Usually forgotten and unloved, this dusty demon of the desk drawer can guide you to incredible results if you know how to harness its power. But ignore it at your peril, because the Static Strategy Monster can easily short-circuit lofty goals and send your results crashing back down to reality.
Of course, that assumes you created a strategy to begin with, before you stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it. Lots of CU marketing departments seem to skip this step, jumping right into the thick of a marketing campaign, simply believing everything will all work out in the end.
And who can blame them? Creative concepts and visuals are fun, while the Static Strategy Monster can be a dull, tedious, time-consuming bore that zaps you when you least expect it.
But when grounded, the Strategy Monster can become a powerful source of energy for your marketing:
Lower the product bar to reasonable.
No one is going to move their checking account to your credit union because of one campaign. Pick only your best products to promote – the ones that that are most likely to connect with your target audience – credit card, car loan, P2P app, financial advisor, whatever – that are quick to process, make your audience happy, and make you look better than the competition.
Once you pick the product, set reasonable goals. Challenging is fine, but they shouldn’t be out of reach. That way, when you meet and/or exceed them, everyone is happy.
Find out what your competition offers, to whom, and where.
How does your product compare to theirs? Is yours more appealing, or so similar that you have your work cut out for you? Are they targeting a general or specific audience? Where are they trying to reach this group, and how are they pitching to that audience? Where’s the gap you can slide into?
Get extra picky about your audience.
The stronger the connection between your product and your audience, the better your results will be. So it doesn’t matter if your FOM includes everyone in the Tri-County area. You can’t be everything to everyone, so work to be Extra Special for a smaller group instead.
Split that group even further if your target group has two or more age ranges, income levels, or lifestyles. They are going to be interested in different things.
Look for the potential power users in each set. They’re the influencers that you need to reach, that will share their amazing experiences with your product – and they don’t have to have the last name of Kardashian to be worthy of some extra attention.
Now make that audience even smaller.
Your small number of target audience(s) should now be boiled down to individuals you can vividly imagine.
Because while no one knows how to make middle income females 24-30 happy*, anyone with a modest amount of empathy and imagination can figure out what Maria might need to handle her car worries, finish school, and start to build a better life for her kids.
Using personas, or characterization, is an overlooked and under-used technique that allows you to make your strategies and stories real and relevant to real, relevant people.
Find out where they spend their time.
The amount of time you spend on Facebook doesn’t translate to everyone else. Your audience may be on Reddit, Snapchat, or Pinterest. Email skews older, texts younger. Direct mail still works for one niche, while outdoor is still seen by commuters in the ‘burbs.
Plan your media strategy according to where they spend their time, and what they prefer. Think multi-channel, and don’t be afraid to experiment and switch platforms in order to boost results.
Use digital tools to help prove what works. And what doesn’t.
At minimum, make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website and pull reports to know your baseline usage. Build landing pages into every major campaign, with easy-to-use ways for visitors to text, chat or email with (and get answers from) someone at the Credit Union.
Consider adding a Facebook Pixel or Google Adwords plugin to your WordPress CMS that will allow you to remarket to those visitors once they leave your site and visit others. Plan on a series of emails instead of just one, and make sure you track opens and click-throughs. If you have a CRM, build in a drip campaign for reinforcement.
Be ready to make connections from each element in your media mix to upticks in loans made/products used, and to change gears if you don’t see any needle movement.
Now, feel that energy?
That spark all around you, just waiting to let go? Your strategy is no longer static. It’s empowering.
Which means it’s time to cut loose with some amazing creative.
*Just kidding. Really.