Almost everyone, at one time or another, has had a beater car. That’s why I loved Carolina Postal Credit Union’s program targeted at beater cars for their members. Apparently, in North Carolina a beater car is called a “Hoopty.” Credit Union Times wrote an article about this program in its January 30, 2008 issue. Creating a financing program directed at these types of cars made a lot of sense for the credit union’s postal worker membership. Many of the letter carriers, for example, use their own cars for their routes. A new car is not the best choice for this.
The credit union had a very high rate of return on its Hoopty program and it offered a product that its members genuinely appreciated. That’s the definition of win-win. It’s hard to find a better example of targeted marketing that would work specifically for credit unions.
Another impressive aspect of Carolina Postal’s approach is that it used traditional marketing (a contest) and new media marketing through its website, a blog and a video hosted on YouTube. That type of approach is a textbook example of what credit unions should be doing today.
I had to think, what other types of cars could be used for this type of program? For the credit union that has many middle-aged male members, a targeted program for used sports cars might be valuable. Being in that category myself, I can speak from experience. The credit union could even work with a car dealership that specialized in used sports cars.
Credit unions that see a lot of snow in the winter could offer specialty loans for jeeps and trucks with snowplows. Credit unions along the East and West Coast could target used sport utility vehicles suitable for pulling boat and Jet Ski trailers.
The lesson here is that members of a credit union have a common bond and common interests. The credit unions that are successful in identifying those common interests and marketing products that appeal to those interests will be successful.