Nick Brandoch profile
Kristen Talbott profileAll businesses exist for one reason: to serve their customers. Today, we are blessed to be able to communicate with and serve those valuable customers in more ways than ever. The challenge for brands is to be consistent with their messaging and experience across those channels, whether they be in person or through a digital environment. Achieving that goal requires a close connection and ongoing collaboration between retail and marketing, the two main customer touchpoints within our banks. 

We've been working together for the past year and a half, and these are the best practices we've used for successful collaboration. 

  1. Set the vision. Together. People have a more vested interest in goal achievement when they play a role in setting goals. We allocated time together to plan for 2019 as a team. Our initiatives are not retail or marketing initiatives; they are bank-wide goals that are supported by multiple departments. 
  2. Get friendly. Collaboration can't stop after goal setting. Ongoing communication helps us address problems, make continual improvements, and keep goals top of mind. Nicholas joins the regular meeting of our retail leadership to provide marketing updates, take feedback, and ensure lines of communication always remain open. With more time spent in the branch network, Kristen and her team help audit branch merchandising and communicate opportunities to marketing.
  3. United we stand. Once you figure out what you want to accomplish, together, you have additional resources when presenting opportunities to bank leadership. When you've found consensus between retail and marketing, you'll find it substantially easier to find commitment from the top to execute your shared vision. 
  4. Make the tent bigger. When the retail team was facing staffing shortages, marketing developed hiring campaigns to help drive qualified applicants. This led to a new hire starting within the first two weeks. When marketing needed employees to support events, retail recruited front-line employees to be offsite brand ambassadors. They were able to share bank knowledge with potential customers, and now share greater marketing knowledge with fellow employees. Solutions exist beyond department boundaries. Be sure to push the boundaries and ask for help. 
  5. That computer in your pocket makes calls. Really. Don't forget how critical your Call Center is to a great customer experience. Trust can be lost when call center employees are unfamiliar with initiatives or key advertising. Share those campaigns ahead of time so the customer has an omni-channel experience. 
  6. Maximize your sponsorships. In a community bank, sponsorship opportunities arise from the extensive network that our bankers and lenders keep. To maximize these investments, teamwork is required. Retail can help activate marketing sponsorships within the branch, encouraging customer engagement as well as reinforcing our community niche. Conversely, marketing can use its expertise to negotiate and leverage partnerships that originate from the retail team for the greatest impact. 

Harmony can be elusive. Building trust is hard. It takes a concerted effort to keep retail and marketing rowing their oars in the same direction. Occasionally, your boat will take a circuitous route. We believe these best practices can help you arrive at your final destination. 

Talbott is chief retail banking officer for Tri City National Bank and serves on the WBA Marketing Committee. Bandoch is vice president of marketing for Tri City National Bank.