Does your credit union have the right marketing budget?

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One of the most common questions I get is, ‘how much should we spend on marketing?’ If I had the magic answer to that, my bum would be sitting on the sand of a Cayman beach and not a care in the world.

A magic number doesn’t exist, however, here are four factors to remember to find the right answer for your credit union.

  1. Consider it re-investing in your credit union. Marketing is not a mere expense. I see claims as vast as 1% to 30% of revenue reinvestment is needed to experience desirable growth. Let’s find the middle ground. In 2022, Nielson found that the average brand re-invests 3.8% of its revenue back into marketing. However, that’s still not your magic number. That number should increase if you are up against big brands that have a larger share of mind in your market. That number will also depend on the maturity of your credit union brand and current share of mind in your market. All too often I hear, ‘We are the best kept secret!’ – instant red flag that you haven’t dedicated enough to brand awareness.
  2. How much are your competitors spending? Let’s dive deeper into No. 1. Your marketing budget shouldn’t be a copycat game. It’s always good to have an idea of what you are up against, but that shouldn’t dictate your credit union marketing budget. Consider how the (now Coca-Cola-owned) sport-drink brand BODYARMOR, which challenged the PepsiCo-owned Gatorade brand with a fraction of the latter’s budget, by targeting niche communities and building brand advocates. With less budget and a more intentional strategy, BODYARMOR tripled its market share over a two-year period.
  3. Identify a clear ideal member. Once you have done that understand the unique financial problems your ideal credit union member is struggling with and make a case for your solution. Our strategy at YMC is to find ways to educate and engage (and sometimes entertain) that ideal member to stand out from the clutter of the competition of big banks and fintechs. Once you know who your ideal member is, you can also narrow down where you are spending your credit union marketing budget for a better ROI.
  4. Are you playing the long game, or do you need quick wins? I’m not a fan of quick wins. I call it “cocaine advertising.” You do a hit, and when you stop you come off the high of growth and must go back and do it again. Bigger. And with more money. But sometimes it is necessary.

When you play the long game and play it well, you won’t see the instant results in 30 days, but over the course of 12 months you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results.

As you navigate the complexities of planning your credit union marketing budget, remember that success will lie in finding the right balances. Reflect on the insights above, assess your budget against these, and be proactive in adapting to the evolving needs of your ideal member.

Outsourcing your marketing to an agency with experience in your niche is a great way to ensure clarity and strategic wins, so you won’t have to take a ‘hit’ again. Are you ready to navigate marketing in your FOM with precision while adapting proactively? Let’s talk!

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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!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” 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

Copywriter

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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