digital world.

The inextricable connection between brand and culture requires marketers to have an increased role organization wide, connecting all functions from operations to sales to product development to member experience.

The performance bar is at new heights. Marketers are expected to deliver well-crafted, comprehensive campaigns that generate a return on investment, create exceptional user experiences and maximize delivery channels. By necessity, the advanced knowledge and sophisticated skills required to be successful include:

  1. The ability to think strategically and back up ideas with execution;
  2. Deep, broad knowledge of financial services, consumer behavior and profitability drivers;
  3. Highly developed collaboration skills to help instill brand tenets, support cultural values and work to break down silos that get in the way of being a high-performing credit union;
  4. Marketing intelligence and ability to adapt proactively to impactful trends;
  5. Becoming more digitally focused, interpreting data and applying analytics, particularly to develop segmentation strategies to attract and retain profitable members;
  6. The ability to draw on experts, such as agencies, to fill specialized needs and manage a variety of roles and relationships; and
  7. Competency in all facets of digital marketing.

Unfortunately, many credit unions have not yet embraced the evolution of the strategic marketing profession. Leaders often question why, when their organization is successful, do they have to change so much? The answer is simple: What has helped them be successful in the past may not be the same thing that will work in the future. Undervaluing marketing may be a costly mistake. Credit unions with marketing efforts aligned to brand and culture find they drive efficiency and simplify their focus. That alone is worth elevating marketers to a higher profile, more strategic, executive-level role within their organizations.

Original article published on CUES Skybox Blog.


Karen McGaughey is VP Client Services and a Principal at Weber Marketing Group. She has over 20 years of experience in strategic marketing and branding and has earned the role of trusted advisor to many financial institution executives, having expertly guided their teams and Boards of Directors successfully through name and brand transformations, and marketing execution.

Join McGaughey and more thought-leaders in financial services marketing at  CUES School of Strategic Marketing™ I, July 17 – 19 and CUES School of Strategic Marketing™ II, July 20 – 21, both in Seattle. Attendees will take home knowledge and skills to share with their teams and lead organizational transformation.

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