Three Things All Community Banks Should Know

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

It may be one of the most heavily used clichés out there, but there is wisdom in its simplicity – especially when it comes to marketing. A well-thought-out marketing plan is just as important as a business growth plan and a financial plan. In fact, these things are most successful when they work in conjunction with one another. Marketing solves problems. It helps you grow and thrive. But it doesn’t happen overnight.

When you endeavor to create a solid marketing plan, you're taking the time to understand where the business is and where it needs to go, who your customers are and where you have the most opportunity for growth. It doesn't matter if your plan's not perfect and if you don't have 100% of the information you think you need to write it. What is important is that you'll give yourself a road map, knowing there will be detours along the way. And bonus, it can help eliminate some of the reactionary craziness we as marketers know all too well.

Below are three areas for consideration when writing your plan.

Bet on Branding

Invest in development of a recognizable and consistent brand voice. Understanding, creating, and nurturing your brand will pay off in several ways. Yes, it can be a significant investment, but it is a wise investment of your resources, one that will pay off handsomely time and again by setting you apart from the growing plethora of competitors invading your space.

A strong brand is based on your core belief system, laying the foundation for consistently favorable impressions and interactions with your customers and prospects. The biggest bonus is what it will do for your culture. When you communicate the "why" of your brand decisions to your employees, you demonstrate what you stand for and give them something to rally around. That understanding brings new meaning to decisions and interactions with your customers. It also provides safeguards against high-value customers walking out your door to follow any rockstar banker leaving for the competition.

Prepare for Launch

Brand continuity makes Introduction of new or enhanced products and services so much easier. Community banks typically offer a wide array of services ranging from checking, savings, lending, mortgages, wealth management and investments. Whether evaluating existing services or introducing a new product, incorporating your brand attributes into your new product line will help you move ahead decisively to successfully launch and manage a new revenue stream. 

Get Personal

Avoid making assumptions or stereotyping customers by age or demographic – talk to your customers frequently and get to know them, their likes and dislikes. Digital tools are wonderful, time-saving conveniences for day-to-day transactions, but at the end of the day, you are in the relationship business. Most humans do not possess the gift of financial prowess and at one time or another, we all need to talk to a banker. 

That first car or mortgage is the tip of the iceberg. Your customers who are successful at building wealth often times have no idea how to manage it. Your customers want your expert advice – big or small. As much as technology is impacting every aspect of our lives, the expertise bankers offer customers is invaluable. 

Need a little help building your brand? Drop us a line – that’s what we’re here for. 

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