In the fall of 2007, one of the most popular T-shirts on the University of California-Davis campus featured not a rock band or a sports mascot, but an invitation to "Join the Financial Revolution" at Yolo Federal Credit Union (FCU). Yolo FCU ended up posting a 170% return on its "Revolution" campaign on both the deposit and loan side. And, notes marketer Tony Mannor, who worked with Yolo FCU on the campaign, the T-shirts and message were so appealing that credit union employees donned them on the job and existing members of all ages began stopping by branches to find out how they could get one. The most successful niche marketing campaigns can "grow legs and run around the world," Mannor suggests. That's what happened with the Yolo FCU "Join the Financial Revolution" campaign. The posters and T-shirts grabbed the attention of college students who wore their new shirts everywhere they went.
on target BY Karen BanKston Niche marketing and I 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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