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Your Mail? Don’t Worry, It’s On Its Way.

I’m sure you’ve had this experience, as well.  It’s 9 o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday when I discover that there’s an item on Amazon that I simply must have…today.  I place my order. That afternoon, I have it in hand.  Brought right to my door… I didn’t even need to walk to my mailbox (which I don’t usually mind, since it’s one of the few forms of exercise I have time for these days!?) in order to get it.

Which makes for a good segue.  Speaking of mailboxes, why is it that Amazon can deliver a package the same day and it takes the US Postal Service up to eight weeks to take an envelope from Baton Rouge to Atlanta?  This is not hyperbole. Just a week or so ago, I received several letters, all from within a couple hundred miles of me, that had been mailed in the last two weeks of April.

According to a recent Fortune.com article: “Current standards call for delivering First Class mail in one to three days. Under revised standards, delivery time would stretch to as much as five days, according to the Postal Service plan. It also said it would “align hours of operation” at low-traffic post offices. Under the plan, the Postal Service would add a day or more to its standards for First Class mail delivery, increase rates, and reduce post office hours to ward off as much as $160 billion in deficits over the next decade.” There’s no doubt that the Postal Service is struggling to deal with sagging letter volume and dropping revenue. But wouldn’t fewer letters mean faster delivery?  I guess not, and it sounds like for now anyway, we should not look forward to any improvements in delivery times.

I bring this up because I continue to see companies -- many of them financial institutions -- that are still using direct mail to get their marketing messages out there. I may not know if DeJoy’s plan can save the postal service, but I do know this:  The key to marketing effectively is “the five rights”:  get the right message to the right person at the right time in the right place in the right way. That’s a lot of “rights,” I know, but in order to be effective, this is what it takes. In today’s economy, with supply chains and scarcity of materials slowing the production of all sorts of products, does it make a lot of sense to market those products with direct mail?  Recently I received a mailer that got me interested in the product; that’s the good news. The bad news? When I went to purchase it, it was already out of stock and backordered for an indefinite period of time. Why market products you can’t sell?  Lately, when I get a direct mail piece from a bank that touts, say, an interest rate, I can’t help but think that that rate has gone up a quarter point while that postcard was in the mail!  The upshot?  Follow the five rights and make use of media that can offer you the speed and efficiency that effective messaging requires: email campaigns and social media, for instance.  If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about digital marketing, social in particular, we’re here to help. Another potential benefit of not using the mail? Say you’re still printing and mailing statements to customers.  You may want to encourage them to go paperless; one, because their statement is weeks old by the time they get it and two, you can save a lot of money by going paperless.

Believe me, I love getting letters in the mail. Who doesn’t? As an ad guy, I have always loved direct mail. It can be a powerful marketing communication tool and I think, should always be part of your marketing mix. However, I would steer clear in the short term. Unless you can get that Christmas Club promotion postcard in the mail next week.

What do you think?  As always, I welcome your thoughts!

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, relevant, and compelling communication that will help you build trust, relationships, and with them, your brand. All while saving you time and money.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to in-branch brochures and signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com. Or you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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Introducing Martech Without the Migraine.

 

Just in case you stepped away from your computer for a few minutes, marketing technology or martech, describes the software and technology used to attract and retain customers. There’s been a lot of talk about it, and rightfully so. According to HubSpot’s recent article, “What Marketing Leaders are Investing in This Year”, 60% of marketers indicated that they are set to increase their marketing technology spending in the next 12 months. The reason, of course, is that investments in marketing technology are the solution du jour when it comes to a financial institution’s ability to, as HubSpot puts it, “retain and delight their audiences and react at speed when necessary. And the options are vast. As of 2020, there are 8,000 different martech tools to choose from, ranging from data analytics platforms to CRMs, to internal team collaboration tools.”

Now, the need for better data analytics, automated processes, and collaboration tools has been around for quite some time.  With the changes we’re seeing from COVID-19, and the trend toward virtual officing, that need has increased significantly. The processes, and the personnel, that facilitated the concepting and execution of marketing messaging no longer live under one roof.  With stakeholders scattered -- the usual players such as product development, sales, brand, and creative -- it’s just no longer possible to simply get together in a conference room and “hammer things out.”

What’s the solution?  Marketing technology. Well, unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that.  As  Laurie Busby pointed out in her Financial Brand article, “Marketing Automation Doesn’t Have to End in Costly Failure, marketing automation can, unfortunately, end in costly failure. “Some financial institutions are so eager to enter the martech world that they let themselves be sold deluxe software packages and empty promises. Many such teams sign on with tech-giant platforms that charge monstrous upfront costs and require exhaustive training. Months later — sometimes longer — these institutions still won’t have the software up and running. Without the right support, these once enthusiastic folks find themselves stuck wading through massive “bloatware” platforms. No one on their teams has the bandwidth to train new users on properly, let alone manage. Worst of all, they find themselves no closer to their goals and can’t demonstrate any ROI to their key stakeholders.”

First Interstate, a community bank headquartered in Billings, Montana with more than 150 offices across Idaho, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming, solved this challenge with a private label portal from BankMarketingCenter.com.

