Hello everyone! Back from vacation means back to the blogging!
Recently, a good friend and colleague of mine was let go by his credit union. No names will be shared to protect him (the innocent and insanely talented) as well as to protect the credit union (although I’d love to call them out by name for reasons you will see in a second.)
My friend isn’t out of a job because of performance – that’s the good news. His credit union actually eliminated his position. Wait, it gets worse! Not only was his position eliminated but the entire marketing function at the credit union was jettisoned into the abyss. The reasoning (and this is a direct quote from the credit union’s executive management) “we’re done with the marketing experiment.”
To be honest, at first I was stunned when I heard that. But as I thought about it more, it dawned upon me that marketing (as a function) still does not garner the respect it deserves. To be blunt: marketing is NOT an experiment. It is a crucial function for credit unions. Marketing is a catalyst for growth and anyone who has ever worked in marketing understands that their efforts are a critical part of an organization’s operations. To refer to marketing as an experiment is not only ignorant but incredulously stupid.
Credit union marketers have a challenging and sometimes daunting job. Some of the challenges marketers must work around include an ever-changing marketplace, globalization, shifting demographics, well-financed competition, evolving communities, and the increasingly burdensome regulatory environment. And those are just the external forces over which marketers have no control whatsoever. Let’s not forget the internal challenges – shrinking budgets, lack of respect from leaders at some credit unions, high employee turnover especially in the marketing field, stifled creativity, and lack of training just to name a few.
I hope that this instance of the experiment ideology remains forever ensconced in the realm of the disregarded. But we all know that isn’t realistic. There are still a lot of credit union marketers who feel increasingly frustrated and unappreciated. That is a dangerous trend and needs to stop.
There are many outstanding marketers working for credit unions – these folks are smart, passionate, creative, intuitive, and strategic. Marketing is not an experiment. It is an important component to a credit union’s success. Its role needs to increase rather than decrease. Some executives need to understand and accept that the marketplace has changed and that marketing is a necessity and that the people charged with its duties should be treated with respect and should be provided with the necessary resources to achieve success.
Ask the executives at Nike, McDonalds, Chevrolet, or Disney if they consider marketing to be an “experiment.” They will laugh you right out of the room.