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?

Adam is a Relationship Development Leader at YMC with a diverse background in the financial industry. Having lead teams at several financial institutions, Adam got the opportunity to see how credit union marketing directly impacts the members it’s designed to serve. Got an idea you want to share with him? Contact him at adam@yourmarketingco.com

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