Memorable Credit Union Marketing Campaigns Come With Calculated Risk – Take It!

yellow man with teal blocks spelling out risk

“Risk is the clue that our dreams are both real and great.” – Craig D Lounsbrough When you think of life insurance commercials, what comes to mind first? Think about the most recent commercial you’ve seen and have that image in your mind. What did you see? What was spoken? For many, the answer to that question may be a montage of videos focusing on individuals or couples mostly in the later stages of adulthood. They are interacting with kids and potentially even grandkids. They might be tossing a baseball in the backyard, cooking together in the kitchen, or playing a heavily staged board game full of canned emotion. Words like strength, preparation and security are spoken or even flashed on the screen. Sound familiar? Even worse, I didn’t only describe a life insurance commercial to you, but most bank and credit union marketing campaigns that are on the air today. The fact is, in industries in which we evaluate others’ risks daily, we often over-evaluate our own. That’s why it’s so exciting when we see a commercial that’s outside the norm, that’s serious about helping people, that’s displaying their value proposition in a unique way! You may not be able to recall the company name of the most recent life insurance commercial you’ve seen or even the most recent bank commercial, but I sure can! Ladder Life Insurance decided to go another direction. You may have heard friends joke saying, “I’m worth more dead than alive.” This is a deprecating joke at the expense of good life insurance, but is it really? Ladder Life’s marketing team didn’t think so. In fact, their research is built around a unique consumer insight that 1 in 2 couples with life insurance joke about “taking each other out” for the payout. Their commercials show a naïve, happy-go-lucky father arriving home from work. With each frame, he faces a dangerous situation from various booby-traps laid in the house by his family who will benefit from his life insurance payout. Their tagline – Life Insurance So Good You Might Wish You Didn’t Have It. “So Good” is the central theme of their campaign in which they refresh their tagline with each new commercial or ad spot. The end results? A commercial, value proposition, and name that sticks with you long after the viewing. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself here. The payoff? An increase in revenue growth of 4.5x in 2021, the same year this campaign was launched. Check out what happens when Your Marketing Co. clients get real! We see daily that the credit unions taking on greater risk reap greater rewards. From those that step outside their comfort zones, the ones that lend heavily to B, C, D, or even E credit, the ones that give people second chances or the education to succeed, and the ones brave enough to give a crazy idea a second thought. Next time you’re considering commercials, ads, or radio spots – go for the idea that’s so crazy, it just might work! And if your credit union needs a hand, we’re here to talk.

Get Real With Your Credit Union Marketing

gray background with yellow person and teal book

With an ever-changing industry, national banks and fintechs leading digital transformation, large credit unions merging in a seemingly endless supply of boutique credit unions, and financial uncertainty abound at every turn, you may wonder, what is the best way to weather the storm and even grow through this inflation and unrest? The truth is this is a fantastic time for boutique and mid-sized credit unions to thrive! We see it every day and especially every quarter when we check Your Marketing Co.’s credit union performance statistics. How are the credit unions we have the honor of serving compared to their peers? CUNA’s monthly survey estimates a 0.4% growth in memberships in Q1 while YMC-partner credit unions averaged 1.61%for Q1. Loan growth again shows the tenacity and determination of our credit union partners showing an average growth of 13.26% compared to CUNA’s data that show 3.5% loan growth. Numbers do not lie, and the story they are telling is it is a great time to be a credit union seeking relevancy and growth. You may be reading these numbers, wanting to beat the averages, asking, “How can we reach those percentages?” If you want growth, start by injecting relevance into your credit union marketing campaigns. Look at what makes your credit union, your membership, and your area unique. Some of the best campaigns or promotions we’ve helped run haven’t been shortcutting rates, promising outlandish things or even guaranteed approval. They’ve been ones with imagery, copy, and giveaways hyper-focused on the local area where members live. Giving away crawfish in Louisiana, fireworks in Wyoming and Dollywood passes in Tennessee – any way credit unions can target members’ existing interests is sure to be a game-winning campaign. Auto promotions featuring images of the cars and trucks most driven in your area and mortgage promotions with images of obtainable, affordable homes versus unaffordable dream homes speak volumes to your ideal member. That festival or event you avoid because it’s too crowded or it’s always on the hottest day of the year, but you know your members are going? Find a way to leverage that into unique credit union marketing campaigns. Does a high percentage of your membership vacation in the same destination every year like a specific beach or area of the country? Make that a giveaway! Every city has a festival or event, a local restaurant, or even an experience like a backyard crawfish boil that makes it unique. Find those locations and opportunities that make your area unique and focus there. Want to get started? Here’s how you can help: Activities What does your ideal member do for fun? Local events, festivals, concerts, you name it and if the member does it, we should position it or sponsor it. Traditions What are those local traditions that seem commonplace? Chances are if you think it’s too common to use, so do your competitors. Let’s leverage those to illustrate we are more in sync with our members’ lives than the banks. Destinations Where does your member go? For example, some cities or states in the country have an unusually high number of residents that travel to one or two primary destinations (Ex. The most traveled destination for Hawaii residents is Las Vegas). Let’s leverage that for an awesome campaign! People feel a sense of pride in where they live and their local communities. Banks have routinely shut down neighborhood and rural branches and miss this opportunity in their marketing and branding. Credit unions can fill that gap – and take advantage of the attention. After all, we are the local choice. We are the best choice financial services option for consumers. Now, we must demonstrate we are the most relevant choice for them in your credit union marketing.

