Here at Maine State CU we recently decided to bring a lot of the marketing under internal direction. We had the first meeting of our Internal Marketing Committee last week, and as far as I'm concerned it went pretty well.
We were discussing the possibility of a President's day auto loan promotion. We ended up deciding that the best thing to do would be to just promote our indirect lending.
I Would have disagreed, but to be honest I'm still getting used to the fact that my opinion has an impact on what we do here.
The usual rate promotions, or promoting something like indirect lending (which I whole heartedly dislike, but that's a topic for another post) aren't going to change peoples' minds about the credit union or get them to decide to go with us instead of a bank.
My point is, we need to think outside the box if we're going to bring in new members with a promotion. It takes something that Bank of America can't or doesn't offer.
Offer the membership something that they find relevant locally and makes them feel like they are part of the community. It could even be something that makes them feel like they are making a difference by taking out that auto loan.
Offer a discount for fuel efficient cars (I know, the "green" loan is becoming something of a staple these days) or a loan that makes a donation to a local charity or cause on every payment. Something that says "I'm part of this" and makes people feel good about taking the loan out at the credit union instead of a bank.
The whole point of a promotion is to get people to look at your institution, try it out, and build a relationship. With Indirect lending its just that, indirect. Being indirect is completely contrary to the credit union's purpose. One of the big differences credit unions should embrace is being very direct, very involved, and very personal.
Indirect lending might get a few people to take out loans with the credit union, but once that loan is paid off, are they going to stick around and keep their accounts here? Most of the people I see come into the credit union through indirect lending don't even know they have opened an account through the process.
If you want to create a relationship with new members, you've got to be working on that direct relationship from the get-go.