Fourth quarter marketing always seems to get the short end of the stick as marketers shift their focus to planning for the year to come. This is natural, but it is equally important to focus on the present. Unless of course, you’ve already blown out your year-end goals. Anyone? Anyone?
Although there are many reasons to not follow suit, here are the top three.
1. Current Year’s Deadlines
Some lucky credit unions (we realize not many) may find themselves with unused marketing dollars. A use it or lose it policy exists in most organizations so department managers are looking for opportunities to spend these excess dollars wisely.
You know the old saying, Don’t leave money on the table? Well the same thing applies to the reach and exposure that marketing generates. If you don’t fully use its potential, you’re basically leaving awareness on the table that can really add up.
Be prepared to sell it. Abandoning the norm will raise some eyebrows so develop a simple, board-worthy document detailing how this will better prop up the following year. Include:
- Value-based bullet points detailing the game plan
- Clear rationale
- Projected outcomes
- Implementation schedule for completion
2. Minor, Positive Tweaks Can Make A Big Difference
Because a website is never really done, tackle a few big improvements with a fairly minimal investment.
- For less than $3,000 you can get search engine optimization adjustments that will help you organically get more online traffic to your site.
- For less than $3,000 you can also finally create or optimize your social media pages and profiles and start building or growing your online audience.
- Hold a social forum by appealing to pro-social media team members to help generate content to deploy within your brand’s tone. You’re likely to receive valuable feedback about how your messaging and interaction can better relay your brand.
3. Low-Cost, High-Impact Initiatives
A little really can go a long way:
- Customizable loan and membership campaigns. We know, we know … these usually are lacking in the creative and messaging department, so if you’re looking for impactful creative and messaging, give www.InstaElements.com a whirl. You’ll just need to set up a profile (name, email, upload your logo).
- Develop testimonials and case studies (what we call stories) to be featured on your website and marketing materials the coming year. Don’t forget the critical step of having members and member businesses sign a release form for message and image usage.
- As you reflect over the year, identify areas of growth (new hires, growth benchmarks, etc.) and expanded products or service offerings, then draft up a few press releases to distribute to local and industry media outlets.
- Update photos. All marketers are guilty of using stock images in one way or another. That’s acceptable. What isn’t acceptable is when your images across all marketing channels appear stocky. This means putting in the time to find less stocky stock images that haven’t been overused. Marketing agencies usually have a subscription to galleries like www.shutterstock.com or www.istockphoto.com, but you can get your own for less than $3,000 for a one-year subscription.
So before you throw in the towel on your 2014 marketing initiatives, consider selecting a few key initiatives that can help both close out one successful year and usher in another one.
Kat Anstine is the chief operating officer of BYM Agency. She has experience in all areas of marketing and advertising and developed a holistic approach to identifying growth opportunities and building ROI-based strategies for credit unions and CUSO. She can be reached at 888.908.5331 (toll free) or 913.937.9407 (direct).
BYM Agency, formally known as Beyond Marketing, is the nation’s first full-service marketing CUSO. National in scope, we identify trends and share success as part of our cooperative business model. We believe in authenticity, engagement and our team has an unstoppable drive to develop memorable creative with measurable results. Visit us online at bymagency.com.