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4 Reasons Credit Union Marketing Strategies Fail

Posted August 26, 2016
6 minute read

Credit Union Digital Marketing Failures

At this point, you've already experienced some digital marketing success and failure at your credit union. But, with all the hype around digital marketing, it's probably surprising when most campaigns fail to live up to expectations.

When speaking with credit unions about their past digital marketing experiences, we hear things like: 

  • “If digital marketing is so measurable, why can’t I see the results I’m getting?”
  • “I don’t know what they did, and I can’t see what I got for it.”
  • “They got me on page 1 of Google, but I don’t know if it did anything.”

Digital marketing campaigns fail for any number of reasons. Sometimes the strategy is flawed, sometimes agencies over-sell their capabilities. In other cases, it was a failure of the two organizations to work effectively together.


it's usually an organizational failure above all else.

Below are four reasons credit unions fail at digital marketing and how to avoid them:


Mistake #1: Confusing Tactics With Strategy

Your digital strategy is your credit union’s plan for achieving a pre-determined goal.

For example, you have a goal of generating 40% of incremental business from brand new home loan buyers. Your digital strategy for achieving this might be to increase online visibility in three key markets where you lack strong market share.

Once the strategy is determined, you need to implement the appropriate tactics. This may include the following:

  • SEO (getting ranked for relevant search terms in the local markets)
  • PPC (to acquire immediate search traffic in the local markets)
  • Facebook advertising (to drive people from social platforms who live within the target markets)
  • Display remarketing (to drive non-converting visitors back to the site after they’ve left)

Credit unions sometimes confuse their tactics for their strategy. This leads to well-executed tactics, such as great rankings or creative banner ads, which have zero impact on the actual business goals.

Mistake #2: Investing In Strategy, But Not Tactics

This is less common, but not at all rare. Credit unions that invest in strategy and not tactics will fall short of their digital goals. This is problematic when the strategy gets blamed.

Using the above example, a credit union’s strategy for acquiring new home loan customers is to increase visibility in three key markets. Instead of hiring the most qualified agency to execute the plan, they hire the least expensive. The institution then receives a canned solution which falls short of their business goals.

In the end, the credit union concludes that the idea (i.e. the strategy) isn’t feasible for their business. In reality, the strategy had rock star potential. It simply wasn’t properly executed.

Mistake #3: The Wrong People are Focused on The Wrong Things

At a credit union, nothing is more counterproductive than when the wrong people are focused on the wrong things.

When managing a digital campaign for a credit union, there are typically three parties involved. The successful execution of a digital campaign hinges on each party’s ability to stay focused on their area of responsibility.

1. At the top are the campaign and organization leaders. This might be the CMO, Director of Marketing, or even the CEO. Their responsibility is to make sure the campaigns are achieving their goals.

2. In the middle are the marketing managers responsible for overseeing the execution of the campaign. Their responsibility is to lead and direct the team of fulfillment resources, and to ensure the tactics stay aligned with the strategy.

3. The fulfillment resources are responsible for executing the various tactics. This could involve an outside agency or internal marketing specialists or a combination of the two.

The system breaks down when people become over-involved in areas outside their scope of responsibility. If you are not an SEO expert, do not drive SEO implementation. Instead, define what is expected of the SEO strategy, then leave the work to those most qualified.

Mistake #4: You Think Perfect is Better Than Done

Steve Jobs once said “real artists ship.” By this, he meant it doesn’t matter how good the product is if it never reaches the customer. Although he was considered a perfectionist by many, this quote demonstrates Jobs’ ability to see the bigger picture. A perfect product is useless if it’s never shipped.

Similarly, painted on a wall within Facebook’s headquarters, is the phrase “done is better than perfect.” Like Jobs, Facebook recognizes the importance of getting a product or feature released, even if they could make it better.

Your credit union’s website can not deliver leads or sales if it sits in development while you tweak every last pixel. A blog cannot drive traffic if posts are never approved and published.

While trying to achieve perfection is respectable, it shouldn’t hinder action. At the end of the day, real artists ship.

Avoid These Common Mistakes For More Credit Union Digital Marketing Success

Successful digital marketing starts with consistent, cohesive efforts from your management, marketing teams, and digital marketing partners. You will see a great deal of improvement in your digital marketing efforts if you can get everyone on the same page, working together. 

You can improve your efforts even further by making sure the right people are doing the right things and the wrong people are not doing the wrong things. That includes the development and execution of strategies and tactics from start to finish. 

Lastly, many credit unions get stymied in the brainstorming, development, and approval stages, preventing them from taking enough action. 

One way to jumpstart your digital marketing process is by working with an experienced digital marketing agency, WebStrategies, which acts as an extension of your current marketing system. 

Learn how WebStrategies will help you avoid digital marketing hurdles and improve your ability to get real results that you can see. Click here to learn more or call us at 804-200-4545 today


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Topics Leadership & Management, Pay Per Click, SEO, Digital Marketing, Credit Union Marketing

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