Peek Inside: Pen Air FCU’s In-House Marketing Department


[Editor’s Note: If you’d like to have your financial institution’s in-house marketing department profiled on The Financial Brand, please complete the questionnaire here. Submissions from banks would be greatly appreciated, as the last three profiles have been credit unions.]

Pen Air Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1936 to serve civil service and military employees assigned to bases in the area, along with their immediate families. Today the credit union also serves many other employee groups.

Name of Financial Institution: Pen Air FCU
Area served: Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida
Website: www.penair.org

Assets: $1.12 billion
Number of members: 105,000
Number of branches: 15, plus 4 student-run branches in high schools
Members per branch: 7,000 (5,526 if counting the 4 student branches)
Loans: $493 million
Investments: $551 million
Capital: $129 million (11.5%)
12-Month Share Growth: 7.71%
12-Month Loan Growth: 2.54%
ROA: 1.12%

Number of total employees: 310
Ratio of customers to employees: 339:1

Number of employees in marketing department: 6 (1.93% of entire workforce)

  • Patty Veal, VP of Marketing
  • AVP, Military Affairs Officer
  • Communications Specialist/Branch & Community Liaison
  • Marketing Media Specialists (x2)
  • Graphic Artist

Number of campaigns run every year: At least 3-4

Systems & Tools

Have Now Don’t Have Not Yet,
But Plan To
Formal written marketing plan X
Brand standards manual (addressing design) X
Brand guidelines book (for staff) X
CRM system X
MCIF system X
Onboarding program X
Matrix mail program X
Social media strategy X
In-branch video merchandising system X
Formal SEO strategy X

In-House vs. Vendor

In-House Vendor Both
Advertising X
Design X
Media buying X
Direct mail X
Email marketing X
Web design/development X
Online advertising/marketing X
Social media X
Promotional items, giveaways X
Sales collateral, brochures X
Public relations X
Community relations/events X

Social Media Strategy

We first started using social media in 2008, but didn’t use it regularly until 2009. We typically spend five hours a week.

URL for Twitter account: @penair
Nature of tweets: Press releases and announcements
Twitter account created: March 30, 2009
Twitter followers: 312 (equal to 0.3% of overall membership)
Accounts followed: 7
Tweets sent: 443
Average # of tweets sent per day: 0.41
Average # of followers added per day: 0.29

URL for blog: www.penairfcu.blogspot.com
Focus of blog: Online newsletter
Blog launched: October 21, 2009
Total # of blog posts published: 142
Average # of blog posts per month: 5
Comments enabled? Yes (moderated)
Total # of blog comments: 6

URL for Facebook page: www.facebook.com/penair
Facebook page created: September 4, 2009
Number of Facebook Likes: 1,808 (equal to 1.7% of overall membership)
Average # of Likes added per day: 2

URL for YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/PenAirJessica
YouTube account created: August 17, 2009
Number of videos uploaded:
49
Number of subscribers: 2
Total video views: 1,640
Average # of views per video: 33.5

Advice for other social marketers: Use contests sparingly to drum up interest. Facebook ads help in the beginning to grow initial awareness of your page. Also, continuously post helpful content that will keep members coming back for more.

Marketing Channels Deployed

Using Now Don’t Use Not Yet,
But Plan To
Direct mail X
Print ads X
TV ads X
Radio ads X
Billboards/outdoor X
Ads within online banking/bill pay X
Paid banner ad placements X
Search engine marketing (e.g., Adwords) X
Microsites X
Email marketing X
eStatement ads X
QR codes X
Facebook X
Twitter X
YouTube X
LinkedIn X
Foursquare X
Blog X
Online forum X

Marketing Strategy

Biggest challenge in the next 12 months?
Determining accurate ROI on our projects and campaigns. Currently there is a lot of educated guesswork that we would like to eliminate. We are responsible for loan growth in a competitive market, especially mortgage loans in a depressed area. Personnel changes with expansion of the department, and combating loss of corporate intelligence. Integrating and utilizing our new MCIF system.

Critical products/services to market this year?
The most critical are membership, mortgages, Premier Relationship Rewards checking account, and loans. We will promote these products/services through our 2012 Pen Air Patrol Campaign, and possibly a separate mortgage campaign.

How are branches and front line staff integrated into marketing initiatives?
We host contests and incentives to encourage all employees (front line, branches, and back office) to provide feedback and/or ideas for all marketing purposes. Each time a campaign is launched we visit the branches to generate excitement and knowledge about the campaigns. This helps to create momentum and participation.

How do you track marketing ROI?
We glean as accurate of data as we can from our member management system and then compare that with the dollars spent in that time period, on that product or for that campaign. We are working now to develop a more accurate process of determining ROI, but this has been one of our biggest challenges.

Favorite campaign?
The 2012 Pen Air Patrol — a credit union awareness campaign, as well as a small jab at big banks. It is something that has never been done before in this market. There was a lot of research, creativity, and thinking outside of the box involved.

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