Tuesday, March 30, 2010

5 Essentials in Marketing for Kansas Banks

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.

Gary Nye
Nye & Associates

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Web Sites

What not to do: http://www.yvettesbridalformal.com/

First Impressions – Your Web Site

"Honey, stop the car! Back up. I think we’ve found it. . . our dream home!”

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you can probably remember the reason you stopped. There was just something different about that house - something that caught your eye, something visually appealing that made you want to get out of the car and take a look inside. It’s curb appeal!

Leading real estate experts agree that without curb appeal, the odds that your home will sell for its asking price drastically decrease. The old adage "first impressions mean everything" really is true.

The same holds true for your Web site. Albeit unfairly, many organizations are judged based solely on their Web presence. You may have the most profound thing to say, the highest quality product to sell, or the finest education in the land to offer, but none of it matters if your Web site is not appealing to visitors.

First-time visitors to your Web site will choose to continue surfing your site within three seconds or so, not unlike outdoor advertising where marketers have three seconds to introduce and sell you on a specific product or brand. You can have all the fancy gadgets, you can use catchy technological phrases like RSS feeds or blogs, but the simple fact is if your Web site is not professional and visually appealing, in most cases, none of it matters.

If during those first few seconds your Web site is found to be visually appealing and inviting, Eureka! You have made a good initial first impression, which is tantamount to walking into a well-appointed and clean department store with a spotless bathroom. And we all love that, right?

Now it’s on to the second stage of the visitors experience - content.

Visitors to your Web site want to be informed. They have visited your site for one of two reasons:

1) They were referred to you by someone they know, or have heard about you and want to learn more.
2) They happened upon your Web site while conducting a general search.

Now that you’ve built it, and they have come, what next? My advice to you would be to keep it fresh and to keep it real. For obvious reasons, Web sites that become stagnant over time with little to no change in content or graphics become less appealing, and visitors have less reason to frequent your site.

On the contrary, Web sites that take advantage of tools specifically geared toward updating content and images give visitors something new (and hopefully interesting) to read. The goal should be to provide informative, relevant, and useful information to your visitors, thereby encouraging them to visit again and visit often.

An effective Web site will give your visitors a memorable experience and encourage repeat visitors to the Web site. To learn more about creating effective visual aspects and content for your Web site, call us at 316-263-5878.

Lee Clark
VP, Business Development
Nye & Associates

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our booth at the Metro Mingle

We participated in the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce Metro Mingle & Small Business Awards Showcase. Here's Lee and our booth.