In the News
Create A Solid Marketing
Program For Your Bank
Community Bank Supplement
Pittsburgh Business Times
April 16th, 1999
By Maria T Bernardo Brady
What is the exponential power of a
solid marketing communications program? How do you know
your marketing efforts are effective? How can a community
bank compete against the "big buck" splash
of larger financial institutions? Thought provoking
questions with answers that could fill pages of this
supplement. However, let's focus on some basic principles
that will allow a community bank to initiate an effective
Never underestimate the value good
marketing can add to your bottom line. View marketing
as an ongoing effort, not a reactive measure to raise
deposits or loans.
Develop a plan. A fundamental approach,
yet difficult to implement given the many hats worn
by community bank personnel. However, be disciplined
and establish a framework for bank profitability - how
you expect to achieve your goals and how marketing will
contribute to increased market share.
Marketing is a combination of message
delivery vehicles - external print and broadcast advertising,
in-branch signage, direct mail, statement stuffers,
ad specialties, employee incentives and other creative
mediums. Advertising is only one component of marketing.
Sporadically placing ads in the newspaper does not provide
enough frequency for customer/prospect recognition or
top of the mind awareness. A well-planned media-buying
schedule can save you money and result in better public
awareness of your Bank.
Marketing vehicles should communicate
a consistent message. Continuity is key in selling your
product or service. Select one theme, one image and
consistently use them in your ads, flyers, signs and
statement stuffers promoting that specific product or
service. Mixing messages con fuses your customer and
leaves them wandering 'Who are you?" and 'Just
what are you trying to sell me?"
can be affordable and tailored to your bank's philosophies.
Purchasing materials from stock catalogs can be useful
in certain situations. However, name personalization
and creating a marketing "personality" for
your bank will help establish a positive, progressive
Educate your front line staff on the
bank's corporate goals and marketing objectives. Quick
staff meetings, along with a newsletter or Information
bulletin, are very effective in fostering communication.
Your front line staff should be aware of any marketing
efforts, advertising schedule, rate changes or special
offers. Keeping them informed boosts morale and contributes
to a better sales effort.
Track your response rate. Tracking
marketing efforts does not require custom software or
hours of time. Simply ask your receptionist, customer
service representative, teller or loan officer to ask
their customer! prospect how they heard about your home
equity offer, business product, etc. Was it a statement
stuffer, exist ing customer, newspaper ad, etc.? On
a weekly basis collect your responses. Answers could
be logged in Microsoft Access Database or Excel Spreadsheet,
found on most operating systems. Reports will allow
you to evaluate your program and track trends.
Invite your staff to offer suggestions.
What's working? What ideas do they have for a promotion?
Encouraging ideas will spark creativity and helps them
take ownership of the bank's goals.
You don't need flash or glitz to compete
with the "big boys" just begin with a cohesive
marketing pro gram supported by management and staff.
Take advantage of your internal structure as a community
bank, which allows you to quickly respond to market
conditions, personally know your customers and work
as a team to drive your Bank to success. Your rewards
can be exponential in terms of profitability and public
By Maria T. Bernardo Brady is owner
of The Marketing Edge in North Huntingdon, PA. She can
be reached at 724-863-3105.