Why Banking Industry Marketing Executives Should Ditch Their Digital Laundry Lists Now

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Financial marketers are at a dead end. They are grappling with an increasingly wide range of responsibilities within an increasingly restricted perimeter of influence. This dichotomy often puts marketing in the unenviable position of having to move the revenue needle while working with fewer resources, smaller budgets, and less internal capacity.

Part of the reason for this is that over the past few years, the role of marketing has become primarily that of a ‘tactical executor’ – designing and launching promotional campaigns, managing social media channels and digital content. , public relations and brand management. In addition, marketers are often responsible for website maintenance, CRM maintenance, print marketing materials, community engagement, shareholder reports and customer surveys, as well as the management and planning of the department’s budget. A long list of responsibilities.

All of these tasks weaken the overall effectiveness of marketing and, more importantly, remove any emphasis or focus on strategy. Here is an example:

The management team of a community bank or credit union may agree on the need for a social media presence. The marketing team then delivers and implements a tactical deployment plan, defining channels, engagement goals, and posting quotas. The initiative becomes the component of an organizational strategic pillar, such as “increasing awareness of the community” or “creating a brand identity”.

However, this approach leaves a lot on the table. How can marketing show that this specific effort has had an impact? How can marketing effectively argue that more or less money and resources should be spent on this effort? More importantly, what is the value to the customer?

This example is unfortunately banal. Without simpler, more agile planning tools, marketers must try to pull together an array of tactics across multiple product lines and hope to gain internal credit for their efforts. Instead, marketing needs to close the gap with a whole new approach to strategy.

The problem with traditional planning

The focus of marketing has evolved over the years, from its roots as a sales function to an emphasis on relationship and societal marketing and, more recently, the rise of digital marketing.

However, even though marketing processes and platforms have changed, the original methodologies developed decades ago have not. The concept of the customer journey was created in the 1990s. The Ansoff matrix was designed in 1957. Customer characters in 1980.

While these and other tools still have their place, the landscape has changed. Marketing, as an organizational function, was previously directly involved in the “Marketing Mix”, commonly referred to as the 4 Ps – product, price, location and promotion. Today, many of them have been transferred to other departments, reducing marketing to a primarily promotional operation. With the further explosion of digital technologies, marketing departments have been forced to focus on scale of business rather than depth – amplifying quantity over quality.

If the fundamental purpose of marketing is to contribute to the growth of the organization, it must be clear how it achieves this.. However, it is not just a question of justifying the costs, but of shifting the approach of “doing things” to solving real business problems.

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Use a matrix instead of a massive plan

Traditional marketing planning tools are often too heavy and too long to be fully developed, and they do not provide any concrete and practical way to relate goals to results. Bank and credit union marketers need a more effective and efficient approach.

Like agile startups, where there is little time, resources, or money to build a robust plan that will become obsolete in a matter of months, financial marketers should approach planning from the perspective of the most impact. simple and fastest.

One solution is to use what we call “the 3W matrix”: 1.Why, 2. What 3. Wow


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The goal of this matrix approach is to build a strategy from your client’s perspective, with a focus on their situation, while creating a strategic link with the product-centric mindset of your institution.

Here’s how it might work using an example mortgage:

The why. Instead of conducting in-depth competitive assessments or creating generic and hypothetical client personalities, ask, “Why would anyone want a mortgage?” The goal is to identify the triggers – that is, the consumer’s situation – that would make them take an interest in your offer. It could range from “having a baby” to “having a new job all over town” or “wanting to get out of bad rental accommodation”. Create a master brainstorming list of these triggers.

The what. When marketers think of “what”, it’s usually about promotional tactics like email campaigns and billboards. Instead, think about the “what” in terms of clients’ needs and barriers in the context of their situation.

For example, needs may include “moving assistance”, while barriers may be “understanding the closing process”. The key here is not to limit ideas or comments to things only directly related to your product or service. It’s also important to consider emotional needs and barriers, not just physical ones.

The Wow. Once you’ve created your “why” and “what” lists, develop your “wow goal”. This includes addressing a selected mix of triggers, needs and obstacles that will generate the most unique and impactful value for the customer, generating a “wow!” of them. A mind-boggling goal for a mortgage product might look like this:

“New parents face many changes in their lives, and one of them is moving into a home that is suitable for their growing family (trigger / circumstances). Our wow goal is to provide a ‘concierge style’ offering aimed at helping them overcome preparation challenges and quickly acquire critical moving needs (context of needs / obstacles) to create a unique and seamless financial experience (impactful value). “

Don’t forget about monetization

Even with a clear strategic direction in place, that doesn’t mean it will convert directly to growth. The effectiveness of a marketing effort is often the result of a series of coordinated tactics working in tandem. However, teams may be forced to try to justify the ROI on individual activities, such as a direct mail campaign, instead of the strategy itself.

Establishing a monetization manager can help. Typically, this person is responsible for finding ways to get more money or other benefits from something the institution already owns, be it land, brand or advertising space on a blog. For bank and credit union marketing teams, a monetization manager can find ways to ensure that marketing investments and strategies generate the best possible dollar value, including direct and indirect returns.

In the above mortgage scenario, the value could range from direct loan generation, to income from a moving company partnership, to indirect growth through referrals.

While there is value in the role of marketing in building brand value, recognition and overall brand awareness, it is also essential to support this value with direct and revenue-generating strategies instead. of a only piecemeal approach.

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