Ten Pearls of Wisdom for CU Marketers

Realize that changing people is near impossible.

November 20, 2013

Effective marketers know they’re unlikely to change their target audience, says marketing consultant Barry Callen.

Therefore, marketers need to find ways to build on member relationships and connect with what members “already care about and believe,” he says.

Despite his success as a marketer over the years, Callen is confident he’ll never know everything about marketing. “One of the traps for marketers is to think they know,” says Callen, author of “Perfect Phrases for Sales and Marketing Copy” and “Manager’s Guide to Marketing, Advertising, and Publicity.”

He offers these 10 pearls of wisdom for credit union marketers:

1. The power of marketing lies in humility and acceptance. Good marketers aren’t arrogant.

2. Effective communication relies on a set of highly dependent variables. Each market is different and each credit union is different.

3. General principles apply, but it’s critical to find out what your audience wants and test your messages.

4. Zig when others zag. Dare to be different. This takes a lot of guts to do because we all have a sense of what a professional credit union ad and other materials should look like.

5. Psychological trumps logical. Aim for the heart, not the head. The heart beats up the head and takes its lunch money every time.

6. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re lucky and have a winner, stick with it. Winners aren’t easy to find.

7. Always consider multiple ideas for testing. Sometimes good ideas are dead wrong. It’s all about detective work.

8. It’s easy to unintentionally market to yourself instead of your audience if you’re passionate about a cause, surrounded by true believers, and have spent your entire life working for that cause.

9. One of the most dangerous things you can do is to think you know what your target market wants. It will surprise you every time.

10. Accept and respect your audience. Don’t force your ideas on them. Changing people is hard to do.