Soap Operas and Credit Union Marketing

Two bars on soap sitting next to one another on surface

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The best is yet to come.” ― Zig Ziglar We’re facing economic insecurity on a local and national level—there’s no denying it. With the recent GDP decline of 9.5% (-32.9% annualized), you may find yourself looking at the bottom line. You may even be thinking about how your credit union can regroup, scale back, and spend less. But what if you could work our economy to your advantage? Consider Proctor & Gamble’s strategy during the Great Depression. Other companies played it safe by cutting costs, pulling advertising, and weathering the financial storm. Not P&G. The economy was struggling, but people still needed to buy soap—so the leadership team made sure that their products were at the front of Americans’ minds. Instead of cutting their marketing and advertising budgets, P&G doubled down. Like a seasoned investor lowering their cost basis, they not only increased their budget, but also explored new avenues to reach their target market—most notably via the radio. Customers would have to buy soap from someone and P&G thought it might as well be from them. From 1930 onward, P&G created daily radio shows aimed at homemakers who were likely to purchase their products. This approach was so successful that by 1939, the company was producing 21 radio shows to support its other brands. In 1950, P&G released the first televised “soap” opera, defining a genre that would endure for generations. If not for the decisive actions of P&G’s Depression-era leadership, this story would have a different ending. But because of their strategic risk-taking, Procter & Gamble now ranks #71 on Forbes Global 2000 list and is worth $291 billion. How can you apply this to your credit union? A few steps to get you started: Do you want to meet the goals of your credit union, but are falling short? Does it leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed? Maybe your credit union marketing strategy needs a reset. As a team that has partnered with strategically focused credit unions for over a decade, we have crafted a unique time-tested action plan that brings clarity, breaks down barriers, leading to growth and the realization of your goals. Fill out the form below to learn how your credit union can set BHAGS for 2021 and achieve them!

3 ways to help your members (and prevent delinquency) before they know they need it

Mature financial planner sitting at his desk in an office working online with a laptop and going over documents

“There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear.” – Frank Tyger With many credit unions closing their lobbies and opting for drive-thru transactions and electronic servicing to practice safe social distancing, remember that this is a great opportunity to deepen relationships and increase member loyalty through proactive advising and empathy.  Many members are facing uncertainty with work, finances, and health. Now is the time they need an advisor or financial mentor the most. Being proactive with calling efforts to reach members before their financial bump becomes a financial hurdle can pay dividends not just for the member but for the credit union. Below are some tips on providing next-level member service and how it can positively impact your financial outlook for 2020. Each member’s situation is unique and needs to be treated as such. Due to this, it is of utmost importance to express empathy for what the member is experiencing.  Your team may just be the only one willing to help. It’s up to your team to be proactive and help the members.

Challenge Yourself

See no evil concept. Portrait of young scared woman covering eyes with hands while standing against gray studio background. Confused girl close eyes with palms ignoring something

