Three Budget Allocation Tips From Extra Credit Union Marketing

From my 20 years of experience as a marketing consultant for Extra Credit Union Marketing, I’ve learned that the best way to prepare a strong marketing strategy is to start by looking at the budget. Regardless if you work for a local credit union or a federal credit union, knowing what you are able to spend is absolutely critical.

Deciding how to allocate your credit union’s marketing budget is no small feat though. Considering the sheer number of channels begging for your attention, it can seem downright overwhelming to begin cutting up the pieces of your pie.

While I can’t offer a one size fits all answer to exactly where the funds should go, there are a few things I urge you to keep in mind as you get down to the nitty gritty of budget allocation:

What Are Your Credit Union’s Marketing Objectives

First and foremost, when deciding how to allocate your credit union’s annual marketing budget, it’s of the utmost importance to identify and define your objectives. Without this crucial first step, you risk wasting your marketing dollars on the wrong audience or the wrong medium altogether.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are you trying to achieve through your marketing efforts in the upcoming fiscal year?
  • Have the goals or needs of your members changed?
  • Which milestones are you looking for your credit union to reach this year?
  • What actions are you hoping for your audience to take?

If you know what you’ll be asking of your audience, you’ll know how to better spend your budget based on what media drive consumers to different types of actions. For example, if your goal is to entice potential bank switchers to go to your website and gain more information on your credit union, you may want to spend some of your marketing dollars on creating television ads. That’s because, according to Ad-ology AudienceSCANs, 44 percent of those interested in switching banks have taken an action after watching an ad on TV in the past 30 days alone.

Home Field Advantage

Meet your audience where they are, and do your research to find out where they spend their time. For example, you may have a solid grasp on your target audience’s historic media habits, but should you use the same media mix as you have previously to reach them? This is not the first or last time you’ll hear this – but more than ever it’s imperative to consider how much of your budget is being spent in the digital space. According to eMarketer, people are exposed or connected to digital media for an hour more per day than they are in front of a TV.

Don’t miss out on the many opportunities available to create multiple marketing touch points in a consumer’s online experience. By choosing them wisely based on sound planning, you can increase brand awareness, preference, and thus the likelihood that they will consider your product or service when it comes time to make a related purchasing decision.

Make sure to do your research and discover the information that will help you reach your members. Be aware of your target audience’s habits through identifying insights such as:

  • Only 24% of potential bank switchers read the newspaper to get their daily news

  • 82% of credit union members are on Facebook

  • Only 7.5% of potential bank switchers find mailed ads believable and trustworthy

Don’t Forget the Details

Through the course of a fiscal year, the small stuff can really add up and impact your total investment, so it might be a good idea to incorporate a contingency line in your budget.

Example things to include room for in your plan can include:

  • Webinars
  • Sponsoring Local Events
  • Trade Shows/Conferences

Ensure you’re researching and planning for the costs of not only attending these events, but also accounting for all of the marketing materials you’ll need to be successful in your ventures. For example: If your company plans on purchasing booth space for a trade show, you’ll need booth graphics like a backdrop, informational packets or flyers about your credit union’s service and possibly even an experiential element to engage attendees. This is just one example of an unexpected cost to upset your marketing budget if you haven’t pre-planned for the full year.

Keeping these three considerations in mind while you plan for the next fiscal year will help towards ensuring your marketing mix is strategically driven for success.