CEOs on Measuring Marketing Success

man measures blue arrow on chalkboard
Jeff Rendel, CSP Photo
Rising Above Enterprises

4 minutes

Both tactical and practical metrics matter.

Credit union marketing professionals produce lots of measures—return on campaign, response rate, click-through, new loans generated and the list goes on. Which measures merit the most attention and deliver comprehensive value, according to credit union CEOs? While diverse, responses from dozens of CEOs (as part of ongoing focus groups for CEOs’ perspectives) fell into two distinct categories: tactical measures (“We can prove it”) and practical measures (“We just know it”). Let’s explore the most common tactical and practical measures of marketing success.

The Tactical

Marketing response rate led the way among tactical metrics cited as worthy by CEOs. It’s the most quantifiable answer that indicates if members are listening, responding, and acting upon marketing messages. One CEO said that persuading members (existing and potential) to try the credit union was a key goal in marketing initiatives. Campaigns create leads; leads create sales opportunities; and, sales drive revenue and loyalty. Getting members to take a first step with the credit union is marketing’s Job No. 1. 

New loans, deposits, or members were the decisive end results from successful marketing response rates. Getting members to listen to your message is important; getting them to act on your message is vital. Many MCIF systems help credit unions understand the ROI generated as a result of individual marketing initiatives. A baseline is established at the beginning of a campaign and an outcome is delivered once the campaign concludes. Understanding the net growth generated, as well as the cost associated, is helpful as you move on to future campaigns.

Share of wallet proved to be the most meaningful long-term measure of marketing success. Whereas new business would establish or deepen a relationship, gaining a greater place in members’ wallets helped create more permanent revenue or funding sources. While products per member was the most common measure of loyalty, increasing the percentage of members with loyalty-leading products (checking accounts, credit cards, and auto loans) came in a close second. Both sets of “share of wallet” measures helped CEOs gauge the long-term value of the entire membership.  

The Practical 

Recognition in the community was an easy practical way to spot marketing success. Some credit unions sponsor athletic and community events and venues; others place their logos on billboards, city buses and Millennial hangouts; and, many discovered that wearing credit union apparel (“Our swag,” quipped one CEO) was a great way to grasp how people responded. “When people tell me that they see us everywhere, I know we’re doing something right,” stated a CEO.

Tales from the front line provide real-time member feedback and all a CEO needs to do is head behind the teller line to get these stories. “Our front-line leaders interact with members every day. They hear about products, services, and experiences. While it’s not incredibly scientific, and extremely anecdotal, our front line gives us a window into member success that that a thrice-tabulated marketing ROI matrix can’t,” declared another CEO. Regular, intentional dialogue with front-line leaders can help your credit union understand its effectiveness through MBWA – Marketing by Walking Around.

Member stories market your credit union in ways that are pertinent to members and precious for the credit union. Credit unions embarked on campaigns to hear from members – new, longtime, retail, and business – and tell the members’ stories to and for other members. Some credit unions built websites just to share members’ successes because of the credit union. Real stories, from real members, helped credit unions market products in ways that were meaningful and genuine – all leading to growth and member success.

“What gets measured gets done” is a term we all recognize, use, and respect. Measures provide evidence of success and reliability for future endeavors. While most measures can be tracked and analyzed, others require some “feel,” a skill that comes with experience in leading a credit union. As you lead your credit union, consider the business intelligence of scores of CEOs in blending the tactical with the practical in gauging your marketing and wide-ranging success.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional and president of Rising Above Enterprises, works with credit unions that want entrepreneurial results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 credit unions and their business partners. Contact him at or 951.340.3770.

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