Six Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan
An effective strategic marketing plan is a roadmap that should guide your tactical decisions. Following the steps below will help you develop an effective marketing strategy that will allow your marketing team to focus on campaigns and initiatives that are key to the success of your credit union.
- Analyze and deﬁne your target market(s). Market research is the foundation of an effective plan. Conducting a demographic analysis of the market within a three-mile radius of each branch location will help identify opportunities to increase wallet share and ﬁll any “gaps” that might exist in the current products and services you are offering, versus those wanted by your potential member base. Consider utilizing psychographic data to evaluate the propensity of different demographics groups to use different products and services.
- Set smart marketing objectives for each target market. Whether you want to increase loan market share around a particular branch or increase your market share of youth accounts, setting objectives is the ﬁrst step in making it happen. Think smart – objectives should be speciﬁc, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
- Create tactics to achieve each objective. Now that you have done your homework, identiﬁed opportunities, deﬁned your target market, and set objectives, you can begin designing speciﬁc tactics to help accomplish these tasks. For example, if your market research has revealed that you have a low share of wallet or auto loans among existing members in a credit-driven demographic, an auto loan recapture campaign would be an appropriate tactic to help increase auto loan penetration with this segment.
- Choose the appropriate marketing channels for each target market. Along with the “tried and true” marketing mediums, be sure to explore ways to use new and non-traditional marketing channels. The Internet has evolved from simple, web-based advertisements to blogs, interactive web pages and social media sites. Young consumers with considerable amounts of purchasing power are increasingly blocking out traditional advertising messages but are embracing new technologies on both the Internet and smart phones. Effective marketing communications in this new environment requires marketers to ﬁnd new ways to engage and interact with consumers. An effective marketing plan will combine traditional and non-traditional marketing methods to generate the maximum impact on the target audience and the largest return on marketing dollars.
- Measure the effectiveness of each tactic. Don’t leave out the important and critical step of measuring marketing performance. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing activities will allow you to determine what campaigns should be repeated and when your marketing dollars should be reallocated to achieve a better return. Utilizing marketing metrics also helps you communicate the value of your marketing activities to your staff, management and board of directors, not to mention the CFO. If you can show that you are bringing in multiple dollars in income for every dollar in expense, it just may prove to be a great negotiating tool when it comes time to determine how many dollars will be budgeted to future marketing campaigns!
- Adjust your plan as needed. Your marketing plan should be a living strategy. It should provide the ﬂexibility to take advantage of new opportunities and technologies without straying too far from the original objectives you set based on your market research.
Following the steps outlined above will help you develop and implement a strategy based on market research and allow you to increase the return on your marketing investment.
Susan Chapman, vice president of marketing strategy for Smart Financial Credit Union, is the Texas Credit Union League’s 2012 Marketing and Business Development Professional of the Year. Reprinted with permission from the Texas Credit Union League (www.tcul.coop).
© 2008 CUNA, Inc. All rights reserved.
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