A Q&A with Brian Hickey of the Florida Bankers Association

As you all know, bankers are continually required to do more with less… and the management of their marketing programs is certainly no exception. Because BankMarketingCenter.com is a Florida Bankers Association endorsed partner, I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Hickey, who you all know of course, as the FBA’s Director of Partner Relations and Associate Membership.  We talked about some of the trends in banking and how members can make the most of our partnership.

Brian: Thanks for meeting with me, Neal. Let me begin this conversation by giving our members a bit of background. Now, for those association members who are not familiar with the process, this is important; our selection of endorsed partners is an on-going one. In other words, once selected, a vendor doesn’t simply enjoy permanent endorsed vendor status. As new suppliers and technologies appear, we know that we must continually review these partners and potential opportunities, to remain assured that they are, in fact, the best organizations in their field. And subsequently, that members receive the best services in the industry.

As your state banking association, we feel that it is always important to help keep you, our partner banks, abreast of the trends, developments, and new opportunities that present themselves in this fast and ever-evolving industry.  We’re taking this opportunity to update you on developments in the area of marketing, brought to you here by Neal Reynolds, founder and president of one of our endorsed marketing partners, BankMarketingCenter.com.

Reynolds: First off, thank you Brian, for giving me the opportunity to address your association banks. We are committed to bringing the FBA banks the best in marketing messaging, which is so critical, especially with the many challenges bankers now face. A top challenge, of course, is that banks are continually being asked to do more — regulation is a good example — and resources are stretched thin. The competition for customers has become incredibly tough with fintechs constantly entering the marketplace. Consequently, smart marketing is more critical than ever.

Brian:  You mentioned that resources are stretched thin and I’m pretty sure that all of our member banks would agree. Tell me, how can your service help banks stay on top of that all-important function, marketing, without, perhaps, staffing an entire department or hiring an expensive outside firm?

Neal: Good question, Brian. For starters, our web-based marketing portal gives your banks the ability to produce professionally designed, bank-branded marketing materials in a matter of seconds. It puts the user in complete control of the ad production process, saving valuable time and money. Our design interface is super user friendly, so no design skill is required, which is huge. Users log in, select an ad that most closely meets their needs, and then customize it with their desired images, brand colors, and copy; simply by dragging and dropping.  And they have unlimited access to thousands of layouts and millions of Getty photos and images.

Brian: I get it. I’ve been in your portal and seen the campaigns.  It looks like you offer everything from digital signs, direct mail, statement stuffers and social media posts to ads, flyers, and brochures.  Basically, well, everything a bank needs to market their products and services, honor holidays, build their brand, celebrate their employees… all kinds of things.

Neal:  Very true, Brian. And you’re making a very important point about our marketing messaging.  The content on our portal has been created by people who know the business and this is really critical. We have a team of financial industry marketing professionals who are constantly researching financial industry trends, products, and services. Then, using decades of marketing experience in the financial services space — community banking, in particular — they develop and add new, customizable creative to our library of ads almost every day. This is the major difference between our service and some of the template-driven applications out there, such as Canva. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for. Programs like Canva don’t apply the highly sophisticated principles of marketing that we do at Bankmarketincenter.com.

Brian:  Can you talk a bit more about how it works?

Neal:  Sure. Our portal can also, if the user wants it to, automatically insert their institution’s logo, address, and phone numbers into their ads. The portal then facilitates proofing of the ad, automatically routing it along a pre-determined, pre-arranged compliance approval path. Another very useful feature, and one that many overlook the importance of, 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 if and when, in a compliance review, they’re asked by regulators for access to their marketing materials.  No other web-based messaging portal does this.

Brian:  You mentioned images.  Millions of them?

Neal: Yes, roughly 9 million and that includes videos as well. And your members can use any of them without concerning themselves about the usage rights. Here’s an example of what I’ve actually been seeing; banks promoting their mobile banking with an image of an iPhone. That doesn’t sound like a big deal but, well, Apple thinks it is. Their Trademark Guidelines tell you that “Only Apple and its authorized resellers and licensees may use the Apple Logo in advertising, promotional, and sales materials.” Needless to say, the last thing your bank needs is a Cease-and-Desist letter from Apple’s legal department. 

Brian:  Thanks very much for your time, Neal. This has been great… very informative stuff.

Neal:  Thank you, Brian, for giving me this opportunity. I hope it helps you banks better understand what we can do for them.