Lawrie Ferguson

Lawrie Ferguson started working at Coast Capital Savings as an assistant product manager in 1990, and worked her way up over 17 years at the Surrey, BC-based credit union, where she now heads a team of 40. Last year, Ferguson led innovations like the (yes, really) free chequing account, backed with cheeky ad campaigns stressing CCS' position as the 'unbank,' and helped CCS win Marketer of the Year honours from the BC chapter of the American Marketing Association, not to mention more than 50,000 new customers. (Efforts stressing the free factor included a TV spot showing people compelled to take free things from a mall, even if they were broken.)

Lawrie Ferguson started working at Coast Capital Savings as an assistant product manager in 1990, and worked her way up over 17 years at the Surrey, BC-based credit union, where she now heads a team of 40. Last year, Ferguson led innovations like the (yes, really) free chequing account, backed with cheeky ad campaigns stressing CCS’ position as the ‘unbank,’ and helped CCS win Marketer of the Year honours from the BC chapter of the American Marketing Association, not to mention more than 50,000 new customers. (Efforts stressing the free factor included a TV spot showing people compelled to take free things from a mall, even if they were broken.)

‘Lawrie is a hands-on leader,’ says CD Chris Staples of Rethink, CCS’ agency. ‘She was instrumental in coming up with the free chequing product and the bank’s new open branch design. In many organizations the head of marketing is left to worry about the ads. Lawrie worries about the whole customer and staff experience before even thinking about the advertising.’

‘I’m very proud of the team I work with, and the fact that as an organization we’re living up to our mission and our values,’ says Ferguson. ‘We believe that segmentation doesn’t belong in the product as much as in how you take that product to market. That approach is really distinctive, I think.’

Ferguson is currently in the midst of a redesign of the marketing division. ‘It’s exciting, because a lot of what we do in marketing is not just external but internal. And we’re a service organization, so if our field people don’t understand what the brand’s trying to do, we can have problems. It’s great now, because people are excited about the brand.’

In the future, Ferguson wants to get the company involved in social networking, and hopes to be at the forefront of its push to go national.

‘To have the opportunity to be a national player in the financial institution space and be on the team leading that would be very cool,’ she says. ‘I think my team can do a lot in terms of pushing us into new geographical areas, and new ideas around marketing as well.’