People receive over 3,000 advertising messages a day (more or less depending on your source). But are they receiving your credit unions’? They probably are not receiving your messages if all you are doing is making noise.

As author Jim Stengel says in Grow, “You can’t have a highly effective business culture without highly effective communication. A business that communicates as one team with one dream can make beautiful music together. A business that communicates at cross-purposes is just a lot of noise.”

Today, marketing is not about sending your messages and hoping someone sees them. Marketing is about connecting.

So how do you know if your marketing is effective or if it is just a noise-maker? Here are some questions to honestly answer:

  1. Does everything match—From business cards to brochures to logos to websites, all your marketing should look coherent. Over time (as multiple people touch and produce your marketing), your brand can lose consistency. Line all your marketing pieces together and see if it passes the matching test.
  2. How professional do your materials look—Your offline and online materials say something about your credit union. Are they communicating that you are a “mom and pop” shop with hand written or photocopied material? This is especially relevant with in-branch materials. Examine your pieces and see if they pass the professional test.
  3. Is your communication real—The best marketing practices today communicate what is real and authentic about your brand. Do the stock photography images you use in your newsletters, brochures, etc. look like your members or like “perfect people.” Look at your visuals and see if they pass the reality test.
  4. How short are your messages—People’s reading and attention spans are at an all-time low. You are doing good if you can get them to skim the bullet points in your copy. When it comes to the written word, less is best. Review your writing and see if it passes the short test.

”The highest-quality businesses—the fastest growing, most profitable and most innovative—share a common thread: their high-quality communication,“ Stengel adds. “Everything expresses and supports the brand ideal.”

So is your marketing supporting your brand or is it just making noise?