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10 steps to a successful community bank marketing audit

What is a marketing audit and why do you need to conduct one? A marketing audit is a systematic review of an organization’s marketing function with the goal of assessing how effective their marketing efforts are, where their strategy might be lacking, and what steps might be taken to improve their marketing ROI.

Why is an audit important? MailChimp has this to offer: “There was a time when marketing was much less sophisticated, especially when it comes to technology and the internet. Today, marketing is so much more than billboards and newspaper ads. With all the potential channels you can use to reach your customers, it’s important to be able to focus on the ones that will be most effective. Whether you’re still trying to figure that out or aren’t seeing the results you’d like to on certain channels, a marketing audit can help.”

A marketing audit, when you get right down to it, is all about answering questions you SHOULD have, questions like:

  • How effective is our current marketing strategy?
  • What are the strengths of our current marketing efforts?
  • What are the weaknesses?

Perhaps the above can be summed up with this: Are we reaching the right people in the right place at the right time with the right message?  Ideally, a marketing audit will answer this question.

 

1. Draft a year-end marketing report

Before you can begin auditing the year’s marketing efforts, you first need to have a record of all your marketing efforts. This year-end marketing report will be used to help determine which strategies worked and help you decide where and how you can improve your future marketing efforts.  Your year-end report should include: 

  • Last year’s marketing strategy and goals
  • A record of all marketing channels you used throughout the year
  • Performance records for each channel throughout the year
  • Dollars spent on each marketing channel

 

2. Confirm Marketing Goals and Objectives

Goals

The next step in your audit should be evaluating your marketing goals from the previous year. All marketing goals should be SMART. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). If you used SMART goals last year, it should be easy to determine which goals you met and which goals you did not meet. A few examples of SMART goals:

  • Generate 250% return on investment for all clients by Dec. 31, 2024
  • Increase average monthly Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 20% by June 30, 2024
  • Generate $1 million in marketing attributed revenue by March 30, 2024

Objectives

Confirm that all key marketing goals are associated with a marketing objective. Some examples of key objectives include:

  • Increase marketing ROI
  • Increase CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
  • Reduce customer acquisition cost
  • Increase brand recognition
  • Increase profitability
  • Increase market share
  • Decrease customer churn

 

3.  Determining which marketing strategies did and didn’t work

In addition to identifying which marketing goals you did and didn’t meet, it’s equally important to define which marketing strategies did and didn’t work. 

First, take a look at your larger marketing campaigns. Ask yourself which campaigns yielded the most significant response, and which ones were not as successful as you would have liked. Next, look at your smaller, day-to-day marketing choices. Examine metrics such as:

  • Which social content garnered the most engagement from your customers
  • Which email campaigns or e-newsletters yielded the greatest click-through rates
  • Which website pages/blog articles attracted the most visitors

 

4.  Measure performance

In addition to goals, it’s important to confirm what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are linked to these goals. You’ll want to review key marketing metrics and analytics to gauge the performance of your marketing initiatives. Here are some examples:

  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Conversion rates
  • Social media engagement
  • Email campaign open and click-through rates
  • Website traffic and engagement
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

Performance measurement is data driven and that data can inform you on the level of success you’ve achieved in meeting your marketing objectives. The data you’re collecting might look like the a) number of hits per ad, b) percentage of customer engagement, or c) number of organic leads from specific campaigns. Without data like this, you can only guess at what is working for you and what isn’t.  Data gathering tools – and there are a host of them that are quite good at measuring performance metrics

 

5. Establish personas

Who are you marketing to? What does your audience like and not like? Answering these questions will lead to a greater understanding of your audience, the preferences, the buying behaviors and much more. Understand your audience and you can avoid wasting marketing dollars, energy, and resources on ineffective marketing campaigns. Buyer personas are, therefore, critical to the efficient development of effective marketing messaging and should include considerations such as the target individual’s:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Income range
  • Education
  • Occupational status

 

6. Watch the competition

For an effective marketing audit, you need to know who you’re competing against. This can help you get a baseline for where you need to be, what channels you should be looking at, where your marketing efforts should be focused, and ways you can stand out. Some questions that you may want to consider when completing a competitive analysis audit include:

  • What is your competition doing that works?
  • How are they positioning their offerings?
  • What channels are they putting most marketing efforts into?
  • Who are the new competitors to keep an eye out for?

