The classic Boy Scouts motto famously says, “Always be prepared.” Despite disaster recovery and pandemic plans, I’m not sure anything could have prepared credit unions and community banks for COVID-19. But we can prepare for the post-pandemic world.

 

How?

 

By getting ahead with your marketing now.

 

Now is not the time to be silent. Consumers need to hear from you. Let your competitors go silent. You need to create a plan.

 

Most marketers are probably scrambling and looking for ways to cut the marketing budget. While that is understandable, now is actually the perfect time to be proactive and not reactive in your marketing.

 

Taking proactive steps will prepare you for when the economy bounces back and when the pandemic ends (and it will end). From a competitive perspective most other financial institutions are not thinking ahead. They are just trying to survive. While they are in survival mode you can take the lead with a proactive, forward thinking approach.

 

Here are 10 ways to get ahead with your marketing:

 

#1: Create New Products

 

Because our world has completely changed, consumers need new products and services. Especially new financial solutions. Whether it is a new checking account with less fees, some type of bridge loan to help with a temporary cash shortage or a more secure investment option your credit union or community bank could have a product gap. Get ahead with your marketing by creating new products.

 

#2: Get Long-term Pricing Deals

 

Media companies are hurting; they need cash. Now is a great time to negotiate with your advertising vendors and other suppliers. Whether it is outdoor, digital, television or any other medium pricing is more than likely at an all-time low. Purchasing that media now will save you money for months to come. Get ahead by negotiating long-term pricing deals.

 

#3: Create 90-day Marketing Sprints

 

Your 2020 marketing plan is probably in a trashcan somewhere. Let it stay there. Things are moving so fast these days that you are probably doing more reacting than planning. However, the best marketers still plan: just in shorter cycles. One practical tactical suggestion is to breakdown all your marketing tasks into three month calendar segments. Get ahead by creating 90 day marketing sprints.

 

#4: Create a Post-Pandemic Marketing Plan

 

Wait, you just said do 90 marketing sprints; now we should also create a plan for when this thing comes to an end? Yes. The pandemic will end. We know that. The marketers that succeed are going to be the ones that already have a plan to proceed. Don’t waste a precious minute waiting until pandemic’s end before preparing your strategy. Think about your messaging, your brand and even your budget. Get ahead by creating a post pandemic marketing plan.

 

#5:  Analyze All Results for ROI

 

You can no longer waste marketing dollars. Use this season to determine what is working and what is not. Moving forward every dollar you spend in marketing should yield a positive result. Now is the perfect time to do a deep dive analysis on your numbers. Get ahead by analyzing your results.

 

#6: Craft Clear Messages for Post Crisis

 

As mentioned above, COVID-19 will come to an end. This too shall pass. Start now preparing for brand messages you can use once we are through it. If your branches are not open yet then begin now to write your marketing pieces for when they do. Copywriting is critical to your success. If you wait to the last minute to write something it’s more likely to confuse than clarify. Get ahead by crafting clear messages for post crisis.

 

#7: Invest in Your Brand

 

The most successful credit unions have strong brands. Branding is going to lead your credit union or community bank out of the economic downturn. If you had a need for a rebrand prior to the pandemic, then those reasons are probably more important than ever. If you want members to love your brand then your executives must lead your brand and your employees must live your brand. Get ahead by investing in your brand.

 

#8: Assess Your Marketing

 

The best way to accelerate your credit union and community bank’s growth is through your marketing. However, since marketing has changed forever what worked in the past very well may not work in the future. The only way to ensure a maximum return on your marketing is to assess it. A marketing assessment will save you time, make sure you stop losing money and accelerate you into the new normal. Get ahead by assessing your marketing.

 

#9: Develop talking points for your front-line staff

 

How consumers engage with your staff is different and may be for some time. Social distancing requirements could greatly impact your in-branch journey map and consumer experience. Training your staff on what and how to talk to consumers gives you an enormous competitive advantage. Your employees are not going to naturally know new engagement skills or language to use. Get ahead by developing talking points for your front-line staff.

 

#10:  Experiment With New Channels

 

Not sure if Instagram works or how you should do video? Then now is a great time to test all those cool options you’ve always wanted to try. Trial and error is a part of marketing and during these uncertain times you could spend some time testing. Get ahead by experimenting with new channels.

Being ready when the economy begins to reopen starts with your marketing strategies and tactics. If you wait to start those efforts you’re already behind.

 

 

 

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