Competition is stronger than ever, and is coming from more places than ever before. In order to assure success, Kansas banks must pay attention to these vital marketing issues.
Customers have more choices today, than ever. They can get financial services down the street, in the mail, on the Internet, from credit unions, brokers, national banks, regional banks, local banks, insurance companies, finance companies, and others.
So, what are the five essentials?
They are: Competitive Products & Services, Strategic Positioning, Aggressive Target Marketing, Effective Community Relations, and Superior Customer Service.
Competitive Products and Services is just what it says. If your bank isn’t reviewing and making carefully planned decisions about your mix of products and services, your customer base can quickly erode due to the perception of more desirable services being offered by more aggressive competitors.
Strategic Positioning refers to how you want to be perceived in your community. Do you want to be The Innovator? The Ag Bank? The Friendliest? The Most Community Involved? Defining the Strategic Position for your bank is a key essential ingredient in this process.
This is a key factor in developing a focused marketing effort. Giving thought to how you want to be defined in your community is the foundation for the creation of a clear and effective marketing program.
Aggressive Target Marketing is not just a catch phrase - it's a strategy. It means identifying precisely who you want to do business with, and making direct, concerted efforts to offer products and services to fit this market. Families, farmers and small businesses are three examples of specific targets that can be identified and marketed to.
The key to effective target marketing is creating the best match between the products and services you offer, and the specific audience that has the highest potential of using these services.
Effective Community Relations is the process of creating interaction with your prospects in situations other than when you are soliciting their business. Good examples of this concept are events, seminars, participation in local sports activities, participation with schools, and other good-for-the-community events.
In many cases, people want to do business with a financial institution that clearly has and demonstrates a sense of involvement with the community. Community relations activities can take many forms. The key is analyzing your community, what the competition is doing, and the opportunities that exist, and then developing a plan to create increased community visibility for your institution.
Superior Customer Service is also critical in the process of achieving success. Bankers must make a commitment to managing every interaction with their customer, with the goal of making it a positive experience.
Customers have three general expectations when they receive service. These expectations are to be recognized, to be made to feel important, and to be taken care of. These three needs are always there, just in varying degrees, depending on the type and level of service they are receiving.
The bottom line is that the effective management of these five factors is fundamental to competing and succeeding today. Smart bank leaders are now integrating a strategic planning process into their business. This process involves setting a Vision, Objectives, and Action plan for determining what and how they will successfully compete in today’s marketplace. These five essentials then become the foundation for a successful bank marketing plan and will be key to long-term success.
Nye & Associates