Loni Meiborg profileThe evolution of the marketing professional has accelerated greatly over the last decade. At one time the “marketing department” was known as the creative misfits of an organization. A team that didn’t really understand business but instead was charged with making things pretty and keeping a supply of logoed merchandise on-hand. When budgets had to be cut you could bet that marketing’s was the first to go, because the thought was they just spent money with no trackable ROI.

Flash forward to today and marketing professionals are being awarded titles such as “Director of Enterprise Culture and Communication.” That is quite a leap from creative misfits and begs the question: What has changed?

What’s in a brand?
Many banks rely on their marketing team to develop their brand. As we know, a successful brand is much deeper than a logo. A brand must include a voice, evoke emotion, appeal to a distinct audience, communicate through multiple channels, deliver on a promise, be different from the competition, and bring results.

As you can imagine, a brand knows no bounds. Every decision your bank makes will inevitably impact the client; who is ensuring those decisions align with your brand promise?

Delivering your promise
As of late, the marketing team is being invited to the decision-making table. Leaders understand that the marketing team holds the key to the voice of the customer. Understanding options early can result in a better decision and encourage brand loyalty.

Above a traditional marketing understanding, these professionals are charged with delivering on your bank’s promise. You’ve heard it before, “World’s best cup of coffee,” or “We have the BEST employees to serve you well.” What’s behind that promise? Not much in most cases. Therefore, you cannot focus on brand without focusing on people. 

The marketing team should function as an extension of your human resources department. Since your people are the best method of advertising, it is important to onboard them correctly and in an inspiring way. Your marketing department can help develop an engaging and impactful orientation that communicates the importance of conducting business specific to the bank’s brand.

In addition, client experience is centered on your brand and your employees equally. Your advertising can be great but if a customer’s experience is poor, it was all for naught. Your brand should shape your culture and your culture should bring your brand to life.

Reaching the client
Once messaging and service is determined, we rely on the marketing team to deliver messages to customers via their preferred communication channel: phone, email, internet, mobile, publications, radio, television, and the list goes on. 

Community banks generally do not have an elaborate marketing department; in most cases it is just one or two employees. This requires those couple of employees to become a master of understanding who the target audience is and the best methods to reach them—always delivering the best results.

Data-driven decisions
Speaking of results, how do you credit the brand and advertising methods to real numbers? In addition to the creative aspects of the job, a focus must be placed on the analytical side: data. MCIF, CRM, Google Analytics, metadata, voice of the client, survey analysis, focus groups, A/B testing, net promoter score... all of which must be used to learn more about your customer, target new customers, and build loyalty.

It is also how you can tie campaign success back to specific tactics. Marketing is the megaphone for your sales efforts and by using data analytics, you can prove each dollar spent is an investment to create opportunities.

So why am I telling you all of this? Assess how your bank is utilizing your marketing team. Invite them to the table when creative solutions need to be found or when you’re planning changes that could impact your team or your customers. 

Your marketing team can be the thread that sews all areas of the bank together—be sure you’re taking full advantage of the talents you have under your roof. In an environment where the competition is stiff, and the consumer can’t sort it all out, rely on the marketing team to make your bank and people stand out.

Loni Meiborg is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Fortifi Bank in Berlin and serves on the WBA BOLT Section Board of Directors.