The Financial Brand’s contributor-at-large Mark Arnold asked thought leaders in the banking industry what they thought were some of the things financial marketers should stop doing. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Stop all the ‘me too’ marketing.
“Financial services are a commodity. As individual institutions, we need to treasure our uniqueness and narrow in on what makes us different. Stop looking at everything the competition is doing and then copying it. Think about what they aren’t doing and figure out a way to make that happen.”
Alison Wolf, MHR, CMS, PMP
Vice President of Marketing at FAA Credit Union ($564 million)
2. Stop doing the same old things.
“A full two-thirds of credit unions have done the same basic marketing for the past 15-20 years. And 75-85% of their budget is allocated and spent the same old way, delivering no specific return. It needs to stop.”
President of MARQUIS
3. Stop crossing your fingers and guessing.
”Financial marketers should start testing their methods. There are too many line items in a bank or credit union marketing budget that get rubberstamped year in and year out without any real sense of whether or not those investments are returning what they once did… or if they’re returning anything at all. You won’t know unless you test.”
Senior Analyst with the Aite Group
4. Stop saying ‘yes’ to everything.
“Financial marketers should be focusing our efforts on the most productive results will allow us more time to accomplish our most important goals.”
Director of Marketing at SAFE Federal Credit Union ($894 million)
5. Stop running promotions like a mom-and-pop shop.
“For some reason, marketers love give-a-ways, promotional items — tchotchkes. Marketing departments can spend an amazing amount of time and money fulfilling requests for individual promo items. To streamline this task, you need to engineer and efficient process to help with pricing, budgeting, ordering and distribution.”
SVP/Director of Sales & Marketing at Chelsea Groton Bank ($933 million)
6. Stop putting all your eggs in one basket.
“As the marketer’s arsenal continues to expand we should be careful to take a balanced approach to resource allocation. Ask your prospects where they find the reliable information they need to make a buying decision. They probably continue to use multiple sources of information such as word of mouth and direct mail. Awareness still comes through multiple channels.”
Ryan A. Barringer
SVP/Marketing & Brand Strategy at BridgeBank ($1.6 billion)
7. Stop reinventing the wheel.
“See a cool idea? Take the basics, eliminate what you don’t like or what won’t work for your organization, change it up a bit, and make it your own. Innovative ideas come from inspiration, or connecting several experiences or thoughts together into something different.”
Communications Director for the Kansas Credit Union Association
8. Stop getting frustrated by day-to-day things that may feel like distractions.
“Knocking the ‘small stuff’ out of the park gives you permission to take chances on creative and innovative marketing initiatives.”
VP/Marketing Director at First Bank Financial Centre ($809 million)
9. Stop paying lip service to local communities.
“It’s vital banks and credit unions connect with communities in real, meaningful ways. Last summer we fed 4,000+ people smoked beef brisket/hot dogs, homemade bread, cornbread, coleslaw, etc. Members eat free — a worthy charitable cause. And oh, did I say fish scramble? We create our own pond, allow adults and children to jump in, to catch 1 pound live trout… with their bare hands!”
Craig Cobia, Ph.D.
Vice President/CMO at Beehive FCU ($188 million)
10. Stop writing so much copy.
“The modern consumer wants information in Twitter-sized bits. Where possible, use bullets, lists, subheads and short paragraphs. If necessary, break a long item into multiple pieces. The key is to make your copy ‘scannable.’ Time how long it takes to read the article, brochure, postcard, web page, etc. If it’s more than thirty seconds, odds are they will go to something else.”
Founder and President of On The Mark Strategies