Perspectives: Marketing Insights You Can Use Right Now

Rick Hall

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Before you get to the customer journey, understand the customer experience.

Posted by Rick Hall on Feb 27, 2017

“Customer journey” has already become one of financial marketing’s most popular buzzwords of the year. It seems you can’t have a conversation about banking, read a marketing strategy document or sit through a marketing presentation for senior management without hearing the term…along with disparate views as to what it means.

But here’s the problem with buzzwords: too many people spend more time bandying about a phrase like “customer journey” than doing the hard but fruitful work of actually deploying end-to-end initiatives to deliver the journey your customers desire. To really demonstrate your understanding of the customer journey, you have to dig in and be prepared to make some significant changes to the way your institution engages customers – across every channel they access.

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Financial Marketing, Banking and Financial Services

Bank Marketing: 5 steps to take now as you prepare for 2017

Posted by Rick Hall on Oct 25, 2016

Those turning leaves mean it’s planning season

On one hand, 2016 has flown by – early signs of leaves changing colors here in New England coupled with debates on the validity of the Farmer’s Almanac forecast for the upcoming winter. On the other hand, it is hard not to feel like the past 10 months have provided a grueling set of body blows to the industry: CFPB, phantom cross-selling, Fintech, tight margins and risk management. These realities paired with other priorities now need to be gathered and organized to make sense of where we go from here.

Welcome to strategic planning season.

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Banking and Financial Services

The newest internet sensation is...a credit card?

Posted by Rick Hall on Sep 14, 2016

During a week where the banking news cycle felt an awful lot like the current presidential campaign - with provocative coverage of items like the a cross-sell fiasco, calls for investigation and questions of who knew what and when did they know it - a really interesting, and potentially foreshadowing event took place in the industry.

It isn’t all that surprising that more negative stories commanded the headlines - as with the campaign - but this one caught our attention (and it wasn’t because of a cool Fintech rollout).


When was the last time a bank product flew off the shelf like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card?

We briefly highlighted the story in our most recent post highlighting the content marketing of 15 banks over a one-week period.  The card's popularity alone is newsworthy...but add to that the fact that Chase hasn't spent a dime on marketing the card. This really is a defining, viral 'gotta have one' moment for a bank product.

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Topics: Banks, Banking and Financial Services

Bank mergers: Key activities to make the deal successful.

Posted by Rick Hall on Jul 27, 2016

One of the areas that we noted in our annual outlook in January was the fact that all signs were pointing to an anticipated increase in the number of bank mergers in 2016. While most of the deals announced to date have been relatively small due to increased regulatory scrutiny on readiness in larger institutions, there does seem to be a growing undercurrent of activity. This arguably is driven more on seller motivation than buyer strategy. Regardless of the drivers, it appears to be a good opportunity for smaller buyers to make hay while their much larger competitors deal with meeting the demands of regulators in preparation for their next move.

So the mixed environment (which seems to have a few years of runway left) creates the need for those who are in the position to buy to take stock of some internal factors prior to jumping on the merger bandwagon. Here are a few thoughts to consider going forward.

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Banks, Bank Merger Communications, Banking and Financial Services

Financial Brand Forum: Top 20 Takeaways

Posted by Rick Hall on May 25, 2016

Don’t distress. It’s apparently worse than it seems...but it’s the same as it has been.

Last week, BKM ventured out to Las Vegas to attend the Financial Brand Forum. It was impossible to miss the underlying passion that the Forum brings to their event; we're already talking about plans to head back next year.    

There is no question that financial marketers today face more headwinds than ever before. Not only are the industry challenges as onerous as ever but now bank marketers must respond to a mobile world that dictates what all customers expect. Aren’t we just talking about only how we compare to the other banks in our market? Nope! And it won’t be that case ever again.

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Topics: Financial Marketing, Banking and Financial Services, Financial Brand

Will you be traveling to The Financial Brand Forum 2016?

Posted by Rick Hall on May 10, 2016

BKM will be there!

