If you’re a financial marketer, you can’t sit around all day reading banking blogs (even if you wanted to). So what are the top 10 you should focus on? The Financial Brand ranks them for you.
Today, The Financial Brand follows approximately 100 active blogs in the banking space. But in the last six years, more than that have died. That’s right, there are more dead blogs in the bank and credit union marketing world than live ones (108, to be exact). That’s why The Financial Brand thinks it is important to recognize the best of those that are still going.
This isn’t a popularity contest. This list is created for one reason, and one reason only: to help bank and credit union marketing executives find more information and insight with immediate relevancy that they can put to use in their daily jobs. There are a number of excellent blogs out there in the banking space — many have to do with technology, payments and innovation — but these often cover topics that are beyond the scope of marketing’s responsibilities. The blogs listed here offer a steady stream of content that financial marketers will find both interesting and applicable — maybe not 100% of the time, but often enough.
Last year, The Financial Brand published a similar list, but the scoring was based purely on a popular vote. While a democratic process has its advantages, The Financial Brand felt it would be more beneficial to readers if an standard scoring system was applied to this year’s rankings. The criteria used to score blogs and their relative weight are as follows:
- Relevancy to bank and credit union marketers
(28% of score)
- Quality/originality of posts (28% of score)
- Frequency of posts (22% of score)
- Engagement (11% of score)
- Longevity (5.5% of score)
- Design (5.5% of score)
Only blogs that (1) regularly explore issues with relevancy to financial marketers, and (2) have an active RSS feed were considered for this list. Any blogs that have been inactive for the last 30 days were not scored and were excluded from this list.
Please note: The Financial Brand will not be publishing or sharing any breakout scores for any of the blogs listed here, nor will we discuss/divulge how scores were determined — not even with the blog’s authors. So please, don’t ask what the “relevancy” score was for one blog or the other.
1. Snarketing 2.0
Web Address: snarketing2dot0.com
Primary Author(s): Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst with Aité Group
Ron has been blogging for a long time now, and his content is consistently some of the most original, insightful, entertaining and thought-provoking material in the financial industry. Ron frequently discusses issues related to data, research and analytics (particularly in the banking space), and even when he does talk about non-financial issues he almost always puts it into a context that bank and credit union marketers will appreciate.
2. ACTON Financial Marketing Insights
Web Address: actonfs.com/blog
Primary Author(s): Steve Topper, Joe Swatek
This blog is about as practical and tactical as a financial marketer will ever find. Steve regularly critiques ads, offers and direct mail pieces from both banks and credit unions, while Joe offers more general advice. It’s a near daily dose of clinical analysis, never off-topic, rarely (if ever) self-promotional, and maintains a constant focus on helping financial marketers sharpen their design and copywriting skills.
3. Bank Marketing Strategy
Web Address: jimmarous.blogspot.com
Primary Author(s): Jim Marous, SVP, Corporate Development at New Control
Of all the banking blogs out there, Jim’s is most similar to The Financial Brand. Jim regularly discusses the design of retail banking products/services, pricing, marketing and the customer experience. Jim’s posts will also frequently gravitate towards new/emerging technologies and channel integration, with a slant towards mobile. Some financial marketers will struggle putting the insights in some of these posts to use, but they will always find the material interesting and engaging.
4. Visible Banking
Web Address: www.visiblebanking.com
Primary Author(s): Christophe Langlois
If the subject of social media in the financial industry interests you, then this is the best one out there. There are few people who can match Christophe’s intellect, experience and passion for social channels in finance. He’s also extremely gracious and polite, even when he offers criticism — you can tell he’s a pleasant and affable Frenchman. Christophe’s blog posts are frequently built around case studies. He could be looking at the Twitter activity of a major European insurer one day, then the Facebook page from a U.S. bank the next. You never know exactly what he’ll be covering next, but you can always count on reading a fair analysis of social initiatives from financial institutions only.
5. The Gallup Blog
Web Address: thegallupblog.gallup.com
Primary Author(s): Assorted
This is a special blog Gallup has set up specifically for the financial industry. While they don’t publish as frequently as other blogs, they quality of content and caliber of writing are both top-notch. Their focus tends to skew towards the strategic side, but usually their articles will have relevancy to financial marketers at all levels — from CMOs down to Marketing Managers. And they support all their perspectives, opinions and recommendations with data, as you’d expect from a research firm as prestigious as Gallup.
6. The Raddon Report
Web Address: www.theraddonreport.com
Primary Author(s): Louie Lambrou, Pat Bator, et al
The research team at Raddon Financial Group has been pumping out posts that both bank and credit unions marketers would find relevant for at least 4-5 years now. Nearly every post they publish (except for the password-protected ones) offer something a financial marketing executive will find useful. You’ll always find data and charts in articles like “The Top Five Reasons Consumers Close a Checking Account,” ” How Consumers Currently Use Home Equity Lines of Credit” and “Demand for New and Used Auto Loans.” What kind of marketing exec in the retail banking space isn’t interested in that kind of information?
7. Datamonitor Financial
Web Address: www.datamonitorfinancial.com
Primary Author(s): Assorted
This is another strong blog from a research firm concentrating on the financial industry. And if there’s one thing bank and credit union marketers can’t get enough of, it’s insight supported by data. Datamonitor’s analysts pay close attention to the major shifts shaping financial services today. There posts are almost always the same length (around 250 words), but they manage to pack a gem or two into their compact format. Some readers might not relate to all the topics, nor find the international coverage particularly useful, but it’s still a blog many financial marketers should consider adding to their reading list.
Web Address: www.netbanker.com
Primary Author(s): Jim Bruene
Long before Jim Bruene founded the Finovate series of conferences, he was publishing fantastic reviews about new developments in the fintech world, skewing heavily towards online — and now mobile — innovations. In fact, he’s been blogging since 1996 — seventeeeeeen years, just about as old as the internet itself. In “blog years,” that would make Netbanker like 150 years old. Financial marketers might not find relevancy in everything Jim publishes, but the truth is: When a guy’s been doing what he’s doing as long as Jim has, you should listen to what he has to say. Everything is moving to digital channels, and financial marketers that want to stay abreast of the latest developments will want to read Netbanker.
9. Financial Services Club Blog
Web Address: thefinanser.co.uk/fsclub
Primary Author(s): Chris Skinner
Chris Skinner is what you could call a “financial philosopher.” He doesn’t write blog posts so much as he publishes essays and treatises. He will frequently wax about some fairly heady subjects like what banking might look like 100 years from now. As engrossing as these discussions can be, it isn’t the kind of stuff many lower-level marketing managers will likely find very applicable in their day jobs. It’s really suited best for CMOs, COOs, CEOs and bank directors.
10. Bank Innovation
Web Address: bankinnovation.net
Primary Author(s): Philip Ryan, JJ Hornblass, et al
If financial marketers tried to keep up with all the goings-on in the technology sector, their heads would explode; there’s just too much out there, and not much it has any bearing on the marketing function. But Bank Innovation does a nice job packaging up most of the news that bank and credit union marketers should know about. If you check this blog out regularly, you’ll be up to speed.
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