marketers who get the best results have a lot in common.

Building the ideal credit union marketer

Over the years, I’ve noticed that our most successful clients — the credit union marketers who get the best results and make this job a lot of fun — have a lot in common.

In fact, several years back, I started compiling a list of traits for our ideal client as a way to define our target market. And after a while, I started to notice that the list also looked a lot like an outline for an outstanding career in credit union marketing and management.

Of course, no one actually has ALL these traits, but we’ve found that the closer they get, the more the awards and successes tend to pile up!

Do you see yourself in this list? What would you add?

Thinks strategically

  • Comes to us with problems to solve and strategies to enact
  • Harnesses our expertise, creativity, and perspective
  • Understands that good marketing is a wise investment, not an expense
  • Understands that great marketing is an incredible investment
  • Thinks long-term, thinks in terms of strategy, not lists of tasks
  • Tracks ROI, not impressions
  • Understands “The Numbers” forward and backward, and exactly how marketing makes them move

Understands brand

  • Understands the power of a unique, true, and emotional brand
  • Understands brand continuity and flexibility
  • Holds the CU to a world-class standard for quality
  • Leads and lives the CU’s brand culture
  • Strong desire to tell the CU’s story and push it to greatness
  • Strong advocate for members and the member experience
  • Embraces new technology and media that serve the brand

Willing and able to act

  • Reports directly to the CEO (often has a VP title)
  • Integral part of management team – goes to the ALM meetings, Board meetings, etc.
  • Has strategic responsibilities and goals – performance judged on results and growth, not “neatness of desk” measures like % under budget
  • Has flexibility, authority, and access to resources needed to enact change, not just maintain status quo
  • Leads efforts to update, launch, and change products and procedures
  • Works with a management team that sees the value of investing regularly in marketing and has a strategy for revising investments on the fly based on ROI, strategy, and goals
  • Is willing to institute and campaign for needed changes (budget, culture, products)
  • Makes decisions promptly; delegates wisely

Has great communication skills

  • Has the talent to understand communication to target audiences very different than herself
  • Is willing to learn from us and peers
  • Is knowledgeable and willing to share
  • Communicates strategy and actions directly to the Board of Directors regularly
  • Able to talk “money-ish” with the CFO and “legal-ese” with Compliance


  • Confident, enthusiastic, often extroverted
  • Believes in the credit union difference just as much as we do
  • Frustrated with limitations, a little impatient, ready to push things along
  • Ability to be speak up quickly and clearly if something is not quite right
  • Willing to push the envelope; never settles for boring, mild, or bland


Not so ideal? Try this: “Helping the Not-so-Ideal CU Marketer.

Brian Wringer

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