While the marketing strategy audit is about you and how your business is doing, evaluating the competition is another source of data that can help you draw those conclusions.

 

7. Verify the plan budget
Now is the time to determine how much you want to, or have to, spend on your marketing plan. According to SmartBug’s, What a marketing audit is and how to do one, “first, you’ll want to set your overall marketing budget for the upcoming year. Next, determine which items — if any — are staying the same as they did last year and are considered non-negotiable. There may be some items that you thought worked, but might be willing to reduce if necessary. Make note of the marketing efforts you’re hoping to start or improve upon. Do some research on the cost of taking on these projects, and determine how much of your marketing budget you’re willing to spend on those line items.” Based on how you budgeted for each item in your plan, you may need to rework your marketing calendar for the upcoming year. 

 

8. Summarize and Make Recommendations

After reviewing your marketing audit, you can make informed recommendations about where the company may best focus its continuous improvement efforts and what specific action plans it should consider.  Here are example recommendations for common gap areas.

  • Update buyer persona
  • Create a content plan for addressing gaps in existing content
  • Develop sales enablement collateral for each persona/opportunity combination
  • Document sales and marketing service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Address all website SEO penalties, such as broken links and 404 errors
  • Resolve analytics tracking issues. All metrics that matter should be tracked and validated
  • Identify specific opportunities for conversion rate optimization
  • Update the brand messaging matrix

 

9. Review Branding & Positioning

Evaluate your bank’s brand identity, brand messaging and brand positioning in the market. Use your marketing audit to assess if your brand accurately reflects your company’s values, unique selling proposition and desired image. How does your brand compare to other banks with whom you compete?  How is your brand perceived by both current customers and non-customers?

 

10. Perform a SWOT Analysis

Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to identify internal and external factors that impact your business’s marketing efforts. Identify strengths to leverage, weaknesses to address, opportunities to explore and threats to mitigate. 

 

Plan for your next audit

Marketing auditing is an ongoing process, not a single event. Whether carried out as one comprehensive audit or a series of mini-audits, the next step or iteration should either already be scheduled by a specific auditor or be scheduled before concluding the audit. With a comprehensive marketing audit under your belt, you’ll be ready to develop strategies, tactics, and processes that align with your marketing goals and business needs. 

 

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. 

Another great portal feature? Through our partnership with ChatGPT, customizing our layouts is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

We are also excited to announce that we have added video editing capabilities to our suite of services.  Along with all the functionality our bank partners already enjoy, they'll now be able to:

  • Animate static elements like text, shapes, and photos
  • Upload and trim your own video clips
  • Access a growing library of stock videos provided by Getty Images
  • Add and edit multiple scenes and transition between them
  • Produce more engaging social content, more professional digital signage displays, or even a full blown commercial

To learn more about this new feature and what it can bring to your bank marketing, click here to view the educational video we just made available to our bank partners. (Yet another reason to make bankmarketingcenter.com your partner in compelling marketing messaging!) 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital, as well as learn more about our new video editing feature, go to the bankmarketingcenter.com homepage and register for a one-on-one personalized demo.  You’ll learn why over 300 financial institutions have chosen us as their bank marketing partner. You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

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Gambling addiction. Is it a problem for banks? You bet it is.

 

Let's face it. An addiction to gambling is, yes, a problem for banks. But, it's a much bigger problem than that.

American Banker just ran an article on banks and gambling: Why Gambling is Suddenly a Problem for Banks. The timing of this article makes perfect sense … to me, anyway, as there seems to be a significant increase in the marketing messaging around gambling … especially during NFL games.

It used to be beers that occupied the ad airwaves during football games. Now it seems to be brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel. There are sites, too, that hawk these brands, such as “Covers.” Here’s the kind of stuff you’ll find there: “New bettors that register with the online sportsbook today receive $200 in Bonus Bets, plus any cash winnings, after an initial $5 wager. The bottom line: Make an initial $5 qualifying bet and automatically receive an instant boost to your DraftKings account, regardless of the outcome of the wager and without the use of a DraftKings promo code.” Same as the commercials. These brands are spending big money hooking new customers with promotional offers

How big a problem is this? For starters, the impact of problem gambling stretches beyond the individual struggling to overcome it. Gambling addiction also has an inherent “social cost,” experts say; a cost that is paid by American taxpayers. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) estimates that the annual national social cost of problem gambling is $7 billion. These costs include gambling-related criminal justice and healthcare spending as well as job loss, bankruptcy, and other consequences. This number, the association says, is probably far below the actual cost as numbers are hard to track, and there's not a whole lot of research being done on the subject. Also, according to their site, and just as frightening is this: “60 to 80 percent of high-school students have gambled in the past year, and 14 to 19 percent either fit the criteria of having a gambling problem or are showing ‘signs of losing control.’” A February 2023 article in Money even went as far as to call sports gambling a “ticking time bomb” with “addiction at an all-time high and getting worse.” 

