The Forum 2014: Full Agenda Released

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Over 20 of the most knowledgeable experts on marketing, branding and advertising in the entire financial industry will be speaking at The Financial Brand Forum 2014 — two straight days of pure financial marketing brain food. Here’s the full agenda.

The Financial Brand Forum is not going to be your typical financial services industry conference. We worked closely with speakers to tailor an agenda that’s all about “how to” and not “why you should.” We assume attendees already understand why the subject they want to learn about is important, so sessions will be intensive how-to workshops vs. general presentations about industry trends.

By focusing on the hows instead of the whys, attendees will leave with concrete ideas and strategies they can put to work when they get home. Nothing but practical ideas and actionable advice about the big branding, marketing and advertising problems financial marketers face today. Candid, direct, honest and focused on results, just like you’ve come to expect from The Financial Brand.

Don’t wait. This show has already started selling out …and that’s before the agenda was even released! Space is limited, and this is one event you simply won’t want to miss.

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Forum 2014 Agenda Venue Register Now!


Day 1: Thursday – April 3, 2014

9:00 – 9:30
Opening Address
Jeffry Pilcher, Publisher, The Financial Brand


9:30 – 10:30
Building The World’s Greatest Bank: The Umpqua Brand Experience
Lani Hayward, EVP of Creative Strategies, Umpqua Bank

lani_haywardUmpqua’s brand is one of the most admired in banking. It is chic, contemporary and stylish. It has a strong sense of local community flavor, yet it is infused with sophisticated urban design. How has Umpqua managed to build such a strong, differentiated brand? In this session, you’ll hear directly from one of the bank’s principle brand architects as they show you how they did it and what it took to pull it off.


10:45 – 11:45
The Mobile Future of Financial Marketing
Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst, Aité Group

ron_shevlinIn the good old days, financial marketing used to be straightforward. If a bank or credit union needed to promote a product, they would simply run an ad in the paper and send out some postcards. But now thanks to the mobile channel, marketing about to get a lot more complicated. What will banks and credit unions do when consumers learn about, research and open new checking accounts using only their iPhones? How will financial marketers sell new loans when the shopping experience is 100% mobile from start to finish? How will marketers need to adapt when tablets and smartphones dominate the new business development process? In this session, Ron will explain:

  • What financial marketing in the mobile channel looks like
  • How mobile devices can be used to generate new loans, new accounts and new relationships;
  • What new skills and strategies financial marketers will need in the all-mobile world; and
  • How some financial institutions are already utilizing mobile technologies in the consumer’s path-to-purchase today

10:45 – 11:45
Busting Ruts and Planting Seeds: A Guide To Unlocking New Ideas
Josh Streufert, Creative Director, Weber Marketing Group

josh_streufertAs financial marketers, we’re asked to solve the same basic questions over and over. So how do you avoid the creative doldrums and bust out of those ruts? How do you stay inspired? How do you build consensus among your stakeholders without succumbing to groupthink? How do you foster an internal culture that fuels innovation instead of fights it? In this session, Josh will teach you how to think creatively, understand creative people and how to communicate with them. He’ll share valuable insights into how marketing executives can get the very best from the creative professionals they work with. What you’ll learn:

  • register_buttonHow to think laterally
  • How to build a culture of innovation and creativity
  • Techniques for developing creative concepts — campaigns, designs, headlines, etc.
  • Tricks and tips for getting unstuck when you need ideas

Noon – 1:00
Networking Luncheon with Your Peers


1:00 – 2:00
Fueling the Sales Funnel With Online Advertising & Marketing Strategies
Matt Wilcox, Managing Director of Marketing Strategy and Innovation, Fiserv

matt_wilcoxIt’s getting harder and harder to get good results from traditional media channels. If print, TV and radio is losing its effectiveness, how can banks and credit unions drive new business and grow more relationships? In this session, Matt will show you the full spectrum of digital weapons you can use to generate new loans and new accounts. You’ll learn the best practices and see how today’s top financial institutions are using everything from online and mobile advertising to SEM/SEO and social media marketing to win the war for market share. What you’ll learn:

  • Why marketing in the online and mobile channel is critical to your success (and how to do it)
  • All the various online methods financial marketers can use to drive new business
  • How to create landing pages for your online campaigns that convert ad clicks into new customers

Handout: A checklist outlining the top online marketing tactics financial institutions should be utilizing today.


