The Magic Formula to Credit Union Marketing


I love interacting with people who make me think. Recently, a fellow credit union marketing person, who remembered my background as a radio broadcaster, and I were conversing, and he said something like this to me:

“Now that targeting is all but dead on Facebook and Instagram, I believe that the rules of reach and frequency that have always applied to traditional media like television and radio will also apply to social media platforms as they shift away from micro-targeting and toward looking more like mass media.”

It reminded me of an old formula developed by a wise radio fella that we used to help make sure clients buying advertising on our station got results. It was called APE (Advertising Performance Equation).

Share of Voice x Impact Quotient = Share of Mind

Share of Mind x Personal Experience Factor = Share of Market

Share of Market x Market Potential = Sales Volume

  1. Share of Voice:  This means how much of the noise in your category in your marketplace is your noise? (All media combined, including word of mouth.)
  • Impact Quotient: The average impact of a message in your category is 1.0. If your credit union ads are 30% better than average, you score a 1.3. If your ads are 10% weaker than average, you score a 0.9. You get the picture. The Impact Quotient of your message can accelerate or reduce your Share of Voice. How do you figure the impact quotient? A dry voice talking about good rates and good service would underperform an engaging story about how your credit union impacted their life.
  • Share of Mind is the percentage of real estate you own in your category in the mind of the average customer. (Hint: if you’re one of the credit unions that says, “We’re the best kept secret in so and so city,” you do not have share of mind.)
  • Personal Experience Factor is likewise measured with a 1.0 being, “exactly the experience your member expected.” Anything above a 1.0 is a delight factor. Anything below a 1.0 is depth of disappointment. Online reviews are measurements of a member’s Personal Experience Factor. For example, if you see an ad for a wonderful meal, and you show up to the restaurant and the food is horrible, you will give that restaurant less than a 1.0.
  • Traditionally, Share of Market is your sales volume as a percentage of the total sales available in your category in your marketplace. For your credit union, look at total members as a percentage of potential members.

When I was selling radio, our goal was for a client’s ad to enter declarative memory. Declarative memory is the audience’s mid-term memory. Longer than Working Memory but not yet Procedural Memory, which is involuntary, automatic recall. Now for a message to enter Declarative Memory, the same message should be repeated to the same individual at least 3 times within 7 night’s sleep. I’ve seen more recent research that has lowered this number to as little as 2.5 repetitions per week. This is why we implore clients to not ask for a creative refresh too soon, because just as they are getting sick of seeing or hearing their own ad, the credit union’s potential member is just starting to remember it!

If your creative is good, you are in luck because the more memorable the message, the less repetition is required. To tie this traditional media discussion back to digital marketing, the only way to beat the system (Google) and save money is to create marketing messages that are highly memorable. Any limited time offer with a call-to-action (think a promotional share certificate rate) is erased from declarative memory when the limited time window has closed.

This is why it is near impossible to build a brand with Direct Response calls-to-action and constant promotional messaging.

What is old is new again. As the algorithms continue to change and evolve, so must our strategies. Sometimes looking back to tried and true marketing strategies and giving them a facelift for new media can yield interestingly great results.

Want to build a great brand with strategic marketing for dazzling success? Let’s (give a listen and) Talk!

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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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