Q&A with Neal Reynolds, founder and president of BankMarketingCenter.com

Just recently, I was fortunate enough to speak with one of the 22 state bankers associations with whom we partner as an endorsed vendor.

In case you’re not familiar with the endorsed vendor selection process, a vendor doesn’t simply enjoy permanent endorsed vendor status once selected. As new suppliers and technologies appear, the associations continually review their vendors to ensure that they are, in fact, the best organizations in their field.

As one of the state bankers associations we work with was conducting their vendor review, we talked a bit about what’s available to community banks in the field of marketing.

Interviewer: Neal, we’ve looked at the providers in your space and learned quite a bit.  We’d really love to share that learning with our members. Can we talk?

Reynolds: Absolutely and thanks for giving me the opportunity to address your members. We are committed to bringing community banks the best in marketing messaging, which is so critical, especially in the face of so many challenges. The competition for customers has become incredibly tough and we all recognize the important role that strategic, compelling, and relevant marketing messaging can play in the fight for market share.

Interviewer:  Neal, you mentioned that an organization – Canva – has found its way into some community banks and that this web-based template-building platform is being looked at as a low-cost alternative to BankMarketingCenter.com.

Reynolds: Yes, that’s true. But the real truth is that our services are very different. For starters, yes, a template-driven software application can make the creation of marketing products quick and easy. But as in everything in life, you get what you pay for, right? Can a template-driven design program like Canva apply the highly sophisticated principles of marketing that today’s marcomm messaging demands? Absolutely not. Sure, anyone can create a print ad or digital banner using a pre-built template, but what does Canva actually bring to the table? In the end, it is simply a tool, and as such, is only as effective as the marketing person whose hands it is in.

Interviewer:  So how is what you offer different? Aren’t the ads on your portal templates, too?

Reynolds:  No, they’re much more than that, and, in fact, this is the critical difference between what we offer and Canva templates. The difference, in a word, is thinking. We have a team of financial industry marketing professionals, with collective experience of about 6 decades, who are constantly researching financial industry trends, products, and services. Then, using their experience in the financial services space — community banking, in particular — they develop and add new, customizable creative to our library of content almost every day. And our layouts cover the full range of marketing materials, including direct mail, social media messaging, radio and print advertising, in-branch signage, statement stuffers, flyers, posters, and more. As far as our web-based platform is concerned, it doesn’t simply offer pretty templates for design. We put our clients in complete control of their marketing message development process, from concept to production via an easy-to-use interface. After a user logs into the BankMarketingCenter.com website, they can select an ad that most closely meets their needs and then customize it with their desired images, brand colors, logo, and copy. Like Canva, no design software or experience is needed; it’s a simple drag-and-drop process. But that is where the similarity ends. 

Interviewer:  How so?

Reynolds: Our portal can automatically insert their institution’s logo, address, and phone numbers in their ad, including the compliant logos for FDIC and Equal Housing. The portal then facilitates proofing of the ad, automatically routing it along a pre-determined compliance approval path. Another critical advantage of our portal over template apps is that each user has easy access to their order history, enabling them to track all the marketing materials that are produced. This is a huge benefit to financial institutions if and when, in a compliance review, they’re asked by regulators for access to their marketing materials.

Interviewer:  You also mentioned images and usage. 

Reynolds: Yes, that’s an important one and something else that your banks should know about. Here’s an example of what I’ve actually been seeing: banks are promoting their mobile banking with an image of an iPhone. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? Well, Apple doesn’t see it that way. Apple states this pretty clearly in their Trademark Guidelines: “Only Apple and its authorized resellers and licensees may use the Apple Logo in advertising, promotional, and sales materials.” The problem is, service providers like Canva don’t protect you from this sort of thing and that’s because Canva doesn’t provide its own images. They utilize a third-party image resource. Here’s what that company’s website says about image usage. “While we have made reasonable efforts to correctly categorize, keyword, caption, and title the Stock Media, Canva does not warrant the accuracy of such information and Canva also does not warrant the accuracy of any metadata that may be provided with the Stock Media.” Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it?  BankMarketingCenter.com, on the other hand, offers millions of Getty Images and videos and we guarantee their use.  The last thing any bank needs is to find themselves in hot water over the illegal use of an image.

Interviewer:  Thanks very much for your time, Neal. We appreciate it. 

Reynolds:  Thank you for giving me the opportunity. I hope this helps your banks better understand what we can do for them.

About BankMarketingCenter.com

BankMarketingCenter.com is the leading provider of marketing materials to over 300 financial institutions and has received the endorsement of 22 state bankers associations. While the portal provides partner banks with professionally designed and written materials and offers the ease of a platform such as Canva, the company’s content is developed by experts with years of experience in both marketing and the financial industry.

The team at BankMarketingCenter.com is led by founder, Neal Reynolds, whose career began as an art director at world-renowned advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson in Chicago. After working on the advertising for world-class brands such as Oscar Mayer, Kraft and Ford, Neal opened the doors to his own shop in 1982 and 15 years ago, began developing the web-based marketing portal we now know as BankMarketingCenter.com.