Crafting a Strategic Marketing Plan for Credit Unions


In this very competitive financial landscape, credit unions have no choice but to differentiate themselves to attract and retain members. A well-crafted, strategic marketing plan is essential to making this happen. It’s not all inclusive, but here’s a peek behind the curtain of how we craft our credit union strategic marketing plans, walking you through a plan that aligns with your credit union’s mission while also driving growth and member engagement.

Step 1: Understand Your Credit Union’s Mission and Goals

Every credit union marketing plan starts with a clear understanding of your credit union’s mission, vision, and long-term goals. That is, assuming you have a well-defined mission and vision (if not, we start there)! This ensures your marketing efforts are aligned with the overall direction and ideals of your organization.

  • Mission Statement: Reflect on your credit union’s mission. How does it serve the community? What are its core values?
  • Goals: Identify both short-term and long-term goals. These could include increasing membership, improving member engagement, or enhancing financial education programs.

Step 2: Define Your Ideal Member (Target Audience)

I like using the term “ideal member” for your target audience. An ideal member is the one member you can point to and say, “This is the one member I would duplicate a thousand times to bring to our credit union.” Understanding your ideal member is crucial for effective marketing. Segment your audience based on demographics, psychographics, and behaviors to better understand your ideal member.

  • Member Demographics: Age, income level, occupation, and family status.
  • Psychographics: Interests, values, and lifestyle choices.
  • Behavioral Data: Spending habits, product usage, and engagement with your credit union.

Step 3: Set SMART Marketing Objectives

Your marketing objectives should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These objectives will guide your marketing strategies and tactics.

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress.
  • Achievable: Set realistic, attainable goals.
  • Relevant: Ensure those objectives align with your credit union’s mission and goals.
  • Time-bound: Set a timeframe for achieving those objectives.

Step 4: Develop Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Based on your objectives, create strategies and tactics that will help you achieve your goals. These should leverage strengths and opportunities while addressing weaknesses and threats.

  • Content Marketing: Create valuable content that addresses the needs and interests of your members. This could include blog posts, newsletters, webinars, and social media updates.
  • Digital Marketing: Utilize SEO, email marketing, and online advertising to effectively reach your target audience.
  • Community Engagement: Participate in community events, offer financial education workshops, and build partnerships with local organizations.
  • Member Experience: Focus on improving the overall experience of your members through personalized services, responsive customer support, and convenient, digital banking options.

Step 5: Allocate Resources and Budget

Determine the resources and budget required to implement your marketing plan. This includes financial resources, staffing, and technology.

  • Budget: Allocate funds for each marketing activity, including advertising, content creation, and events.
  • Staffing: Ensure you have the right team in place to execute your marketing strategies. This might involve hiring new staff or providing additional training for current employees.
  • Technology: Invest in the necessary technology and tools, such as marketing automation software, CRM systems, and analytics platforms.

Step 6: Monitor, Evaluate, and Adjust

Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing plan. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track progress and make informed, data-driven decisions.

  • KPIs: Track metrics such as membership growth, engagement rates, and ROI.
  • Evaluation: Conduct regular reviews of your marketing activities to assess their impact.
  • Adjustment: Be prepared to adjust your strategies and tactics based on your findings. This will ensure your marketing plan remains dynamic and responsive to changes in the market and your members’ needs.

Creating a credit union strategic marketing plan is essential to thrive in today’s competitive environment. By understanding your mission, defining your ideal member, setting SMART objectives, developing effective strategies, allocating resources, and continually monitoring your progress, you can build a marketing plan that drives success and fosters strong member relationships. Remember, a successful marketing plan is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process of evaluation and adaptation.

Are you struggling to craft a marketing plan that aligns with your goals and achieves success? For over 15 years, we’ve worked with hundreds of credit unions to attract and retain new members and loans. We can help yours, too. Just email Bo for a no obligation conversation and let’s see where it goes.

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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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