CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference

Sell Your Ideas to the CEO

Think strategically and be familiar with CU ratios.

March 14, 2014
Marketers that want to sell their ideas to the CEO need to think more strategically, Sean McDonald (above) said during a Thursday breakout session at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Orlando.
That means talking like the CEO thinks: Strategically and analytically with a focus on numbers, says McDonald, business development director at Mid-State Federal Credit Union in Cartaret, N.J
Strategic thinking requires a basic understanding of financials, such as the campaign’s return on investment, potential effects on the credit union’s loan-to-share ratio, and other information.
He cites four strategies for selling marketing ideas to the CEO:
1. Talk the talk. Understand how credit union financials work and how marketing promotions will affect the credit union and its ratios.
“The CEO needs to see that you’ve done the analysis, so inundate the CEO with data,” McDonald advises.
“Marketers need to start thinking and talking more about strategy,” he continues. “The marketplace and expectations of marketers have changed. We need to increase our knowledge to move ahead. If you want to earn a seat at the strategic planning table, you need to talk the talk.”
2. Determine the value to the credit union and members. Make sure the effort adheres to the credit union’s values statement.
A values statement outlines why members should do business with you. “It must go beyond ‘service,’” McDonald says, because “service” is no longer a differentiator—everyone says their service is the best.
If your credit union doesn’t have a values statement, offer to help create one. “It will impress the CEO,” he says.
3. Compose financial projections. Analyze member data to see where the opportunities are.
Look at similar campaigns and examine the results for insights.
4. Be prepared. “If you go into a meeting late or unprepared, you’ve lost immediately,” McDonald says. “The CEO can be late but you can’t.
“Rehearse—make a pitch to someone else in advance,” he continues. “Be ready to answer the questions you anticipate the CEO will ask. If you care enough about your job, you’ll go through all of this work.”
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