A few years back during a Tim Barry concert, Tim dropped a piece of knowledge on the crowd between songs. He explained that he used to ride cargo trains (illegally) and that time period of his life is an influence for many of his songs. He continued, “I don’t know why I rode trains. I guess it was because it scared me and that’s what life is about – doing things that scare you because that’s how you learn and grow.”  This lesson stuck with me after leaving the concert that night – along with many other truths he spoke of between his songs. Now I’m not advising anyone to jump on a train or do anything illegal for the sake of growth, but I have to ask – are comfortable right now? Take a hard look at your role, your credit union, and your marketing strategy. Is your day more of a routine than a challenge? Are you doing anything that scares you? If not, it may be time to start. Look for opportunities to change the monotony of your day. Without pushing your personal boundaries or implementing a new process or plan for your credit union, you cannot expect to grow or learn. Is your marketing plan more of the usual than the unusual? It’s time to intentionally try new ideas for reach broader engagement. In the financial industry, we are so averse to risk and challenges. We love our credit reports, account history, past investment data, and historical findings. We find comfort with those.  Sometimes, the things that help us end up putting us in a loop of complacency and fear of the unknown. It’s time to break that cycle for the sake of opportunity. For your marketing endeavors, if you are using the same plan or strategy year after year, you’re most likely going to achieve the same result. This doesn’t have to be a drastic change. This growth or opportunity can start small and you can test the waters. Start by changing up your daily routine. Ask an employee you don’t have regular interaction with to join you for lunch. Maybe they have an idea for improvement that has gone unspoken. You might learn more about their experience or insight than what is listed on their resume. Consequently, you may improve that employee’s engagement through valuing their time and discussion. Take a few moments each week to visit a branch and greet members in the lobby. You might make the member feel like a millionaire because the CEO thanked them for their business. You’ll get to know your team better and gather insight on how that specific branch team operates each day. Take a chance on a new marketing promotion or idea. Someone has to be the first one to test an idea or try it out. Why not let your credit union be the first? Host a brainstorming session with your team. Find out what they think will work in their local market or what will attract the exact member you are trying to obtain. There will most likely be some ideas that are outlandish, crazy, too costly, or just plain bizarre. That’s not entirely a bad thing. Take those ideas, refine them, and take a calculated risk to achieve the desired result. Yes, you may have a promotion that completely flops. But it’s not an entire loss as you’ll learn a number of things in the process. A better scenario is one where you try a new idea that takes off. You can fine tune it and run it again for continued success. One real life example happened with a strategic credit union in California in 2019. The CEO realized the importance of trying new ideas and didn’t shy away from one he thought might work. One such idea was to host an afterhours event where potential members and existing members could get a free flight of beer, play financial based trivia games, and members of the credit union could build relationships in an informal setting. Success was designed to show an increase in new Millennial aged members. Ultimately, the event was a failure by this desired response but a success in many other areas. The staff and leadership were able to build relationships with their existing members. They received a number of mortgage and credit card referrals from the financial trivia game they played. Lessons were learned that night on how to improve the event in the future – primarily to hold the venue accountable to help ensure cross-promotion on social media. We learned to incentivize the existing members to bring non-member friends. We learned that existing members did not realize all the benefits they are receiving at the credit union currently. The credit union tried something new. It failed in bringing new Millennial relationships, but it did succeed in an unplanned way. This event will be fine-tuned and repeated quarterly along with more informal events scheduled this year.  The small amount of cost was more than paid for by the business that was uncovered. Again, you do not have to do anything that is illegal, unethical, or immoral to achieve growth or to learn. What you do have to do is a take an intentional step to break the monotony, step outside the box, and break the cycle. Let us know how we can help you accomplish this feat.  The next crazy, outlandish idea just may be your best yet. Likely, it’s not actually that crazy.  Even more likely, we can help you craft that outlandish idea into a crazy-good promotion that will positively impact your bottom line. What are you scared of?

Is Your Credit Union Holding Itself Accountable?

Black businesswoman addressing colleagues at a board meeting

“Where there is no accountability, there will also be no responsibility.” ― Sunday Adelaja Like any great sports team, a credit union team is only as strong as their least engaged teammate. The best teams in history have not had that one, singular all-star player but a collection of teammates who held each other accountable and accomplished their common goal. Think about what your credit union goals are for 2020. Can you accomplish them yourself? The answer is most likely no. Can you accomplish them working as a team? If each teammate holds themselves responsible and they hold each other accountable, the answer is absolutely! How do you foster an environment of team accountability? It starts with you. Most likely, you hold weekly or monthly one-on-ones with your direct reports. Is the talk purely numbers and goal driven? Break down the conversation to a more actionable level of interaction. Really discuss the how, in terms of process and technique, more than the what regarding numbers.  The goal is to uncover what steps are being taken on individual interactions with members to affect your bottom line. Make it mission driven instead of metric driven. If the mission is effective, the metrics will follow suit. This may sound counterintuitive but remember, if you focus more on the destination and not on the path, the destination will take longer to reach. Start by reviewing new memberships and loan applications for the prior week. Collect a sample size of each and discuss with your leadership team what you find. A couple of things to look at to get started: To transform the level of accountability in your organization, there are actionable steps you can take: Foster the process of accountability with your leadership team. You will need their buy-in before you can get the engagement from frontline staff. Stress the importance of accountability not from the credit unions perspective but from the benefit of the member. Afterall, the member is who we serve and it’s the member who deserves the best that we can deliver.  “Make yourself accountable and your employees will hold themselves to a high standard.” ― David J. Greer

Let's Get Started!

Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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