They aren’t reading your Blog; they aren’t listening to your Podcast.

Social media is wonderful.  In fact, it’s one of the few technologies to achieve that whiz-bang wonder of future science in the 21st century.  But there are millions of people on this planet who live their entire lives without ever turning on a computer.  There are millions more who view computers as something to avoid.  Some of these people are your members. 

While newspaper advertising revenue continues to decline (13% at the Washington Post) ostensibly because advertisers are shifting to an online model, probably the majority of the people in the U.S. still read the paper.  In fact, given that U.S. population demographics are changing as baby boomers age, there is a good chance that growth in electronic advertising will plateau and be altogether rejected by a large number of this segment of the population.

Thus, while using social media and computers in general for marketing and sales is essential and reaches an educated segment of the population with money to spend, it also leaves out the majority of people in this country.  At the same time, the shift in advertising revenue means that the people who do not use computers will have fewer options to receive news in their arcane ways.  This also means that you will have fewer tools with which to reach them.

A consequence of this is that marketing and advertising is more expensive for everyone.  You have to run two systems:  21st century and 20th.  You have to pay for your fancy new tech while still buying space in the paper, on the local television and radio stations and on billboards and in direct mail.  Worse, you still have to depend on brick and mortar branches and specials and incentives to get the fogies in the door!  Do you have the money to pay for both new school and old school?  Do you have a choice? 

Maybe one idea would be to cast one event in dual formats:  on your website, you could book a flash mob to show up at a local park for a surprise at a certain time and date.  In your newsletter, you could announce that the credit union is hosting an ice cream social at the park (and it happens to be at the same time and date).  Marketing (and hilarity) ensues.

This is probably the textbook definition of disruptive technology.  It messes up the system that’s in place, creates something better, but instead of 100% migration to that something better, you have maybe a 30% migration tops, at least in this generation.  In 50 years will that figure be higher?  Sure!  But until then you have to pay for the new rocket ship while maintaining the old horse and buggy.


2 thoughts on “They aren’t reading your Blog; they aren’t listening to your Podcast.

  1. Although I agree that members who get their news in the traditional way should not be forgotten, I have found that the cost of traditional marketing is much higher than using a Web 2.0 approach. The UFirst FCU launched a blog for members in January, 2007 and, although the purpose of The Boardcast is not marketing, it provides a means of communication with members that can’t be beat. The online hosting cost is $49.50 per year. I think credit unions can use traditional news venues and blog, comfortably, without “breaking the bank”.

  2. The heaviest use of social media is in the Gen Y segment… coincidentally, these are also the folks most in need now (and in the next few years) of credit. A credit union interested in growing, with a sound approach to thin-file lending, and a community charter would do well to invest a little in understanding social computing and how they might leverage it. Some of the efforts have been (ahem… opinion) lacking, but at least they’re present. If you don’t get in the game, interesting things happen like the other day I entered a search term “credit union” in myspace and came up with a sponsored link of

    Randall S. Pearson

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