“As a large community regional bank with a diversified suite of financial products and services, we knew that we needed a way to get branded, compliant, approved messaging out into the marketplace in an efficient, cost-effective manner. That led us to BankMarketingCenter.com and the development of a private label portal.”

- Sara Becker, SVP, Director, Marketing & Communications

First Interstate’s portal is a custom designed, automated system that organizes assets, streamlines the review process, tracks projects at every stage of development, archives the entire project process from start to finish, offers high quality templates along with thousands of images, and ensures both information accuracy and brand standards compliance. 

“Anything going through our agency was expensive and had a long turnaround time; sometimes as long as two weeks. And, we could never be sure that the information in those materials was current and compliant. When we access materials in the portal, we know that the information in those templates is current and that it meets compliance demands.”

-  Rhianna H. Tretin, Marketing & PR Specialist

BankMarketingCenter.com allows First Interstate Bank to get their marketing message out quickly, efficiently, and always on brand. Through the portal, the bank’s 1,200 users can access approved, branded materials and customize them in seconds to target their local markets and then have them downloaded or electronically delivered to the approved vendor. The software also builds in controls from a budget and compliance standpoint since there are levels of access and approval for different users. Once a marketing product is ordered, the technology automatically routes the request through marketing/compliance for approval. Once approved, the product is sent directly to the bank’s approved printer or media outlet. 

By working with BankMarketingCenter.com, First Interstate Bank can maintain control of their brand image and empower team members at the local level with high quality, professionally created ads and marketing materials they can customize. The portal has helped the bank save thousands of dollars in marketing costs, facilitate compliance, and respond more quickly to demands for marketing materials. And the bank anticipates that this trend will continue as it expands its use of their customized private label portal.

Busby concludes with this thought: “That is why when choosing a platform and package, you must not only consider your marketing needs, but also ensure that meeting them with martech falls within the scope of your department’s capabilities. Throughout the selection process, remember your end goal: You are aiming for better, personalized communication and smarter use of your team’s capabilities. The right software is out there — you just may need to poke around before you find it.”

We couldn’t agree more.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, relevant, and compelling communication that will help you build trust, relationships, and with them, your brand. All while saving you time and money.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to in-branch brochures and signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com. Or, you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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Trying to market in a pandemic? See what the experts say.

What budget is the first to get slashed in an economic downturn?  As we all know, it’s marketing. As a former ad agency guy, I have lived through many a downturn.  We always knew that when times started to get tough, we were the first to lose our jobs… and, when times began to improve, we were always the last to return to work.  There’s an old agency metaphor for spending money in a downturn. We said it was “like shooting at ducks that aren’t there.” Well, right now, a lot of banks are looking to save their No. 2 Steel for another day.

But, perhaps they’re not ready to give up entirely on bagging a few.  I found Bill Streeter’s recent post on The Financial Brand both informative and, well, a bit encouraging; despite that fact that the challenge he addresses is that of “pinched budgets plus tougher competition.”

Why encouraging when we’re talking about an industry being in somewhat of an “unenviable position”? Because I think I can help.  Bill goes on to say: “New marketing technology can bring efficiency, which helps with budgets, but you can’t just snap your fingers to get there. It requires investment in software and talent.”

And I couldn’t agree more.

While a “new marketing technology” deficit is one of them, there are a handful of issues banks face when it comes to marketing in today’s economic turmoil. The Financial Brand interviewed Chandramouli Venkatesan, Market Development Executive in Capgemini’s Financial Services and Capital Markets, who pointed out some of those additional issues. “Multiple touchpoints to execute a campaign, lack of standardization of campaign components and manual handling of data should be solved by a marketing resource management solution,” he said. “The problem is that many of these software tools are out of date.”  He goes on to state that talent is a tougher challenge. “To have an agile marketing team an institution needs a blend of expertise in digital marketing technology, data, marketing, and creative, says Venkatesan. He acknowledges that external help will likely be needed.”

And this is where I think we can help. For those of you who aren’t familiar with bankmarketingcenter.com, we currently work with 20 state banking associations and over 300 banks, helping them address the challenges faced by their marketing teams.  Our partner banks have access to several thousand professionally designed layouts – created by agency trained, financial services industry professionals – that range from social media messaging, online banners and in-branch signage, to print and radio advertising. With unlimited access to millions of Getty Images, as well as the ability to customize copy and colors, banks are able to personalize these marketing materials quickly and easily, saving valuable time and money.  When Jim went on to say that “it is becoming increasingly challenging to deploy modern marketing with legacy talent, skills and mindset… and that most financial institutions will be better advised to partner with specialty organizations to provide the needed skills,” I said to myself, he is exactly right.  And that is what we’ve been trying to do with bankmarketingcenter.com. 

If ever there were a time when you should be making use of every marketing communication tool at your disposal, and being as efficient about the process as possible, this is it. As a financial institution, a trusted institution, you must keep your customers abreast of important economic developments, as well as the products and services that you can offer to help them navigate those developments. And you need to use every available tactic to do so: Social posting, advertising, newsletters, email, webinars, and direct mail.

While there may be fewer ducks to shoot at, that doesn’t mean you stop duck hunting entirely. It means that you just have to get better at it.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging that will help you build trust, relationships, and with them, your brand. Messaging that you can customize to meet your needs in just minutes.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to in-branch brochures and signage –  visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  Or, you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.