It's been a little over a week since I returned from COOP THINK 14 in New Orleans. One statement keeps ringing in my ears and will stick with me going into the future. "Market in the year that you are in," advised Gary Vaynerchuk.
I'm paraphrasing, but this is the gist of what Gary had to say about social and digital marketing. "The only reason I've been as successful as a I am is that I have constantly marketed in the year that I am in. When Google AdWords came out, I jumped in and bought 'wine' for 10 cents. When YouTube launched, I started a daily video show immediately. When Twitter launched, I was there. The same goes for Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and all the rest. I make sure to get in early on every new technology and platform before the marketers get there and ruin everything for everyone."
This advice runs contrary to the norm in the credit union world. We're all about the tried and true. Many credit unions are just getting on Facebook at a time where your message won't register unless you pay. Credit unions are doing there first flashmob 11 years after it first became a phenomenon. Many credit unions don't have an iOS app seven years after the iPhone debuted, let alone an Android app. Very few credit unions have adopted responsive web design four years after it was introduced. The list goes on.
I know this is not news to anyone who follows the CU Water Cooler or other forward thinking financial services websites. Much has been written by many people about the need to move quicker, to be more current, to not be left behind, but I've never heard it put so succinctly and memorably as, "Market in the year that you are in. This will be my biggest take away from CO-OP THINK 14.
I speak at and attend a lot of conferences. Probably about eight to 10 annually. I like to connect with forward-thinking credit union people. I like to learn and absorb new ideas in person and I like to experience new cities. I am pretty fortunate that I don't have to pick and choose. However, most credit union professionals do have to pick and choose what in-person educational opportunities they will mark on the calendar.
In addition to supporting your state league (U.S.) or provincial central (Canada) events, I would recommend adding COOP THINK to your list of must-attend, credit-union-specific events. My recommended list is short and includes the CU Water Cooler Symposium (just sayin') and CUES CEO/Executive Team Network. COOP THINK 15 is happening on May 5-8, 2015 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Consider getting in on the credit-union-employee rate of $399 before July 1, only after you buy your CU Water Cooler Symposium 2014 ticket of course!
Thanks again to Bill Prichard for the invite to cover the event and kudos to Samantha Paxson and the CO-OP Financial Services team for putting on an incredible show.
Tim McAlpine lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. He is the President and Creative Director of Currency Marketing, an integrated marketing agency specializing in helping credit unions attract the next generation of members. Tim is best known as the creator of Young & Free and co-founder of the CU Water Cooler.