1:00 – 2:00
Inside Today’s Modern Family: New Opportunities for Financial Marketers
James Flores, President, Subcat Media

james_floresFor financial institutions trying to reach the next generation of consumers, nothing provides greater potential than including moms and dads in the process. Today’s parents serve as the primary financial role model in young consumers’ lives. Kids, teens and young adults alike are challenged by an increasingly complex financial world, giving financial institutions a great tremendous opportunity to reach the entire household while building their brand. In this session, you’ll learn:

  • The financial dynamics driving Gen-X and Millennial family households
  • How to tailor campaign strategies that speak to today’s parents
  • The criteria parents use when choosing a financial institution
  • Missteps and pitfalls to avoid when speaking to today’s modern family about financial matters
  • Best practices and lessons learned from family-focused national brands

2:15 – 3:15
Integrated Marketing: How to Create Killer Campaigns for Young Adults
Tim McAlpine, President, Currency Marketing

tim_mcalpineTim McAlpine is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on young adult strategies for financial institutions. Since launching the wildly successful Young & Free integrated marketing franchise back in 2007, Tim has also become one of the most sought-after speakers in the financial industry. In this session, Tim will share the secrets and strategies to winning with Gen Y and Gen-Z, and teach financial executives how to build an integrated marketing platform from the ground up. What you’ll learn:

  • How and why you need to bake product offers into your marketing initiatives
  • What it takes for financial institutions to connect with Gen Y and Gen Z
  • How the most effective campaigns utilize a strategic blend of multimedia channels
  • The importance of offline, real-world events and how to incorporate non-traditional marketing tactics
  • Why treating social as a stand-alone channel is a mistake

2:15 – 3:15
Strategies to Unlock the Power and Potential of Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Ray Parenteau, President, ClickRSVP

ray_parenteauContent. Context. Conversation. Conversion. Control. These are the five interdependent keys to a successful and robust email program for your financial institution. This intense session will give you a solid foundation to plan and manage these essential email marketing components so you can maximize your response, retention and ROI. You’ll learn actual, hands-on segmentation strategies, using dynamic content, trigger campaigns, sales automation (inbound marketing), and best practices that will keep your compliance team happy. If your bank or credit union uses email marketing (or is ready to), this session is for you. What you’ll learn:

  • How to attract and capture prospect email addresses
  • The most important data elements to maintain in your email database
  • How to use content tracks and preference centers to improve subscriber engagement
  • Simple automation techniques that will grow your program and multiply results
  • How to create compelling calls-to-action – and boosting response with “smart” landing pages
  • How to make your emails (and landing pages) mobile-friendly
  • How to interpret email metrics through the lens of marketing ROI

3:15 – 4:15
The Secrets Behind The Sunova Brand
Vanessa Foster, Director of Marketing for Sunova
vanessa_fosterSunova’s approach to marketing and advertising is a little quirky compared to other banks and credit unions. Vanessa will share the Sunova brand story and demonstrate how their marketing strategies have produced record-breaking results for the organization. Vanessa will show financial marketers the benefits of taking marketing risks and how to view their brands from a new perspective. This session includes a number of campaign case studies and advertising examples. What you’ll learn:

  • How the Sunova brand and brand strategy was developed and launched
  • Why Sunova uses St. Bernard dogs as the centerpiece of its brand identity
  • How they leverage their brand to expand into new markets
  • How Sunova’s marketing department generated $50 million in new mortgage loans in seven weeks with a campaign budget of less than $25,000
  • How they continually build their brand internally and get staff buy-in

4:30 – 5:30
Cocktail reception

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Day 2: Friday – April 4, 2014

8:00 – 9:00
strategycorps_logoMore Mobile, More Money!
Mike Branton, Managing Partner, StrategyCorps
David DeFazio, Partner, StrategyCorps

mike_brantonConsumers love mobile banking. They’re adopting it at record rates and it’s transforming the way they bank with you. But there’s a problem: consumers don’t love it enough to want to pay for it. And this makes it a repeat of nearly all the other “revolutionary” banking products — it’s good if it’s free, but charge a fee for it and… not so much.

