A 'Twit'cap of the 2011 ABA Bank Marketing Conference
SEPTEMBER 21, 2011:
Kathy Meyer, Business Development Resource Manager/Tradeshow Manager
Social Media Guest Blogger Marketing Strategy Mobile
I'm getting settled back into work after an excellent time at the 2011 ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Baltimore. My colleagues and I really enjoyed the show - it was well attended with great speakers and insightful presentations. Before I get back to business, I hope that I can provide a helpful recap (or "twit"cap since I am utilizing tweets in my coverage of the conference) of the hot topics for those who were present, as well as non-attendees.
Hot Topic 1: Marketing's Role in Banking
Having worked with community banks for nearly 10 years now, I find that the marketing roles are always evolving. It can be a great thing for those who want dynamic careers in marketing financial services, but it can also be a challenge - especially if you work for an institution that finds marketing to be more 'arts & crafts' and less of a strategic partner in achieving business goals.
Think strategically about how you can help your organization achieve goals. Always challenge internal perceptions. If you can't get your executives thinking like your bank's customers, use data (i.e. surveys!) to really get at what they want and deliver the insight for the future.
@BankMktgNews ABA Mktg Conf: Peter Sheanan “it is marketing’s role to deliver the insight to the organization, and to challenge the assumptions.”
@dianalapoint If you don't question assumptions, then your strategy will be rooted in the past. @petergsheahan @ABAMarketing
@ABASheryl Are we getting the bum rap? Do we know what customers want? @ABAMarketing #ABAMktg
Hot Topic 2: Competition in Banking
We've all heard it before - banking has become a commodity. I disagree. Get at the heart and soul of what makes you unique and start spreading the word. With competition coming from all angles, including non-traditional players like Google (who just this week launched Google Wallet with Sprint, which allows people to pay with their mobile phones via only Citibank MasterCard and the new Google Prepaid Card), banks need to define the value proposition they bring to the table.
I love the advice to cover your logo below, but don't stop with your print ads. Use this technique on your website, direct mail and any other marketing efforts.
@ABASheryl Get heard. Lead the way. No one remembers who came in second @ABAMarketing #ABAMktg
@amberfarley Ooooh ... So Google is launching their digital wallet today!? @abamarketing wonder how banks feel about that?
@PriorityResults Excellent questions. Enjoy the day! RT @abamarketing Tue opens w/ good to great ads. Ask what's our story - what's unique - what do we own?
@JanessRS Good to great ads- Cover the logo on your print ad. Can you still tell the ad is yours? @ABAMarketing
Hot Topic 3: To Fee or Not to Fee (Checking)
Wow. No topic got more heated discussion than fee-based checking. I think the consensus was that fee-based checking will have to become the model, but there is plenty of room for innovation in how it is communicated and presented to customers. Priority's president, Jim Larranaga covered free checking in an interview we posted earlier this year. No matter what your institution's decision on to fee or not to fee, communication will be key. Choose free? Communicate why and tie it to your overall value proposition. Choose fee? Delicately communicate why and show value in other ways (obviously still tying to your overall value proposition).
During the fee or free discussion, presenter Mary Beth Sullivan of Capital Performance Group suggested that banks should reward customers. In another great presentation, Renan Levy of ActivePath suggested that since banks can see what their customers are spending money on, they should capitalize on the Groupon phenomenon by by sending targeted rewards to places customers are already shopping at.
@ABABankingNews RT @BankMktgNews: #ABAMktg Conf Debate: Mary Beth Sullivan: 'free' accounts corrupt the fact that your bank has something of value to offer.
@amberfarley MaryBeth makes a great rebuttal. Instead of free, REWARD customers. But my ?, what's most important to consumers? #freeorfee @abamarketing
Hot Topic 4: Mobile and Social Media Technology
There still seems to be a blend of banks that have gotten their toes wet and banks that are fully immersed in social media. I think @amberfarley makes a critical point in her tweet that SWOT analysis is important before beginning any social media initiative. In my conversations with banks and credit unions over the past six months, I believe that what sets successful financial services social media programs apart from unsuccessful ones is a well-defined strategy. If you've already gotten your toes wet, you can still take a step back and reevaluate. At Priority, we have helped to put a few financial institutions back on the right track after an unsuccessful social media launch.
Mobile seems to be another growing focus for many institutions. If mobile banking seems too far away in your executives' minds (due to cost, lack of focus on large technology expenses, lack of quality options offered by your bank's core processing system, etc.), consider small steps like ensuring your website is mobile-optimized to start. Call center interactions can often be related to simple FAQs that could be posted on a mobile-optimized site.
@abamarketing Two social media sessions at the conference. It will be interesting to see where banks are...toes wet or fully immersed. Your bank?
@jkincy RT @amberfarley: SWOT analysis is important before beginning social media initiatives on behalf of your bank. #smmimperative @abamarketing
@amberfarley 50% of contact center interactions could be deflected by mobile banking. #abadigitalmedia @abamarketing
It is great to see so many familiar faces year to year and I always enjoy learning about the new challenges you are up against. Are there any other hot topics you saw being covered or had discussions about at the conference? Please comment below.
Thanks to everyone who tweeted for the great coverage. See you in San Diego next year! In the meantime, if you need a laugh while you're hard back at work, you might enjoy this video about marketing stress from Priority.
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.