Peek Inside: Tropical Financial’s In-House Marketing Department

Name of Financial Institution: Tropical Financial Credit Union
Area served: Southeast Florida
Founded: 1935

Assets: $587 million
Number of members: 55,000
Number of branches: 11
Members per branch: 5,000
Loans: $375 million
Investments: $195 million
Capital: $52 million (8.86%)
12-Month Share Growth: -1.25%
12-Month Loan Growth: -9.88%
ROA: -0.20%

Number of total employees: 170
Ratio of customers to employees: 324:1

Number of employees in marketing department: 5 (2.94% of entire workforce)

  • Amy McGraw, VP Marketing
  • One Manager
  • One Graphic Designer
  • One Research Analyst
  • One Coordinator

Number of campaigns run every year: 4 major promotions, plus monthly promos

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

The social media strategy is just now being implemented. It is a hub-and-spoke type of strategy. There is a central hub that determines direction of the various teams as well as monitor and moderate posts through SocialVolt. Each team is platform-based. We have a Facebook/Google+ team, Twitter team, YouTube/Flickr team, LinkedIn Team, Blogging Team, and Blog commenting team. Each team is made up of 3-5 people from various departments — not all marketing. Each day the central team disseminates a topic for the various teams to engage about, and each team is responsible for posting and engaging depending on the platform. Through SocialVolt, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter activity is monitored and can be scheduled. Blogs are vetted ahead of time and blog commenters are all executive staff. Each team member is assigned an iPad to keep data secure and happy; none of the engagement is happening over our network, but through WiFi or 3G on their iPads. Measurements through SocialVolt include Facebook insights, share of voice, and other free tools.

URL for Twitter account: @TropicalFCU
Nature of tweets: Announcements and intra-industry networking
Twitter account created: March 5, 2009
Twitter followers: 169
Assets per follower: $3.47 million
Number of followers for every 1,000 members: 3.1
Accounts followed: 140
Tweets sent: 323
Average # of tweets sent per day: 0.29
Average # of followers added per day: 0.15

URL for Facebook page:
Facebook page created: September 16, 20o9
Number of Facebook ‘Likes’: 518
Assets per Facebook ‘Like’: $1.13 million
Number of Facebook ‘Likes’ per 1,000 members: 9.4
Average # of Likes added per day: 0.56

URL for YouTube channel:
YouTube account created: August 13, 2008
Number of videos uploaded:
Number of subscribers: 5
Total video views: 3,514
Average # of views per video: 270

URL for LinkedIn Page:
Number of LinkedIn Followers: 210

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?
Reduction of budget, strong competition, expensive media market, website redesign, deployment of new social media strategy, and redesign of checking product.

Critical products/services to market this year?
Loans, checking, loans, growth of consumer and commercial accounts, loans… Did we mention loans already?

How are branches and front line staff integrated into marketing initiatives?
Monthly marketing bulletins distributed via email, weekly branch conference calls on Fridays, monthly branch manager and assistant branch manager meetings that marketing presents upcoming and present promotions. Marketing coordinator also makes “road show” rounds to make sure the branches are presenting a unified member experience.

How do you track marketing ROI?
It depends on the campaign/promotion. We’ve used year-over-year stats, we’ve used specific calls-to-action, like “bring this in” or “mention this ad.” We also use Google analytics to measure web based traffic.

Each promotion is reported to the board in terms of costs, results and comparison to year prior, or month prior, depending on the promotion.

Bigger campaigns are given status updates with monthly costs as well as overall costs and monthly side-by-side, year-over-year results. We report the success as well as those that weren’t so successful. That is important for transparency because not everything is going to work every time.

Favorite campaign?
Amy McGraw: I’ve been here only seven months, and my favorite has been the “Swipe Where It Counts” promotion we launched mid-October 2011 in response to BofA’s $5 debit fee announcement. For every five debit swipes (signature or PIN) the member receives $1, up to $5 a month for the first 6 months the account is opened. We put it together in less than 20 hours and it has become so popular it was made a permanent feature for all new checking accounts starting in March 2012. Members are still talking about it.

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