So how do you enhance your mobile banking presence and create a more relevant and meaningful connection with your customers and members that will generate a lot of consumer-friendly fee income? Find out in this session. Learn how to add the mobile services consumers want the most and that make your mobile presence better — so much better your customers or members will gladly pay for it.


9:00 – 10:30
The Blueprint to Building Breakthrough Financial Brands
Mark Weber, CEO/Founder, Weber Marketing Group

mark_weberMany financial executives wonder if they have a distinctive or relevant brand strategy, and they aren’t sure how to identify their brand’s equity. If you’re tired of feeling forced to regularly compete on rates, fees, or branch locations, your brand may need work — both internally and externally. In this intensive session, Mark will reveal what he’s discovered as he’s reworked hundreds of financial and startup company brands over the last 30 years. Mark will walk you through multiple case studies and show you how branding gets done right — and delivers tangible results.

What you’ll learn:

  • The fundamental steps to building a healthy, vibrant, competitive brand that gets noticed
  • How to determine if you have a unique and defendable brand position, and how to craft one if you don’t
  • A process for assessing your brand challenges and gaps internally, among customers/members, prospects and your competition
  • How to tease out a refreshed brand personality, and identify the values that drive your culture and organizational focus forward (or not)
  • How to avoid the biggest — and most common — branding blunders
  • How to build consensus around your organization’s brand by engaging stakeholders in true transformation

9:00 – 10:30
30 Proven Strategies to Improve Onboarding, Cross-Selling and Retention
Jim Marous, SVP for Corporate Development, New Control

jim_marousOrganic growth is the key to profitability. That means you need to generate more business from your incoming and current customers. This session will show you how to get it. Buckle up, as Jim runs through 30 proven, implementation-friendly, ROI-boosting market strategies for improving onboarding, cross-selling and retention initiatives at your bank or credit union. Through case studies and primary research, Jim will explain:

  • The keys to a successful new customer onboarding program
  • The best ways to increase engagement and improve ‘sticky product’ penetration
  • How to use easily available customer data to improve cross-sell performance
  • How to integrate direct and digital marketing for optimal response and performance
  • The best methods for catching customers before they defect

10:45 – Noon
Building Strategic Marketing Plans That Get Results
Tom Hershberger, President, Cross Financial Group

tom_hershbergerYour marketing plan is your strategic foundation — the blueprint for all your marketing efforts. If it’s not carefully crafted, you’ll struggle to meet your institution’s objectives and deliver a measurable return on your marketing investment (and that could mean less money for you in next year’s budget!). In this intensive, interactive, 90-minute workshop, Tom will show you how to construct your strategic marketing framework from the ground up, and how to avoid the common pitfalls that plague banks and credit unions when they draft their annual marketing plans. You’ll learn how to:

  • Structure a marketing plan that supports your organization’s business plan, align with your brand strategy and achieve your sales goals
  • Define the right metrics and measurements you need to establish marketing ROI
  • Develop better, more sophisticated market analysis tools, and how to integrate them into your plan

Handouts: Session attendees receive a packet with worksheets and a take-home template they can use to engineer better marketing plans.


10:45 – Noon
joe_swateksteve_bieber Advertising Master Class: How to Write & Design
Financial Marketing Materials for Maximum ROI

Steve Bieber, Creative Director, ACTON Marketing
Joe Swatek, Senior Copywriter, ACTON Marketing

Banks and credit unions can get distracted by trendy tactics and new channels, but more often than not it is time-tested marketing techniques that will get you consistent results. In this session, you’ll learn how to boost your ROI by perfecting your copy and design skills. Steve and Joe will walk you through their research and give you one concrete example after another — ads that are both good and bad. They’ll also walk you through the universal principles, tips and tricks that underpin every successful financial ad marketing campaign. What you’ll learn:

  • register_buttonHow to engineer perfect product offers
  • Why cute, clever and creative campaigns can get in your way
  • How the right headline can increase your results five-fold
  • How to turn boring product features into exciting, relevant consumer benefits
  • How to write calls-to-action that prompt consumers to take the next step

