When it comes to delivery channels, the quantity over quality strategy is ineffective, Gallup research shows. In studies and surveys conducted from 2013-2016, Gallup has found that some banks have focused on aggressively expanding the number of channels they offer their customers without first researching how to choose the channels that best fit their customers and their overall strategic goals. Channel satisfaction is the key to increasing engagement and deepening the bank's relationship with its customers, and the key to channel satisfaction is identifying how and where your customers want to interact with you. 

The list of channel options for product delivery and marketing seems endless—but rather than having 500 channels and nothing good on, a strategic channel approach can effectively engage your audience. When the focus shifts from individual channels to the overall customer experience, it can be easier to identify where to focus. In general, channels can be classified as either traditional or digital and used for product delivery or marketing. Wisconsin Banker interviewed four experts to highlight current popular channels for banks to consider. 

"Branches are not dead, they're just changing from transaction centers to sales centers," said Mark Arnold, president of On the Mark Strategies. The bank branch is still a key channel because customers still want to know their banker and value the experience they have with the bank—regardless of whether that experience is online or in person, according to Sara Baker, vice president, Ladysmith Federal Savings & Loan. "Customers still demand that high-touch personal service from their community bank," said Baker. "Balancing the digital versus human touch relationships with our customers is key to the future of community banking."

Interactive Teller Machines
"Interactive teller—or video teller—machines are something every bank should study," said Jay Coakley, president of Coakley Strategic Solutions, LLC. "You can reduce delivery cost and provide great customer service, especially in a small community, by utilizing employees in one location to service customers in another location. It's great technology." These machines can help banks maintain strong service relationships even in locations where a full-scale branch is inefficient or prohibitively expensive to operate. 

Core Processors
Banks should consider the delivery channels offered through their core vendor, according to Jim Pannos, president and principal of the Pannos Marketing Agency. "Many of our clients are getting involved with their core processors to get their most recent release because there are so many more capabilities within the newer core processing platforms," he explained. 

"Don't forget the power of email," said Arnold. "Email is still a great channel to use to deliver products and services. Think about how scalable they are and how they look on mobile." For example, with the growing number of emails viewed on mobile phones, the format needs to be designed to allow readers to scroll through content easily.

Content marketing
In all digital marketing, but email especially, good content is a critical component. "Consumers today really want content and not sales pitches," said Arnold. "It's what you're saying as opposed to how you're saying it." Banks can position themselves as expert advisors by offering useful information to their customers through blogs, their website and emailed newsletters. However, Arnold cautions against too much verbosity: "People are consuming more information than they ever have before, but in smaller bites. Information you send out needs to be digestible," he said. 

Technology that allows customers to access answers when the bank's doors aren't open will become increasingly important, according to Pannos. "Your bank doesn't have to be open 24 hours, but people are focused on accessing at their leisure versus when the bank is open," he said. The convenience of online banking appeals to many customers who previously performed transactions in the branch. "Consumers are not increasing the number of transactions each month," Coakley said of the growth in online and mobile transactions. "They're just interacting with the bank in a way that's more convenient for them."

"Mobile has the strongest trend line," said Coakley. "From the studies we've done, mobile banking's trend line is going up at a steep increase while online, in-branch and phone systems are declining." However, it is important that the bank dedicate enough resources to their mobile app to make it both functional and intuitive or many customers will not adopt it as a preferred channel. "Customers expect a bank's mobile app to be vibrant, easy-to-use, and fast," Pannos explained. 

P2P Payments
Person-to-person payment applications like Vimeo are becoming the preferred tool for younger consumers, which makes these types of delivery channels a potential market for banks that choose to target younger customers. "Usage of [these apps] isn't going to shrink," said Pannos. "Banks should be aware of that as they're looking at their technology and how they're going to serve the millennial generation and Gen Z. They're looking to those types of platforms as currency."

Remote Deposit Capture
This service allows customers to deposit checks via their mobile phones by simply snapping a picture of it, and while it's becoming very popular, banks should be cautious. "It's a great service, but it can be costly, especially for smaller banks," said Pannos. Due to the diminishing number of checks being written across the industry, he advises banks to assess the overall market demand and competition for the product, as well as examine their own customer base demographics to ensure the product will assist in the bank's overall customer satisfaction and retention. 

Before Diving In…

So which channel(s) should your bank invest in? There are four main areas to consider when investigating a channel strategy upgrade: your customer base, cost, marketing and training. "It's important for banks to understand their market and their customer base," said Baker, pointing out that customer demands for a bank in metropolitan Milwaukee will be very different from those at a bank in rural northern Wisconsin. "Just because the bank down the street offers a certain product doesn't mean your bank needs to offer that same product. Ask your customers what they want before diving in." Coakley recommends defining not only what the bank's current customers want for delivery channels, but also the preferences of the bank's targeted future customers. "It's about what your current customers want and what your future customers want, and those can be two vastly different answers," he said.

While upgrading or purchasing new delivery channels can be costly, banks need to consider their options from all angles. For example, purchasing new video tellers may reduce branch overhead expenses enough to offset the initial cost. "Investing in new technology and solutions can overall reduce the cost of operations, so this is important to look at too," said Baker. Intentionally migrating your customers to digital channels can also lead to staffing changes. "Long-term reduction in FTEs pays for the new technology," Coakley explained.

