This week, we are proud to feature a guest post from our friend and client, Molly Carpenter, vice president of marketing and public relations for FNBC Bank. Molly is a fourth-generation community banker, a proud millennial and in 2015, she was named one of Arkansas Business’ 20 in their 20s: The New Influentials. So basically, she’s one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet. Check out her post below as she shares her insights and expertise on bank marketing for a fast-paced, digital age.
It’s that time of year again where marketers are working earnestly to wrap up end-of-year projects while simultaneously planning for a new year and a fresh budget. We have the strategic plan in hand and we are ready to brainstorm and meticulously plan out campaigns and initiatives that advance the brand and move the needle (favorably, we hope). While I strongly believe PR and marketing professionals possess incredible superpowers, we unfortunately cannot predict everything the next year will entail. But we can read, research and educate ourselves on marketing trends in the industries we serve, as well as take a few pointers from other leading businesses.
FNBC is a rural community bank in North Central Arkansas, but that does not mean we are “out of the loop” by any means. I attend several conferences each year and do my best to stay plugged into what’s going on in the bank marketing world. Banking is much different than it was a decade ago, and change continues to come quicker and quicker. Regardless of your strategic goals this next year, there are a few things you should have on your radar at the very least. And remember, it’s never too late to edit your plan!
The way we conduct all sorts of business these days is drastically different than it was five years ago. Even as a millennial, I remember when Netflix was just a mail-order DVD service and Blockbuster was a destination my friends and I went to on the weekends. Today, Walmart is frantically trying to compete with Amazon in the e-commerce space, and legacy retailers like Sears and Kmart are no longer household names. We would all be foolish to think banking would be immune to such disruption. As bank marketers, we should actively be engaging with all areas of our financial institutions to ask, “how can we improve the customer experience?” Trust me; someone without the regulatory burden we face has already asked and is working much more nimbly than we can to bring something more relevant to market.
Even in the most rural of counties in Arkansas, everyone has a computer in the palm of their hand so they can scroll through Facebook, text their friends and fast-forward through TV commercials. Marketers can no longer afford to work with a traditional advertising-only plan. Digital marketing is more targeted, more cost effective and more trackable. Bank marketers must start evaluating how to reallocate budgets to allow for digital marketing initiatives, whether that be Google AdWords, simple Facebook ads or even investing in human capital and partnerships to devote to the digital space. There’s a lot to learn for those of us who didn’t begin our careers utilizing digital tactics, but it’s essential to start now because it really needs to be part of your overall campaign strategy.
Banking is a commodity. We all offer checking accounts, savings accounts, car loans, mortgages, and “great customer service.” Several years ago, our bank went to work trying to pinpoint what exactly made us stand out and what we could truly hang our hat on. Luckily for us, we also found a great partner in Thoma Thoma who helped us navigate this often-murky strategic dilemma. If offering the highest CD rate in town, free checking and easy service is the majority of your marketing plan for 2018, I would encourage you to dig a bit deeper to figure out what truly makes your organization distinct.
FNBC Bank is based out of Ash Flat, Arkansas, with several branches throughout the northern part of the state. If you’re looking for a great community bank dedicated to great service, whether for a savings account or a loan, give FNBC a call.
And if you’re looking for bank marketing support, give Ashley Steele at Thoma Thoma an email or a call. We can help your bank clearly define and communicate its brand, across a wide variety of mediums (just like we did for FNBC).