Think big. Now think bigger.

Think big. Now think bigger.

If there’s one thing I wish I could shout into every credit union marketer’s ear, it’s this:


With every project. Every product, every campaign, every thing you do, every step of the way. It will make all the difference in your results, your experience, and your success.

Think about the biggest possible picture

What’s the main problem you’re working on right now? Ironing out the details of next month’s auto loan promo?

Now think bigger.

What’s the larger problem? Everyone needs loan growth. Is there a problem at your CU in particular?

Keep digging until you come to the root of the issue. Maybe you nose around and find out you’re turning down more car loan applications than you did 5 years ago. Ask “why” enough times, and you’ll find out there was a big layoff locally a few years back that shrunk your potential loan pool.

Meanwhile, you’ve been marketing the same old rock-bottom rates to the few remaining people with perfect credit. Maybe it’s time to reprice, revise your underwriting, retrain lending and collections staff, and revise your marketing message.

Take on a bigger role

This is a tough one for a lot of CU marketers. Marketers are people of action, and we love the details, the creative process, and the craft. But it’s far too easy to get lost in the forest of tasks, picking at the bark on one tree.

For example, how many CU marketers are deeply involved in the process of innovation and developing new products? You should be leading the charge to refine products and processes, not just left to try and market whatever’s there.

The same goes for service quality, processes, architecture, rates, policies, and many other areas outside the marketing “silo”.

Draw from a bigger pool of talent and experience

Are you the fingers or the brain? Credit union marketers in particular have an incredibly strong “do it yourself” ethic. But too often that leads to “do it ALL yourself” – which is a great way to burn out and stagnate.

You don’t have to know everything and do everything.

You have to manage the process.

Leverage all the brains and talents you can borrow, hire, or learn from. Find mentors and advisors outside your department. Look outside your walls. Go to conferences and meet your peers.

Make friends with younger people. Listen closely to more experienced people. Get to know your regulators, and develop deeper relationships and trust with vendors who understand your CU the best. 

Give us the big picture – bring us the big problems.

When you go to the doctor about a sore toe, she’s going to ask a lot of nosy questions about your diet, your sleeping habits, how you walk, and how much you exercise. She’s trying to get the big picture and take care of you, not just your big toe.

Same goes for any other professional. We need big-picture context and the high-level perspective so we can use our expertise to make your CU healthier.

Of course, these are just a few examples of ways you can think bigger, and every marketer and every CU are different. You may decide to you need to take bigger risks, set bigger goals, or even take some classes to build a bigger brain.

Thinking bigger is a crucial step in change and progress.

Brian Wringer

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