15SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Arnold Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark … Web: www.markarnold.com Details A full-page ad in a recent issue of Adweek magazine caught my eye.In the ad, a massive, tattooed and fairly grumpy-looking sumo wrestler stands imposingly in front of a tiny smart car. To the left of the image are the words “stop showing the right product to the wrong consumer.”The ad works in a number of ways, cleverly using humor to make a point about matching the wrong product or service to the wrong consumer.This problem plagues credit unions. In an effort to be all things to all people, too many credit unions attempt to shove every product and service they have down the throat of every consumer. This doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons. And it is certainly costing you both money and market share.When doing mystery shops of credit unions during the marketing audit process, I’m still surprised at the number of well-intended member service representatives that sit me down and simply scroll through every brochure or laminated cheat sheet they have without really asking any questions to find out about me as a unique and individual consumer.How much time and money do you think your credit union wastes by trying to match the wrong product or service with the wrong consumer? Odds are, you won’t like the answer.So – what’s the solution? Credit unions should look at it as a two-pronged approach.The first regards training. And not just run-of-the-mill, canned cross-sales training. That is so 1999. Consumers have evolved and so must your credit union. To achieve success in the future and to avoid that wrong product/wrong person encounter, credit unions must adopt full-scale consumer engagement training.This training goes far beyond the simply surface-level interaction with members and encourages and teaches your staff on how to more intimately connect with them. Engagement training delves deeply into your credit union’s unique brand and how employees can use it to help empower their search to find the right product for the right member. This requires employees to actively engage with members, asking questions and learning more about their needs as unique consumers. As a byproduct of that, they are then more capable suggesting the products and services members can actually use to address their needs and concerns.The next is conducting a full-blog marketing audit. To complete such an audit, your credit union will have to ask itself difficult questions. But these are questions you must answer in order to succeed.Consider this — when was the last time you had an outside party take a deep-dive look at all your marketing materials (both printed traditional and digital)? When was the last time you opened yourself up to rigorous introspection and changes to both your strategic and tactical approach to brand and marketing? When was the last time you not only checked out what your competition was up to but also looked just as closely at your own staff and branches as part of a rigorous mystery shop experience? If you answered “never” or “a long time ago” to any of the above questions, your credit union needs to consider a marketing audit.The marketing audit will also allow you to take a good hard look at the products and services you currently offer. What is working? What is profitable? What is not working and is costing you money? And most importantly – which of your products and services do members use the most? And — which products and services for which members are clamoring do you currently do not offer? The intersection of these last two questions is the defining point for your product and service mix. If you don’t have what consumers want, they are more than happy to walk across the street and find several of your competitors that do.When a new member walks into a branch, calls, emails or interacts with you on social media, you really don’t have a clue who they are and what defines their financial lifestyle. Until you figure those things out by more aggressively pursuing consumer engagement training and diving into a marketing audit, your credit union is really just trying to sell a tiny clown car to a sumo wrestler. Good luck with that.
REPRESENTATIVES from China, Kirgizistan and Uzbekistan signed an agreement in the Uzbek capital Toshkent in June for a technical and economic feasibility study into construction of a rail link into western China. According to Uzbek Vice-Premier Rustam Junussows, the three countries also signed an accord on the management of transit traffic between China and the CIS Central Asian states.Rising to over 3000m to cross the Tyan-Shan mountains, the line would link the Uzbek city of Andizhan with the Chinese city of Kashi, which will be the terminus of the South Xinjiang Railway now under construction. The first 50 km will be in Uzbekistan, taking the line to Osh, second biggest city in Kirgizistan. The 600 km from Osh to Irkeshtam will more than double the Kirgizian rail network, before the line crosses into China for a 200 km descent to Kashi.The route is seen as offering a direct link from the Pacific Rim to the Central Asian states and parts of southern Europe. As well as transit traffic, the line is expected to capture local business; South Korea’s automotive group Daewoo already sends 500 containers a month to Andizhan for local assembly. o