Note: The top three blogs are no longer active — two of them merged with The Financial Brand, and the third was acquired by another company.
1. Snarketing 2.0 (now merged with The Financial Brand)
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. (NOTE: ACTON was acquired by Deluxe, who rolled the ACTON blog into their Forward Banker blog.)
3. Bank Marketing Strategy (now merged with The Financial Brand)
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.
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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.
Web Address: celent.com/blogs/banking
Primary Author(s): Bob Meara, Jacob Jegher, Zilvinas Bareisis, Dan Lattimore
Yet another blog in the top 20 from a data research/analytics firm. These guys post frequently — roughly 3-5 posts every week — so they are able to cover a wider range of topics than the occasional blogger (e.g., core data processing, technology and “disruptive innovation”). But there is so much solid material coming from the Celent team that financial marketers are sure to run across posts that interest them.
12. Jeff for Banks
Web Address: jeff-for-banks.blogspot.com
Primary Author(s): Jeff Marsico, EVP of Bank Strategy, Profitability, and Mergers/Acquisitions at The Kafafian Group
As Jeff’s professional title might imply, he spends a good deal blogging about strategic topics that are usually limited to the C-suite or board of directors, but there usually is a fair amount of overlap with marketing issues. You always hear marketers complain that they aren’t taken seriously by their management peers. Well, here’s your chance. If you’re a financial marketer that wants to know how CEOs, CFOs and COOs think (hint: it’s always about calculating bottom-line ROI), then you should read Jeff’s blog.
13. The Members Group
Web Address: blog.themembersgroup.com
Primary Author(s): Georgann Smith, Jeff Falk, Konrad Christensen, et al
Because there are a few contributors to this blog, the topics covered span a wide range of issues. There is synaptic tissue tying it all together in a way that feels right for financial marketers — both banks and credit unions. There’s a mix of opinion pieces, data, advice and how-to’s. Posts average a modest 500 words in length, and the style is fairly breezy.
14. Optirate.com (Discontinued)
Web Address: bankblog.optirate.com
Primary Author(s): Serge Milman
Serge concentrates on profitable marketing strategies, with a particular emphasis on topics like segmentation, pricing and targeting the mass affluent. He gives it to you straight, and he doesn’t pull any punches. If the blog hadn’t gone dark for 4-5 months in the first half of the year, it would have ranked higher. Serge still managed to publish 22 posts so far this year; financial marketers will find many of them relevant and topical.
15. Informa Research Services
Web Address: www.informars.com/blog
Primary Author(s): Admin
About once a week, Informa publishes a series of noteworthy promotions and products in retail banking. It’s hard to call this a true blog — there’s no author and limited editorial commentary. It would more aptly be described as an “aggregation service” that curates interesting tidbits from around the web. But financial marketers will appreciate the information, and every now and then they may find an idea they want to implement themselves.
16. Forward Banker News
Web Address: www.forwardbanker.com
Primary Author(s): Assorted
This blog is run by the folks at Deluxe. There are around a dozen different authors who contribute articles, giving the blog a good range of opinions, styles and topics — almost always related to financial marketing or brand building.
Web Address: www.zootweb.com/blog
Primary Author(s): Eric Lindeen, Alex Johnson, Kristal Butler
The Zoot team tackles a host of various marketing issues in financial services. They take a strategic perspective, and most posts are longer than those at other blogs. They only publish a handful of articles every month, but do so on a fairly consistent basis.
18. Hearsay Social (Discontinued)
Web Address: hearsaysocial.com
Primary Author(s): Ronny Kerr, Clara Shih, et al
Hearsay is one of the few consulting firms specializing in social media who believe it can be used to generate leads and new business. The company focuses on how financial institutions — particularly advisors for high-value services like investments, insurance and mortgages — can use social as a marketing channel.
19. Mark Arnold
Web Address: markarnold.com/blog/
Primary Author(s): Mark Arnold
Mark’s been in the credit union industry for most of his adult life, having spent time as a VP of Marketing for one of the country’s larger financial cooperatives. He’s been out on his own consulting for the last few years, and to support his efforts, he publishes 3-4 posts a week at his blog. If it weren’t for the fact that Mark concentrates solely on credit unions, his blog would score higher. Bankers could still learn a thing or two.
Web Address: www.gonzobanker.com
Primary Author(s): Assorted
The team at Cornerstone Advisors have been publishing their Gonzobanker newsletter long before there were ever blogs. These guys are some of the smartest, most strategic, bottom-line oriented consultants you’ll find in the financial industry. Too bad they don’t write more often, because financial executives could use as much free advice as the Gonzos could dish out. But they’re ranking in this list has suffered a little because they are publishing less frequently these days. When they do publish something, it’s always intelligent, on-topic and an entertaining read. It’s one of the few blogs in finance with any kind of personality.