Credit unions are small, member-owned financial institutions that offer financial services similar to those offered by consumer banks. Often credit unions will be organized around a particular community or business and its membership will consist of residents or employees. For consumers, credit unions have a number of advantages over traditional banks, including a nonprofit structure and lower rates of interest. These advantages can be leveraged to create a compelling marketing campaign designed to boost membership.
One of the main ways that credit unions recruit members is through word of mouth. Because credit unions usually have memberships that have something in common -- for example, everyone lives in the same county or works for the same company -- current members are great potential recruiters for new members. To encourage this, credit unions can offer rewards to current members for each new person that they refer to the credit union who then signs up for a new account.
Us vs. Them
Perhaps the advantages enjoyed by credit union members are most apparent when contrasted with the experience enjoyed by people with accounts at some large consumer banks. For example, many credit unions choose to embrace environmentally friendly practices and offer, on average, lower rates on home loans. To explain these differences, a credit union could launch an advertising campaign in which it explains the difference between "us" and "them." Perhaps the credit union could be personified with one figure, while the national bank chains could be represented with another, a la Apple's Mac vs. PC ads.
Many different companies use testimonials by clients to convince other consumers that they offer a superior product or service. However, the difference between the testimonials that can be offered by credit union clients and clients for other businesses is that, because the membership of a credit union is so concentrated, there's a good chance the person giving the testimonial is a recognizable face. This makes the testimonial more powerful because the person is known and trusted.
Boast About Nonprofit Status
One of the reasons that credit unions can offer more favorable service to its members -- including lower fees and interest rates -- is that they are not designed to make a profit. Instead of satisfying shareholders, credit unions are intended to satisfy their members. By explaining to potential members that the credit union is not designed to extract profit from them, credit unions may be able to convince individuals to switch over from for-profit banks.