Balancing long-term brand marketing and short-term demand marketing.


A little background: I was raised in the “old school advertising” world. So-called brand marketing was often derided in favor of short-term promotional advertising. But that was back in the dark ages—pre-internet—when print ruled (primarily newspapers and direct mail), and TV, radio and billboards were often out of budget reach for most clients. In other words, there were far fewer distractions from countless sources and social media.

And yet, smarter and more strategic advertisers, like Volkswagen and J. Peterman, long ago knew the key to market share and long-term growth called for a balanced approach between demand and brand.

In our multi-screen, shortened attention span universe today where every advertiser is competing for eyeballs, the battle between long- and short-term metric is an ongoing one. And marketers often lean more heavily on demand marketing when they are looking for measurable near-term impact, while brand marketing is mostly for the long haul and takes more time to measure. While both have their own USPs and advantages, the inability to see results in the short term is often the single most prolific barrier to brand building among marketers. But this stance leaves your members vulnerable to the “next shiny object.”

Neither brand marketing nor short-term demand marketing can work in isolation. The key is to balance acquisition and member growth strategies. This marketing truth gets missed all too often. Instead, play the short-term and the long-term marketing puzzle just right. Your credit union needs brand activity to create demand in the long-term, and activation to convert that demand efficiently into revenue in the short-term.

Navigate between rational ads and emotional ads. Just as buying decisions are both rational and emotional, your marketing should also be a mix of both since both have their place under the sun. While rational ads are more effective in demand marketing, emotional ads work better for brand building. Rational ads certainly have their use for and are more effective for your current members (your lowest hanging fruit), while emotional ads are more effective for those elusive future members.

In closing, successful balance of brand and demand marketing underlies these five principles of marketing growth:

  1. WHO are you targeting?
  2. WHAT are your business goals?
  3. WHEN are you engaging members and prospects?
  4. WHERE are you marketing?
  5. HOW are you engaging members and prospects?

Focus, focus, focus. Get comfortable leaving sets of potential members behind in order to tell a more focused and compelling story. That simply means: Don't try to be all things to all people because your credit union cannot be. Find your niche and grow affinity over time, then you can start to look at branching out into more products and services.