Bruce McMeekin and Rick Hall are looking forward to attending the Financial Brand Forum next week in Las Vegas, from May 16th -18th.

If you are also planning to attend, let us know - it would be great to coordinate a time to see you while we're there! Either way, stay tuned - we will be sharing our thoughts and key takeaways through our blog and via twitter (@BKMMarketing) both during and following the Forum. 

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Topics: Banking and Financial Services, Financial Brand

Enhance Your Bank's Sales and Marketing Initiatives: 5 Tips

Posted by Rick Hall on Mar 17, 2016

no-5-1176806.jpgPart three of a three part observation series

In my last post we examined a few ways that banks can elevate the role of data in their marketing programs to begin the process of gaining better alignment to overall strategy. This post will focus on the sales aspect of sales and marketing campaigns – what can be referred to the execution channel. But a word of caution: sales and sales people are no longer synonymous.

As with our data post, you will find five areas of focus for bank marketers to enhance sales activities. Since we emphasized the critical nature of list development driven by strategy, we would be remiss if we now veered back to traditional sales activities to execute the program. Modern marketing programs should create buyers - not just serve as a ‘warm lead sheet’ for field staff.

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Banks, Banking and Financial Services

Five Steps to Jump Start Your Bank Marketing Data Strategy

Posted by Rick Hall on Mar 08, 2016

Understanding Strategy Makes for Better Marketing Execution and Sales Results, Part Two

Part two of a three part observation series

In my first post I started the discussion around the need for better alignment between bank strategy and sales and marketing initiatives.   For years, many bank growth initiatives have suffered either from cases of data overload, often referred to as the kitchen sink strategy (leading to inconclusive results) or data access paralysis resulting from legacy infrastructure (which provides little, if any insights into why programs succeed or fail). These challenges are real and our daily experiences lead us to a frustrating conclusion: many bank marketers underestimate the importance of good data in building any worthwhile campaign.

A quick word about data

The rapid increase in the amount of customer information available to bankers today is staggering, not to mention the mind blowing amount of R&D spent by technology providers on Big Data initiatives - particularly when you realize how little of the output is actually being utilized. While the banking industry is continuing to progress, we propose five steps that can jump start your institution’s work with data in developing and managing sales and marketing campaigns.

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Topics: Bank Marketing, data, Banking and Financial Services

Understanding Strategy Makes for Better Bank Marketing Execution and Sales Results

Posted by Rick Hall on Mar 01, 2016

Part one of a three part observation series

Over the past twenty years, it has continually amazed me just how vigorously discussed and overthought the sales process (including the marketing support function) has become in the banking industry. So many financial and human resource investments have been deployed to find the right structure that it really is one of the great industry head-scratchers to observe.

Maybe the reason behind it is due to the industry trying to hang onto the concept of differentiation based on service - flooding frontline staff members with concepts like balanced scorecards, product sales “cheat sheets”, competitive positioning tools, and sales training boot camps – and that we just can’t face reality. Service in the unspecified way that most banks use the term just doesn’t make you different. So what's left, price?

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Banks, Banking and Financial Services

One last 2016 outlook: 3 major bank marketing drivers

Posted by Rick Hall on Jan 28, 2016

Change in banking isn't's here!

So we are almost one month into the New Year and by now, all of us have consumed a wide variety of 2016 outlooks from the best prognosticators following the banking industry.

I always find it interesting to gauge whether this year’s version of ‘trends’ and ‘game-changers’ is really materially different from previous years or just delivers a few new positioning modifications - like ‘define a digital marketing strategy for our bank’ to ‘explore new opportunities for digital banking at our bank’.

What's great about outlooks is that they can generate strategic and visionary conversations and energize teams around what is possible - the challenge is that success is always a reflection of capable execution and too many times vision and execution do not align.

The road forward

As we look at the broad landscape of bank marketing and strategy these days, there are three major drivers that all of us in the bank marketing world should focus on in 2016…regardless of the size and scale of institution.

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Topics: Banking and Financial Services