According to a recent 60 Minutes segment titled “Sports betting boom fuels concerns about problem gambling,” 50 million men regularly bet on sports and Americans have spent more than a quarter of a TRILLION dollars on sports betting. A contributing factor that looms large? Placing bets has become easier than ever. Who needs a bookie when you can place a bet on just about anything, anywhere, anytime simply by opening an app on your phone? 

Much like drug or alcohol abuse, a gambling disorder is a diagnosable, chronic mental health disorder. Studies have shown that society has a greater understanding of, and sympathy for, individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Why? A gambling problem is viewed as one that’s far easier to control. In reality, problem gambling and substance abuse are very similar: Both come with higher-than-average rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior. According to the National Association of Addiction Professionals, problem gambling has the highest suicide attempt rate (up to 20%) of all addictions.

How does gambling impact banks? The debt that comes with it. Research has shown that excessive gambling and debt are strongly connected. Those with clinical problem gambling often have high levels of debt and the severity of the gambling problem correlates with the amount of debt. A gambler’s debt can be secured or unsecured and research tells us that gamblers most often finance their debt with credit cards and unsecured loans … money management instruments with higher interest rates. Of course, in order to be profitable, banks need that debt to be paid. The worry right now, for the banking community, is that it won’t be. Which is why we’ve created ad campaigns on the subject. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these campaigns that community banks can run to help educate their customers on the extremely real, and dangerous risks of gambling.

We are excited to announce that we have added video editing capabilities to our suite of services. (Yet another reason to make bankmarketingcenter.com your partner in compelling marketing messaging!) Along with the functionality our bank partners already enjoy, such as ChatGPT, they'll now be able to:

  • Animate static elements like text, shapes, and photos
  • Upload and trim your own video clips
  • Access a growing library of stock videos provided by Getty Images
  • Add and edit multiple scenes and transition between them
  • Produce more engaging social content, more professional digital signage displays, or even a full blown commercial

To learn more about this new feature, our bank partners can click here to view the educational video. To view our newest marketing creative, both print and digital, visit our website. If you're not yet a partner, go to the bankmarketingcenter.com homepage and register for a one-on-one personalized demo. You’ll learn why over 300 financial institutions have chosen us as their bank marketing partner. You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. 

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10 reasons to use video in your community bank's marketing

In recent years, video content has emerged as a marketing powerhouse, transforming the way businesses, including community banks, connect with their audiences. From social media to email campaigns to websites, videos have become an integral component of marketing strategies, playing a crucial role in capturing attention, conveying messages, and driving engagement. Which is why I am pleased to announce that our bankmarketingcenter.com bank partners now have video editing capabilities!

Now, let's delve into the increasing significance of videos in marketing and explore why community banks should prioritize this dynamic medium.

“Video remains a key priority as a marketing tool, reaching an all-time high. More marketers credited video with increasing dwell time, traffic, leads, sales, and reduced support with 92% telling us their ROI on video content is up 87% from 2022. In addition, videos on social media generate 1200% more shares than text and image-based content combined.”

– HubSpot’s 2023 Video Marketing Report

1. Capturing Attention in Seconds

In an era where attention spans are dwindling, videos have proven to be remarkably effective in capturing and retaining audience attention. According to a report by Wistia, videos that are two minutes or less in duration have the highest engagement rates. Short-form videos on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts have become immensely popular, allowing brands to convey their messages succinctly and creatively.

