CARTERET, N.J.-Credit unions would be well advised to tackle the awareness gap in 2013.

"This industry continues to have an awareness issue with people not knowing what we're all about," said Sean McDonald, director of business development at Mid-State FCU here and chair of the CUNA Marketing Council. "If we want to deal with this awareness problem ... more dollars are going to have to be allocated to marketing and business development."

McDonald also predicted that in the new year CUs will begin to more effectively use mobile and social media for their marketing efforts, but he cautioned that "I don't think there's going to be any grand invention or grandiose enlightenment with social media. It's going to be slow and steady and continue to build with what you've been able to do thus far."

One change from early 2012, he said, is that more small to mid-size CUs have gotten a foot in the door with mobile, realizing that it is a "must have" and allocating the resources to make it available to members.

With both mobile and social, it's important to use the 2013 to leverage those tools to tell the CU's story, and stress the CU difference, said McDonald. "This whole mess we've gone through in the past few years, in a sense it's caused a decrease in consumer confidence," he said. "There's still a great deal of trust issues with financial institutions in general, and I think credit unions have this opportunity-we just need to continue to capitalize on that and make people aware that there are other options for them."

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