Additionally, the bank must plan to market any new channels in order to optimize usage rates. "You may have great products and technology, but if you don't communicate that to your customers and your community, they won't adopt it," said Coakley. A review of the bank's current marketing channel strategies is also essential. "The very first thing every bank needs to do is conduct a marketing audit," said Arnold. "You need to look at each of your channels and how successful they are, then come back with strategic and tactical recommendations for changes." Finally, as with any major operational or product changes, the bank must offer training to its staff. "Banks need to invest in their staff, training them on ways to provide quality customer experiences at all touchpoints," Baker advised. 

Whether your bank has three delivery channels or 30, it's important that your customer experience is consistent across them. "Rather than thinking about just one channel, think about the experience," Arnold advised. So, when a customer visits a branch they experience the same level of service and style of messaging as when they visit your mobile app or website. "That's the challenge that banks face today," said Pannos. "You have to be old-fashioned in some aspects and cutting-edge in others." Because consumer preferences are so capricious, it's essential for banks to constantly reevaluate their channel strategy and adapt to what they learn. "Customers will continue to crave whatever technology is available which offers them convenience and a personal experience," said Baker. "As the technology evolves, banks too need to evolve."

By, Amber Seitz

Digging for Gold: Data Mining for Marketing Success
Banks of all sizes should apply data analytics to maximize their marketing strategy

There’s no shortage of tools for bank marketers to deploy in their efforts to attract and retain customers. Social media, digital advertising, traditional print and media marketing, and good old-fashioned cold-calling all have their place. However, tools are ineffective without a strategy. You can have all the hammers, nails and wood you need to build a house, but if the architect didn’t design a floorplan, it’ll never come together. For bank marketers, data analytics is a critical component in creating a strategic marketing plan, though many banks aren’t fully leveraging the data available to them.


“Data analytics is critical to building a successful marketing strategy. You just have to do it,” said John Verre, president and CEO, Leap Strategic Marketing. Leveraging data starts with two primary processes: discovery and distillation of the data.


The discovery process involves collecting traditional consumer and business data, including number of accounts, balances, and attrition rates, as well as breaking down that data by branch and market segment. According to Verre, those metrics provide a holistic view of the institution and help delineate between trends at the specific bank and national trends. “That discovery is absolutely key to developing a sound business and consumer marketing plan,” he explained. “Data analysis leads to all of the strategies and tactics that drive the direction of the plan. The more data you use, the better the plan can become.”

It’s also important for banks to collect data about individual customers on a regular basis. While it may sound like an enormous task, it’s actually part of what most community banks do every day. “First and foremost, in order to enter data into the CRM, you have to get to know the customer anyway,” said Jeff McCarthy, vice president – marketing director, First Bank Financial Centre, Oconomowoc. “When a new customer comes in, you have to take the time with them on the front end. Learn everything from if they own a home and are married to how they take their coffee and if they took one of the free cookies when they came in.” Rolling this practice into a data collection strategy simply means recording all of this information in a centralized location where it can be updated and analyzed as needed. This practice can help cement customer relationships by ensuring that all bank staff have current information about each customer. “When you onboard a customer properly by asking the right questions, you become more customer-centric,” said Verre. “If banks work this well, the customer feels like you really know them.”

Tom Hershberger, president, Cross Financial Group, explained that data collected during this phase can also help the bank identify potential new customers. “In the absence of an intentional pursuit of customer segments outside an organization’s average customer profile, tomorrow’s new customer will be a clone of the customers served today,” he said. “An in-depth analysis of current customer relationships—including account balances, product possession, service usage and preferred delivery channels—will set the stage to determine what will be attractive for the next new customer.”


Distillation The second phase in using data analytics to create a successful marketing strategy is the “analytics” part of “data analytics:” distilling all of the data collected to allow for a focused analysis. “Because data can become a big landscape very quickly, it is essential that organizations direct their data assessments to the critical priorities emphasized in strategic and corporate planning,” said Hershberger. “The key is not collecting all of the data possible, but rather collecting and examining data that will improve marketing activities directly connected to desired outcomes.”

Want to increase cross-selling? Collect data on which products and services customers currently utilize and compare that with what would be appropriate for their needs. Want to acquire new customers? Collect data that will help you build a profile for your best current customers, which will tell you the type of potential customer to seek out. “There are so many things you can do every day, so you need to isolate the opportunities that make the most sense,” Verre advised.

An essential step to planning future campaigns, bank marketers can distill data to assess past efforts. “As data analytics begin to improve marketing activities, it will be important to learn what worked and what was simply a distraction,” Hershberger explained. This analysis doesn’t have to be limited to specific marketing campaigns, either. A focused approach to data analytics can also help the bank identify how best to serve current and future customers. “It’s not just about customer acquisition,” said McCarthy. “It’s about acquiring the right customers and servicing them the right way for the life of their relationship with us.”

