Financing a Hoopty at a Credit Union.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Financing a Hoopty at a Credit Union.

  1. Rob, I liked this promotion, too. I found it’s creative use of Web 2.0 technology clever and refreshing. My only criticism of Carolina Postal is, what now? The promotional is over, the blog hasn’t been updated since December and it’s still there. I may be wrong but, at this point, the blog is more a “case study” rather than an actual blog. Also, I think a blog (by it’s definition) is designed to encourage dialog and response. I didn’t see any place for that in this “blog”.

  2. That’s a very good point, Ginny. Yet, the CU still made money. There are many successful credit union blogs that don’t add to the bottom line. This one succeeded as a marketing tool.

  3. I like the fact that more CUs are finally starting to utilize social media channels, but my qualm with the Hoopty campaign was the channels that Carolina Postal CU chose.

    Hosting the video on YouTube was fine, but I don’t think that a blog was the right medium to use for the campaign. Blogs are meant to be kept up over time and like Ginny mentioned, nothing has happened there for several months.

    Perhaps it would have been better to create a microsite around the campaign and just upload information accordingly. The reason for a microsite over a blog is that people can still stumble across the blog even now that the campaign is over, and when they hit the site they see all of the old dates with nothing new. If it had been a website, they could have just posted the information as they pleased without the date markers. Additionally, if the campaign is truly over, Carolina Postal could take the site down, or change the messaging so that it said something like “Watch for our next hoopty campaign this fall.”

    However, these are all just nitpicks from a born and bred marketer. I should probably rather be praising Carolina Postal for doing as much as they did. Maybe next year they can take what they learned with this campaign and make it even more successful for the next go around.

  4. Using ‘beaters’ for letter carriers is an interesting idea but are mail trucks a thing of the past, might be difficult for ‘Newman’ type personel to climb in and out of a Porche or BMW Boxster.

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