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BY Karen BanKston

                                                             Niche marketing and

  n the fall of 2007, one of the most popular T-shirts on
  the University of California-Davis campus featured not a   product design connect
  rock band or a sports mascot, but an invitation to “Join   credit unions with new
the Financial Revolution” at Yolo Federal Credit Union.
   The $184 million Woodland, Calif., credit union had       and existing members.
unveiled the stylish shirts—with images reminiscent of
Soviet propaganda posters of workers and a message
evoking the memorable 1960s—at an outdoor booth.
Marketing Manager Christina Blackman remembers                 “Identify these and you have a niche
the shirts going so quickly that tiny coeds were happy       marketing campaign,” he notes. “The rea-
to walk away with the few remaining in size 3XL.             son niche marketing works is that you are
   The college crowd loved the T-shirts but also bought      speaking to a very specific group in their
into the message, Blackman suggests. “We weren’t try-        language about something in a way that
ing to corner them into opening a charge account and         they care about.”
end up mired in debt. We’re not going to push any prod-        The most successful niche marketing
ucts on members if they don’t make sense for them.”          campaigns can “grow legs and run around
   Yolo FCU (www.yolofcu.org) ended up posting a 170         the world,” Mannor suggests. That’s what
percent return on its “Revolution” campaign on both          happened with the Yolo FCU “Join the
the deposit and loan side. And, notes marketer Tony          Financial Revolution” campaign. The post-
Mannor, who worked with Yolo FCU on the campaign,            ers and T-shirts grabbed the attention of
the T-shirts and message were so appealing that credit       college students who wore their new shirts
union employees donned them on the job and existing          everywhere they went. Members who saw
members of all ages began stopping by branches to find       others wearing the T-shirts at grocery stores
out how they could get one.                                  and around town stopped by CU branches
   This example of niche marketing fulfills several of       to ask how they could get one. The first campaign was
Mannor’s requirements for success in connecting with         so successful that it was repeated in 2008 with a slightly
what he calls a “member archetype,” or a specific seg-       different twist. This year, Yolo FCU is changing up the
ment of the membership the credit union wants to             message, emphasizing its roots as a community finan-
expand, based on mining MCIF data to pinpoint profit-        cial institution, Blackman says.
ability or otherwise desirable attributes. Once you have       The sensibility of the “Revolution” campaign mes-
identified that group, figure out “what can you sell them,   sage resonated not just with college students but with
where can you find them, how do you speak to them            older people on campus and in the community as well,
so they will listen, and why is what you have a benefit      Blackman adds. Mannor suggests that well-designed
to them,” says Mannor, president/CEO of Andermahr            segmented marketing often captures the attention of a
Marketing and Design (www.andermahrketing.com),              wider audience.
Stockton, Calif., and chief blogger fo
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