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Marketing Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them

Marketing plays a crucial role in helping credit unions stand out and reach members. However, creating awareness is not enough to ensure success. In this article, we’ll explore common pitfalls in marketing and discuss how credit unions should focus on more than just awareness to achieve results.

The Awareness Trap

Many marketing agencies are great at getting attention and making people aware of brands. They create catchy ads, run social media campaigns, and partner with influencers to put brands in the spotlight. But here’s the thing: just making people aware of a credit union doesn’t guarantee more members. It’s just the first step in a long journey toward success.

Pitfall 1: Lack of Strategy and Focus on Conversions

One pitfall in marketing is not having a well-thought-out plan that connects awareness efforts to actual new accounts or member actions. Many agencies focus only on getting attention without considering how to turn that attention into real outcomes.

To overcome this pitfall, marketing agencies should work closely with their clients to develop strategies that not only create awareness but also focus on getting members and keeping them. By understanding the target audience, finding the best ways to reach them, and designing effective ways to convert their interest into accounts, agencies can achieve better results.

Pitfall 2: Forgetting to Engage the Audience

Another pitfall is not engaging with potential members after they become aware of a credit union. Building a loyal member base requires ongoing engagement and nurturing relationships. If agencies don’t continue to reach out to interested people, they might miss out on converting them into new accounts.

Marketing agencies should take a holistic approach that includes strategies for after people become aware of a credit union. They can do this by sending personalized emails, showing relevant ads to interested people, and creating valuable content that keeps the brand in people’s minds. By doing this, agencies can turn awareness into meaningful actions.

Pitfall 3: Unrealistic Metrics and Vanity Metrics

It’s important to measure marketing efforts accurately. However, focusing only on superficial numbers like social media likes or website visits can lead to wrong conclusions about a campaign’s impact on membership.

Agencies need to work closely with their clients to establish clear and measurable goals that align with business objectives. Instead of focusing on vanity metrics, like likes or website traffic, they should look at metrics that matter, such as the cost of acquiring new members, conversion rates, and revenue growth. By focusing on these meaningful metrics, agencies can show the real impact of their work.

Pitfall 4: Marketing Unfamiliar Concepts

Marketing an unfamiliar product or service poses a significant challenge for marketers. Introducing a new or innovative product to the market requires generating awareness and understanding among potential members who may be unfamiliar with the offering. Educating the target audience about the unique features, benefits, and value proposition becomes crucial. It involves investing in market research, member insights, and tailored messaging. Marketers need to develop comprehensive strategies, leveraging various channels, such as digital advertising and influencer collaborations, to build awareness, create curiosity, and establish credibility. Identifying early adopters and addressing potential concerns through clear messaging and storytelling techniques are essential to overcome this pitfall and successfully market unfamiliar products and services.

In some cases, it may be necessary to create an entry point to market an unfamiliar product effectively. This could involve offering a smaller or introductory version of the product, providing a trial, or highlighting a specific use case or benefit that resonates with the target audience. By providing a low-risk opportunity to experience the product, potential members can gain familiarity and develop trust. This entry point acts as a stepping stone towards wider adoption and acceptance of the unfamiliar product. Alongside the entry point strategy, it remains crucial to maintain clear messaging, storytelling techniques, and ongoing communication to address any doubts or misconceptions potential members may have. By combining these tactics, credit unions can overcome the challenges of marketing unfamiliar products and successfully introduce them to members.

Pitfall 5: Forgetting to Answer the Phone and Respond to Emails

Another significant pitfall in marketing is the lack of new member reception and follow-up, which can cause a marketing lead to fall flat. Even with a well-executed marketing campaign, generating initial interest from potential members is only the beginning. If there is a lack of effective follow-up and nurturing of leads, the initial momentum can quickly fade, resulting in missed opportunities and failed conversions. A marketing company does not often take responsibility for a lead once it’s delivered.

Pitfall 6: Not Balancing Budgets Between Creative and Media

An additional pitfall in marketing is having an unbalanced media-to-creative budget, which can have a negative impact on the overall effectiveness of a marketing program. While media buying and placement are important for reaching the target audience, allocating an excessive budget to creative at the expense of media development can hinder the success of the campaign.

When the creative aspect of a marketing program is neglected, it can result in uninspiring or ineffective advertisements, content, or messaging. No matter how well-targeted or extensive the media reach is, if the creative elements fail to captivate and engage the audience, the marketing efforts may fall flat.

To avoid this pitfall, marketers should strive for a balanced allocation of the budget between media and creative development. Investing in creative resources, such as talented designers, copywriters, and content creators, enables the development of compelling and impactful advertising materials. Attention-grabbing visuals, persuasive messaging, and storytelling techniques play a crucial role in capturing the audience’s attention and driving desired actions.

Pitfall 7: Set It and Forget It

Another common pitfall in marketing is the “set it and forget it” approach, which refers to the lack of ongoing monitoring, optimization, and adaptation of marketing campaigns. Treating marketing efforts as a one-time setup without regular review and adjustments can hinder their effectiveness and limit the potential for desired outcomes.

By neglecting to continually evaluate campaign performance and consumer responses, marketers risk missing opportunities for improvement and fail to address evolving market dynamics. Consumer behaviors, market trends, and competitor activities change over time, and failing to adapt marketing strategies accordingly can result in diminishing returns or even render the efforts obsolete.

To avoid this pitfall, marketers must embrace a proactive and data-driven approach. Regularly monitor key performance metrics, analyze member feedback, and stay abreast of market developments. This information provides insights into campaign effectiveness and enables marketers to make informed adjustments to maximize results.


While marketing agencies are good at creating awareness and getting attention, their role doesn’t end there. To achieve success, agencies should avoid the pitfalls of marketing by developing clear strategies, focusing on converting customers, engaging with the audience, and using meaningful metrics to measure results.

By going beyond awareness, marketing agencies can become valuable partners in driving success. By understanding the target audience, keeping them engaged, and focusing on real credit union outcomes, agencies can make a lasting impact that positively affects the bottom line.