Noon – 1:00
Networking Luncheon with Your Peers


1:00 – 2:00
Forging Synergies Between Marketing & Sales
Jack Hubbard, Chairman, Chief Sales Officer, St. Meyer & Hubbard

jack_hubbardThe most successful banks and credit unions have built strong partnerships between marketing and sales. In this session, you’ll learn how to jump-start the process at your financial institution and deepen the marketing-sales relationship. We’ll work through case studies from both banks and credit unions at all asset levels, detailing how they’ve linked marketing with sales to create a dynamic connection — one that drives higher levels of success for both teams. This session is jam-packed with actionable advice and intelligent insights you can implement the instant you get back to the office. What you’ll learn:

  • How marketing can be a partner with sales
  • How to create a positive connection between marketing and sales by maximizing centers of influence, networking, sponsorships, etc.
  • Practical ideas for marketing materials, sales collateral, websites, social media and other tools that marketing can provide to help sales staff generate more qualified leads
  • How financial marketers have successfully evolved to become trusted partners to their sales staff

Handout: A recent research report showing how banks and credit unions have built healthy, productive synergies between marketing and sales. The study also examines the range of challenges, perspectives and priorities that have traditionally separated marketing and sales teams.


1:00 – 2:00
Selling on Social, Marketing Through Sales
Ben Pankonin, CEO/Founder of Social Assurance

ben_pankoninSocial Media is built on relationships. Banks and credit unions are best when they are building positive relationships in the community. And building relationships through social media means having adequate resources for marketers (technology), building a strategy, metrics for social selling (ROI), and gaining enterprise-wide buy-in (plan). Ben will show financial marketers how to implement solutions and strategies that go beyond traditional tactics and actually start moving the needle.

This session will utilize research analyzing several thousand social interactions between financial institutions and consumers. This aggregated data shows what banks and credit unions are actually doing with social media today, and reveals much about building 1-to-1 relationships.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to develop an enterprise-wide social plan
  • The right metrics financial marketers need to use to gauge success social success
  • An understanding of how social marketing in the banking space is evolving along with technology

2:15 – 3:15
The Vancity Brand Experience: Drive Growth by Living Your Brand
Linda Morris, SVP of Business Development, Member & Community Engagement, Vancity
Rich Seres, VP Marketing, Vancity

rich_seres linda_morrisJust one year after launching its new Good Money brand, new membership growth at Vancity rose 15% and existing members are doing even more business with the credit union. What’s more, the new brand has served as a powerful internal enabler to rally staff towards Vancity’s vision of “redefining wealth.” In this session, you’ll find out just what Vancity did to design and implement its powerful new brand. What you’ll learn:

  • How Vancity launched its brand through multiple channels, including advertising, event activations, social media, a new branch merchandising approach and new digital signage
  • How Vancity translated its new brand into a brand-aligned member experience by forging close partnerships with various member-facing business units, including new member on-boarding programs and a new branch prototype.
  • How the credit union leveraged its new brand to engage new business and retail members

newground_adrenaline3:15 – 4:15
Featured General Session: Financial Marketing Makeover
Eduardo Alvarez,
Managing Director, Brand/Retail Strategy, NewGround
Gina Bleedorn,
Executive Director/Brand, Adrenaline

Client: TBD

eduardo_alvarezgina_bleedornHave you ever wished you could spy on the creative process that other financial institutions go through? That you could sneak into the back of the room and watch while an ad agency unveiled a set of new creative concepts to a bank or credit union? Well, here’s your chance. The creative team at Adrenaline will unveil brand new creative work live on-stage to a financial “client.” who will be seeing the concepts for the first time ever in this session. You’ll get follow along as Adrenaline presents their creative process and ideas to the “client,” then hear the client’s feedback and comments on the work the were just presented. This is a rare opportunity to see how others tackle the same challenges you wrestle with every day. What you’ll learn:

  • How to launch and manage a creative marketing project
  • How creative teams handle feedback and interact with the client
  • Why creative people make the decisions they make

register_buttonIf you work at a bank or credit union and would like to see one of your marketing projects get a free makeover from one of the financial industry’s top notch ad agencies, please send an email to [email protected] If selected, you get to go to the Forum 2014 for free!


4:15 – 4:30
Forum Wrap-up
Big announcement coming from The Financial Brand!

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