Notably Quotable: Bank and Credit Union Marketing Missteps

The Financial Brand’s contributor-at-large, Mark Arnold, asked financial marketing professionals about the most common mistakes banks and credit unions make. Here’s what seven of them had to say.

By Mark Arnold, President On the Mark Strategies


eve_hernandez“People like creating marketing materials that appeal to them personally — i.e., ‘I like ads with dogs’ or ‘I don’t like that shade of green.’ They also react to competitors’ advertising too often — ‘Well, XYZ Financial has 10 billboards across town.’ Those are two of my big pet peeves. Financial marketers should focus on specific business goals and not be pressured to act upon personal tastes that don’t meet strategic objectives.

Eve Hernandez, Senior Marketing Executive, River City Federal Credit Union


renee_mckee“A couple of things come immediately to mind that many may be guilty of: not taking enough risks, and not differentiating their brand. Another common mistake is pushing products when financial institutions should be creating conversations, providing solutions and enhancing the customer experience. “

René McKee, VP/Marketing & Community Relations, California Coast Credit Union


kevin_stang“One of the most common mistakes made by marketers is we forget to measure. Let’s face it, marketers are not numbers people! Not many marketers will dive into their primary data and profile households opening/closing accounts, trend product growth, or map channels and branches to account activity. It is much easier to implement targeting strategies, ideas from some case study, trade publication, or conference presentation.”

Kevin Stang, Strategic Consultant, Raddon Financial Group


jay_kassing“Simple. The lack of follow through — no execution. Often marketers plan very well, but they don’t often pull it off. This leads to the second thing: failure to measure. Even if a marketer does execute their marketing strategies, most don’t measure to see the result of their marketing spend.”

— Jay Kassing, President, Marquis


jason_dias“One of the biggest mistakes I see banks and credit unions make in marketing is their continued overreliance on words — printed or spoken. No one wants another newsletter or a Christmas card from their bank or credit union. Most people throw this stuff away without ever reading it. But give new mothers a download with beautiful lullabies or give out Christmas music downloads during the holiday season and you are intentionally engaging your audience with something they will truly enjoy and appreciate. More importantly, they’ll share it with others.”

Jason Dias, Chief Creative Officer, Eloquent Online


amanda_thomas“A common mistake that I see happen is lack of frequency in getting the message out there to the target audience. This applies to anything you have to say to your audience, such as important information about account changes to a new product you are offering. I think this stems from the fact that many marketers assume people know more about their institution and its products and services than they actually do. If you’re going to put together a campaign and devote precious budget dollars to it, take the time to make sure that your plan allows for message frequency and consistency, and make sure you are getting it to the right people in the right way at the right time.”

Amanda Thomas McMeans, VP/Client Management, MarketMatch


“A mistake I often see with credit unions and banks is making marketing tactical and not strategic. Too many times marketing is about ‘deliverables’ — newsletters, brochures, inserts, websites, etc. Those are all important, but they are also all very tactical. The solution: Allocate regular weekly time to focus on ‘big picture’ issues your financial institution faces. Spend some time thinking and not just doing.

Mark Arnold, President, On The Mark Strategies

Note: If you would like to share your insights and participate in future editions of the “Notably Quotable” column, please send Mark an email.


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