Dearth of the Salesmen: No Selling Onstage in Conference Sessions

No one wants to pay to go to a conference and listen to a bunch of sales pitches. Which is precisely what makes the Forum 2014 different.

dearth_of_salesmenSome of The Financial Brand’s readers have asked why there aren’t more banks and credit unions presenting sessions at the Forum 2014 in April. This question politely tip-toes around their real concern. It’s not that conference attendees necessarily want to hear more from their peers. What they are really saying is this:

“Hey, I’ve been to a number of conferences in the past where I had to sit through one vendor session after another that was nothing more than a sales pitch.”

We hear you. We share these frustrations. And this is precisely why The Financial Brand decided to create its own conference.

When The Financial Brand built the agenda for the Forum 2014, we didn’t approach it with any bias or predetermined quotas. We didn’t say we needed to have a certain percentage of banks presenting, with an equal percentage of credit unions. We didn’t lay out any expectations for the age, gender or racial ethnicity of speakers either. We wanted one thing, and one thing only: We wanted the smartest people we could find to share their insights and experience. Period. We were blind to all other factors.

At other conferences you’ll frequently see sessions with titles like “Why You Need a Social Media Strategy” or “Why [Topic X] is Critical to Your Financial Institution’s Success.” These are often little more than 60-minute justifications where the speaker lays out an argument for why their area deserves more of your time, attention and budget. They may share data and case studies with you, but at the end of the day, all you’ve learned is that you should hire a company like theirs. It’s what you could call a “defensive sales pitch.”

But The Financial Brand Forum is a conference all about “how to” and not “why you should.” We’re assuming attendees already understand why a particular subject is important, and instead have all our sessions concentrated on telling attendees how they should tackle it. By focusing on the hows instead of the whys, bank and credit union marketing executives attending the Forum will leave armed with tools, tips, tricks and techniques they can use to do their jobs faster, more effectively, more efficiently and with greater impact/ROI. The Forum will deliver practical, actionable advice — candid, direct, honest and focused on results, just like you’ve come to expect from The Financial Brand.

The agenda was engineered to speak exclusively to the unique problems, challenges and priorities facing bank and credit union marketers. All the presenters booked for the Forum 2014 are experts that understand the value of sharing their knowledge and experience. These are people who have consistently demonstrated a willingness to teach, to educate, to inform with objectivity.

And here’s the Forum 2014 money-back guarantee: If you feel the sessions you attend at the Forum 2014 were actually sales pitches and not the how-to presentations you were promised, you can have your registration fee back.

Forum 2014 Agenda Venue Register Now!

Below you will find the full agenda, and some notes about why we picked who we did, and why you won’t have to sit through any sales pitches:

Building The World’s Greatest Bank: The Umpqua Brand Experience – In 2012, The Financial Brand named Umpqua one of the top 10 best banking brands (#3 on the list). We are honored to have such a distinguished financial brand come to the Forum 2014 and share their story.

The Mobile Future of Financial Marketing – Advertising and marketing on mobile devices is a critical new skill financial marketers need to learn now. This session is presented by an analyst who can’t sell you a mobile marketing strategy because that’s not what his data/research firm does. He’s just going to tell you what his data says you need to know.

Busting Ruts and Planting Seeds: A Guide To Unlocking New Ideas – Working in the banking industry can be creatively stifling at times. This session shows you how to get unstuck. The Financial Brand has seen this presentation from start to finish, and there is nothing but good stuff in here — not one lick of “sales” or “selling.”

Fueling the Sales Funnel With Online Advertising & Marketing Strategies – This session outlines all the marketing methods and media options financial institutions can use to generate new business online. The presenter worked at a big bank until just recently, and he is speaking about what he learned there as their head of online/digital marketing.

Inside Today’s Modern Family: New Opportunities for Financial Marketers – If you want to get a sense of how generous this presenter is with his knowledge and expertise, just read this article here.

Integrated Marketing: How to Create Killer Campaigns for Young Adults – This presenter is one of the world’s foremost authorities on financial marketing for Gen-Y and Millennials. He’s also one of the most popular speakers in the financial industry, and wouldn’t be keynoting as many conferences as he does if he was a pitchman.

Strategies to Unlock the Power and Potential of Your Email Marketing Campaigns – Email marketing is often treated like a red-headed step child by some banks and credit unions. It’s a subject that definitely deserves more attention. This presenter is a pragmatic and selfless instructor who will teach principles that will work regardless of which email marketing platform you use.

The Blueprint to Building Breakthrough Financial Brands – When The Financial Brand fielded a survey asking readers which topics they wanted to learn about most, “brand strategy” came out on top. This presenter has helped build over 500 bank and credit union brands in his 35-year career (both as the head of a financial branding firm, and as the head of marketing at financial institutions). You’d be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable and experienced presenter for this topic.

30 Proven Strategies to Improve Onboarding, Cross-Selling and Retention – This presenter has frequently written some of The Financial Brand’s most popular articles. He has 90 minutes to cover a list with 30 items. Honestly, he doesn’t even have time to “sell.”

Building Strategic Marketing Plans That Get Results – This was the second most important topic financial marketers wanted to learn about. The presenter for this session has taught classes at a business school for bankers for over a decade. He understands that the classroom is no place for “selling.” And attendees will get a template of a marketing plan they can use themselves.

Advertising Master Class: How to Write and Design Financial Marketing Materials for Maximum ROI – The two presenters of this session have spent the last two years writing an entire series of how-to articles for The Financial Brand. Each article has been stuffed with practical advice about how to craft creative materials. Expect even more results-focused insights from this duo at the Forum 2014.

Forging Synergies Between Marketing & Sales – Financial marketers often feel like they don’t get the right level of support from frontline sales staff. The Financial Brand has personally seen this presentation, and it is a whirlwind of ideas, tips and strategies. The presenter is a true professional sales strategist/coach, and would never do anything as foolish or ham-handed as to try and squeeze a pitch into his session.

Integrated Social Media for Financial Marketers – Financial institutions struggle daily with their content marketing strategies; it’s a major pain point, and an area in which banks/credit unions need help. The presenter of this session is an authority on social media in regulated industries (both health care and banking).

The Vancity Brand Experience: Drive Growth by Living Your Brand – Vancity is another brand listed in The Financial Brand’s top 10 best banking brands. The Financial Brand has written about Vancity time and time again. It’s a special privilege to hear their story in person, and how it scales/relates to other financial institutions (yes, even banks).

Financial Marketing Makeover (Featured General Session) – This is a sponsored session, but it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Attendees are going to get to be a fly on the wall as they watch an agency present three new concepts to a bank or credit union live on stage and in person. The agency’s “client” will have never seen this work before the session. You’ll get to see the “client’s” reaction, hear their first impressions and listen to their feedback. This is a rare opportunity to learn how agencies and financial institutions work together to build creative marketing materials.

Forum 2014 Agenda Venue Register Now!

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