Selling the CU Experience

Award-winning marketers share their secrets to success.

October 29, 2013
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CU Mag: What are some keys to marketing/business development success?

Carrell: It’s important to think strategically and understand that great marketing is an incredible investment. But you must be able to prove that.

You must be able to lead and live the credit union’s brand. And you’ve got to be willing to institute and campaign for needed changes--whether it’s with the budget, the culture, or the product. Marketers need to take the lead on this.

Nicholas: The key to success, at least in my organization, is that I don't work in a vacuum. My team works with every department on promotions.

We need things from different areas, so working with everyone is critical to our success and to the organization's success. And, again, it’s important to analyze everything so we can prove what we do is successful and that it’s worth the money we spend.

Reed: It starts with the organization’s leadership realizing the value marketing and business development bring to the table and investing in both. Many leaders undervalue our professions because they don’t understand them. We have to become adept at using metrics, which is their language to prove our value.

Other keys to success include being a change agent, thinking strategically, being a visionary, having endless amounts of energy, being a great networker, and being able to build relationships quickly.

You also have to be good at motivating yourself and celebrating your own successes.

CU Mag: What’s one thing your colleagues might not know about you?

Nicholas: I was a professional sled dog driver.

Reed: That sounds made up, Lisa.

Nicholas: I know. But growing up, I had 40 to 80 dogs at any given time. People know the Iditarod, which is a distance race, but we were sprint racers, going for speed. We had teams of three, four, six, and eight dogs.

Reed: I’m kind of a cruise-aholic. I love to travel, and I’ve been to many incredible places. Cruises give me the chance to get off the grid, disconnect, be with my family, and recharge. Travel is relaxing, but it also fulfills my need for adventure.

Carrell: I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I’m retiring soon so I'm going to finally get the chance. It could be fiction or nonfiction; maybe both.

I’ve got a lot of ideas germinating, but I haven’t mapped anything out yet.

CU Mag: If you could be any rock star, who would it be?

Nicholas: Pink. I just love that she’s a rebel.

Reed: Elton John. Who doesn’t love Elton John, or at least his music? He also has a great way of promoting himself—he’s a marketing and business development genius if you think about it. So isn’t he a lot like our credit unions?

If Elton just had a great product but not the marketing and business development genius that goes with it—the outrageous clothes, crazy shoes, big glasses, goodwill toward charity, close bonds with people of influence—he’d just be another “American Idol” contestant. Anyone with a certain amount of talent can get on “Idol,” but the winners are great marketers and business developers, too.

Carrell: I’d be Bono from U2. He’s an amazingly creative guy—a great lyricist and singer. Plus, I really admire his activism concerning Africa. I like his philanthropy and his business acumen. I just think he totally rocks.

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