2. Boosting Conversions and Sales

The impact of videos on conversion rates is substantial. Research from HubSpot reveals that including a video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. Furthermore, product videos have been shown to enhance purchase confidence, with 64% of consumers more likely to buy a product after watching a related video. This highlights the persuasive power of visual storytelling in influencing consumer behavior and driving sales.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Benefits

Search engines love videos, and community banks that leverage this medium in their consumer marketing stand to benefit from enhanced SEO. According to Moovly, in 8 Powerful Reasons You Need to Use Video Marketing [TRENDS]: ”A webpage with an embedded video is 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results." Imagine that. Incredible. As search algorithms increasingly prioritize multimedia content, such as videos, incorporating video content into your website, as well as your overall bank marketing content strategy, becomes a “no brainer” move for improving online visibility.

4. Social Media Dominance

Social media platforms have evolved into video-centric spaces. According to Cisco's Annual Internet Report, "videos comprised over 82% of all internet traffic. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter heavily prioritize video content, and posts with videos garner higher engagement rates." Additionally, the rise of live streaming and short-form videos on platforms like Snapchat and TikTok underscores the shift towards dynamic and interactive video content.

5. Mobile Consumption Trends

The ubiquity of smartphones has fueled the rise of mobile video consumption. Marketers must optimize their video content for mobile devices to ensure seamless and engaging experiences for users on the go. Short, vertical videos designed for mobile viewing have gained immense popularity, especially on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

6. User Engagement and Shareability

Videos are inherently shareable and have a higher likelihood of going viral compared to other content formats. This from Crackitt’s State of Visual Content“Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in a text.

The emotional impact of video content, combined with its visual appeal, makes it more likely to be shared across social networks, exponentially increasing its reach and impact.

7. Building Brand Trust and Authority

Video content allows community banks to leverage what makes them unique: the personalized experience.  Videos are particularly effective in humanizing a brand, connecting with consumers on a personal level, and building trust. All of which you want from your marketing, right? 

"The average user spent 88% more time on a website with video content compared to websites without video content."

- Forbes, Top Website Statistics For 2023. February 2023.

Through storytelling and visual elements, videos enable community banks to showcase their values, mission, and trustworthiness, and authenticity, establishing even stronger connections with their audience.

8. Email Marketing Effectiveness

Videos in email marketing campaigns can significantly boost engagement. Campaign Monitor’s What is an interactive email? states: "Including a video in your email can increase click-through rates by up to 300%." This illustrates the potential of videos to cut through the clutter in crowded inboxes and deliver compelling messages that resonate with recipients.

9. Virtual and Augmented Reality Integration

As technology advances, virtual and augmented reality are increasingly becoming part of the video marketing landscape. According to Statista, the AR & VR market is projected to generate revenue of US$38.6bn this year, and expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.77% (CAGR 2024-2028), resulting in a projected market volume of US$58.1bn by 2028. Community banks should consider leveraging these amazing, immersive technologies to create interactive and memorable experiences, further enhancing customer engagement and brand name recall.

10. Continuous Growth and Innovation

The trajectory of video marketing is one of continuous growth and innovation. With the advent of new technologies, community banks will have greater opportunities to create high-quality, immersive video content. Virtual events, interactive videos, and personalized video experiences are likely to shape the future of video marketing, offering brands innovative ways to connect with their audiences.

What next?

The role of videos in marketing is not just a trend; it's a fundamental shift that aligns with the evolving consumer preferences of a market that is increasingly digitally savvy and video oriented. The impact of videos in marketing is undeniable, from capturing attention, to sharing content, to driving conversions and building brand trust. As community banks navigate the digital landscape, integrating video content into their marketing strategies is not just advisable; it's imperative for staying relevant, engaging audiences, and achieving marketing success in 2024 and beyond.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  

We are excited to announce that we have added video editing capabilities to our suite of services.  Along with all the functionality our bank partners are already familiar with, they'll now be able to:

  • Animate static elements like text, shapes, and photos
  • Upload and trim your own video clips
  • Access a growing library of stock videos provided by Getty Images
  • Add and edit multiple scenes and transition between them
  • Produce more engaging social content, more professional digital signage displays, or even a full blown commercial

To learn more about this new feature and what it can bring to your bank marketing, click here to view the educational video we just made available to our bank partners. (Yet another reason to make bankmarketingcenter.com your partner in compelling marketing messaging!) 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital, as well as learn more about our new video editing feature, go to the bankmarketingcenter.com homepage and register for a one-on-one personalized demo.  You’ll learn why over 300 financial institutions have chosen us as their bank marketing partner. You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.