Peek Inside: Tri Counties Bank’s Marketing Department

Assets: $$2.18 billion (as of the fourth quarter of 2011)
Area served: Central Valley, California (Editor’s Note: Tri Counties Bank is now headquartered in Chicos, Calif.)

Number of customers: 250,000+

Number of branches: 68
Members per branch: 3,676

Number of total employees: 800
Ratio of customers to employees: 312:1

Number of campaigns run every year: 4-8 major campaigns

Number of employees in marketing department: Five (0.6% of total workforce)
Top marketing executive: Nicole Johansson, VP Marketing Manager

  • One VP/Marketing Manager – Responsible for marketing strategy, planning and managing staff. She writes press releases and performs some PR and media relations functions. Additionally she interfaces with internal clients and senior staff on bigger picture goals and objectives.
  • One Marketing Specialist – Assists Marketing Manager. Handles production/traffic coordination, department budgeting, invoice reconciliation, media buying. Manages donations and events. Liason with vendors and internal clients for special projects. She also writes copy and helps with online strategy… and about a million other things.
  • One Creative Services Manager – Run the gamut of creative deployment across a wide variety of advertising/ marketing disciplines/channels ( TV, Radio, Print, OOH, Online, Environmental design, copy writing.) Generate creative strategy for internal and external clients. Communicate and facilitate our creative direction and brand position to a wide audience. Mentor and collaborate with other creatives internally and externally.
  • Two Creative Services Specialists (Graphic Designers) – Work in conjunction with Creative Services Manager and internal clients juggling multiple projects, execute creative strategy across multiple mediums and platforms. Print buying. Manage budgets and deadlines and a host of other skills.

Data as of the fourth quarter of 2011.

Systems & Tools

Have Now Don’t Have Not Yet,
But Plan To
Formal written marketing plan X
Brand standards manual (addressing design) X
Brand guidelines book (for staff) X
CRM system X
MCIF system X
Onboarding program X
Matrix mail program X
Social media strategy X
In-branch video merchandising system X
Formal SEO strategy X

Brand Book

In-House vs. Vendor

In-House Vendor Both
Advertising X
Design X
Media buying X
Direct mail n/a
Email marketing X
Web design/development X
Online advertising/marketing X
Social media n/a
Promotional items, giveaways X
Sales collateral, brochures X
Public relations X
Community relations/events X

Marketing Channels Deployed

Using Now Don’t Use Not Yet,
But Plan To
Direct mail X
Print ads X
TV ads X
Radio ads X
Billboards/outdoor X
Ads within online banking X
Paid banner ad placements X
Search engine marketing (e.g., Adwords) X
Microsites X
Email marketing X
eStatement ads X
QR codes X
Facebook X
Twitter X
YouTube X
LinkedIn X
Foursquare X
Blog X
Online forum X

Favorite Campaign

Our annual Random Act of Kindness effort. We have an extensive supermarket banking presence and each year around Thanksgiving and again around Christmas, we buy hundreds of $10 gift cards and let our bankers go give them away to people they find in the stores that they feel genuinely need it — whether they’re a customer of the bank or not. We never get tired of the stories we hear from the field about that promotion.

The Biggest Challenges Over the Next 12-24 Months

Besides an apathetic audience? LOL… Actually our biggest challenge and opportunity revolves around a recent company-wide brand clarity initiative, building and supporting an aggressive roadshow rollout for our staff. The next big challenges are improving our online and mobile capabilities, and deploying a CRM solution. You know, little things 🙂

Critical Products to Market This Year

Improved online capabilities, mobile banking enhancements, mobile app.

Social Media Strategy

While we’ve been an early adopter of online and mobile banking technologies, we essentially sat out the rush to social media — and I believe for the right reasons. While we (meaning those of us in marketing world, and our online team) were pretty gung-ho to dive in, our senior staff took a more conservative “wait and see” approach. While we do have a social media plan developed, the main concerns: lack of manpower to throw at it, and the potential compliance risks.

How Do You Track Marketing ROI?

We’ve been doing more focus groups to measure brand awareness and get product feedback. We also currently tap a consultant who helps us negotiate our TV/Radio and OOH contracts and then tracks performance against our buy to give us a yearly roll-up of dollars spent/ leveraged value across all channels and markets … we still have a long way to go.

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