BANK AND FINANCIAL SERVICES SOLUTIONS

Perspectives: Marketing Insights You Can Use Right Now

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

Topics: Bank Marketing, Banking and Financial Services

How Banks Can Improve Social and Content Marketing: Part Two

Posted by Rick Hall and Laura Costello on Sep 09, 2016

A one-week snapshot of bank content marketing activity

Last week we posted that we were looking at the actual ‘what’ behind a random sampling of fifteen banks' social marketing efforts, specifically reviewing the industry's top used social media platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

As a refresh, the fifteen banks we observed were evenly divided into three segments:

  • Five traditional national and super regional US banks 
  • Five traditional community and regional US banks (generally under $10 billion in assets); and
  • Five non-traditional banks (virtual banks with no branches)

Again, we know this isn’t a scientific study (by the way, we don’t have dozens of interns around to surf sites and log activity – we did the work ourselves) and that the timing around Labor Day wasn’t picked for its height of social media activity levels. But even so, we found some trends that were at least interesting to us – and hopefully some of you as well.

So what did we observe from the social and content marketing efforts of 15 banks? 

Read More

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

Content Marketing in 2016: How Banks Can Improve Social and Content Marketing Efforts

Posted by Rick Hall and Laura Costello on Aug 31, 2016

You don't need to spend much time on social media these days to realize just how overwhelming it is to process the constant stream of new content. And with research showing the strong correlation between number of posts per month to increased web traffic, this trend is only continuing to grow.   

Read More

Topics: Bank Marketing, Content Marketing, 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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

Topics: Bank Marketing, Banks, Banking and Financial Services

Bank Merger Marketing: Why aren’t acquired customers always considered NEW customers?

Posted by Bruce McMeekin on Jun 08, 2015

Directing a bank merger is a tremendous undertaking. Between consolidating systems, reviewing brand implications, evaluating locations, assessing operational impact and reassuring employees, there are countless decisions to make every day. 

With executives focusing so much energy on operational details, existing customers are often overlooked. The mom, dad, business owner, student, not for profit group...all are people who chose to bank with a specific institution for very real and personal reasons. Was it the ease of the location or the branch manager or teller? Was it the interest rate or products and services being offered? Does it really matter?

The answer is YES, and understanding what motivates these new customers is critical in keeping them as customers for years to come.

Read More

Topics: Bank Marketing, Bank Merger Communications

How can you reduce customer attrition in your upcoming bank merger?

Posted by Bruce McMeekin on May 20, 2015

The most critical factor and thus the most important part of a bank merger is making sure the value of the merger doesn’t walk out the door. Literally, preventing customers from leaving the bank you just acquired is by far the most important thought on everyone’s mind involved in leading a bank merger. Customers will react in funny ways after a bank merger announcement  - including wandering across the street to the competition for the most basic of offers and for promises that are short-lived.

So why do 17% of customers leave or ‘attrite’ during and after a merger anyway?

According to Deloitte Center for Banking, there are two top reasons why customers switch banks after a merger: purely emotional reasons and a competitor’s offer.

Read More

Topics: Bank Marketing, Bank Merger Communications