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CUES Podcast 91: The Role Of Marketing During the Crisis and Beyond

Listen: CUES Podcast Episode #91

When people think about marketing departments, they often think about a group of people that create ads and brochures. But, according to Amy Herbig, the marketing department is, at its core, the “key communicator” for a credit union. And that is a very central and very important role as credit unions respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everything that is going on right now is being channeled through marketing,” says Herbig, CEO of The BA Group, Northfield, Minnesota, in the show. While every role at the credit union is especially busy right now, “marketing is the catalyst for all that information to be disseminated to the member and to the community at large.”

What’s the key message marketers need to be promoting to the credit union’s stakeholders at present? “We are still a strong, solid financial institution.”

Marketers are also becoming de facto public relations reps, Herbig says, as they manage all of a credit union’s communications channels—from email to social media to the website.

Marketing is always important but it’s currently more critical than ever she says, as it takes care to ensure your information is perceived correctly and to manage any misinformation that is presented to your audience.

Most marketing plans and budgets were approved in December 2019 or January 2020. Then marketing had “two good months of really starting to get off the ground” before everything came to a halt due to the pandemic, Herbig says.

Rather than following their original plan, marketers are “having to now act more on the fly,” she explains. “A good marketer is more proactive than reactive but ready to be reactive when called upon. Currently we’re in a constant state of reactive.”

Indeed, she says that whatever was planned for the marketing focus for a particular month may have to change based on the new landscape. Herbig cites the example of a $210 million credit union that’s managing $7 million coming in from federal stimulus checks. How will that impact its upcoming audit? How will that affect its lending?

A credit union’s top marketers need to be brought into the high-level meetings that consider all of these kinds of issues so they are best positioned to get appropriate messages out to members and the community, Herbig emphasizes.

The show also gets into:

  • Considerations for copyrighting during this uncertain time
  • The importance of making sure the credit union is prepared to deliver on any messages put out to members or the community
  • Examples of what credit unions are currently doing to reach out to members
  • The current effectiveness of the CU philosophy “people helping people”

Links for this episode:

More marketing-related content from

COVID-19 resources from CUES, including event details and coverage of credit unions’ pandemic response