The same theory applies to both retail and commercial customers. “Marketing efforts with retail households can be enhanced dramatically with effective data management,” said Hershberger. McCarthy pointed out that good customer data is essential for both customer service and cross-selling. “Getting to know your customers is not only good business from a customer service perspective, but from a cross-selling perspective as well,” he explained. For business customers, Hershberger said data can help expand the client’s relationship with the bank beyond lending services.


So, where should a bank start after deciding to integrate data analytics into its marketing strategy? Fortunately, banks don’t have to go far to find a data processing vendor. The most common core software providers in the financial services industry (such as FIS, Fiserv and Jack Henry) also offer data analytics and customer relationship management solutions. “I honestly believe the data processing vendor you already have is the easiest solution,” said Verre. “They can also help you sort through and find the data that’s most important.”

Some spreadsheet and database manipulation can also be a good starting point. “Most community banks have access to mainframe report writing software, or at minimum, the ability to select customer data and export it to a separate file,” Hershberger said. “Simple merge/purge activities can create a clean, non-duplicated customer list with as many products as possible connected to one family or business unit.”

In addition, there’s a wide variety of cloud-based software solutions for specific data needs, most of which all users to plug in raw data from their own systems. For example, there are several cloud applications that focus specifically on analyzing data for email marketing, and others that specialize in optimizing data for sales and cross-selling processes. Analyzing one specific piece of the bank’s marketing is one way to generate very specific returns. For example, McCarthy explained that they recently started emailing the bank’s newsletter to customers so they can monitor which articles generate the most views and click-throughs. That data will empower the bank to provide more targeted content as well as open up cross-selling opportunities. “We’re still building the data right now, but it’s a way for us to get smarter with the information we’re providing,” he said.

Technology is essential for data analytics, but the most important resource for banks to rely on when processing and analyzing data is their people. “Data is only data,” Hershberger said. “We need the human component to determine what questions to ask for the data analysis and then combine that knowledge with product and service invitations that have the greatest potential for success.” The human element is also a critical component of collecting data. “The data can tell you a customer is getting older and getting ready to retire, but conversations will tell you the meaning behind it,” McCarthy explained. “As data and technology evolve, people still want to have face-to-face interaction when complex financial issues arise.”

Ultimately, the challenge for banks is to begin using the data they have available to them. Data analytics is not an easy undertaking, requiring both time and technological investments from the institution. “It’s a commitment to actually do it,” said Verre, insisting that it’s worth the effort. “If you have the data, the insights can happen.” And those insights could be the competitive advantage that sets your bank apart.

By, Amber Seitz


Attend this proactive webinar and gain an understanding of the often complex and confusing topic of TAXES!

Bank personnel are required to obtain and properly interpret tax returns for both commercial and consumer lending purposes. The first part of this webinar will concentrate on personal tax return analysis while the second part will focus on the analysis of various business tax returns.

Covered Topics

  • The objectives of the first part of the webinar consist of the following:
  • Review the basic structure of the personal 1040 federal tax return (including the various schedules and K-1 forms)
  • Use analysis techniques to prepare a personal cash flow from information gleaned from the 1040 and the related schedules
  • Discuss recent changes in the tax code including the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), the CARES Act, and proposed tax legislation and how they affect the bank’s individual borrowers/guarantors, and
  • Describe how the 1040 tax return can be used to market the bank’s products and services.

The second part includes:

  • Discuss the structure of a C corporation, S corporation, and Partnership (including LLC) tax return
  • Analyze business tax returns and prepare cash flows for these entities
  • Draw additional information from the business returns including identifying fraudulent tax returns
  • Discuss updates in the tax code including the TCJA, CARES, and proposed tax legislation as they apply to businesses.

Who Should Attend
Commercial lenders, credit analysts, consumer lenders, mortgage lenders, loan documentation specialists, branch managers, assistant branch managers, private bankers, and business development officers.

Instructor Bio
David L. Osburn, MBA, CCRA, is the founder of Osburn & Associates, LLC, a Business Training & Contract CFO Firm that provides seminars, webinars, and keynote speeches for bankers, CPAs, credit managers, attorneys, and business owners.

His extensive professional background of over 30 years includes 20 years as a Business Trainer/ Contract CFO and 16 years as a bank commercial lender including the position of Vice President/Senior Banking Officer. Mr. Osburn has also been an adjunct college professor for over 30 years including College of Southern Nevada.

Registration Options
Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

Available Upgrades:

  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
  • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

Marketing Planning examines the process to develop a comprehensive strategic marketing plan. The course reviews research that helps a bank marketer assess their customers and trade area opportunities and how to integrate the information into a situation analysis. It covers activities from the discovery phase to setting objectives, creating action plans and developing the related budget.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of customer and market research
  • Clarify the need for market segmentation and product focus
  • Define the structure for marketing objectives and goals
  • Understand the sequence for creating vision, mission, values and a competitive advantage
  • Identify the best structure for documenting the marketing plan

Audience: This is a foundation course to develop skills and best practices for preparing a marketing plan. It is designed for employees interested in taking an active role in the management of bank marketing. This is an entry-level course for anyone planning to work in a marketing department at a financial institution.

Price: $300

Marketing Management examines management activities from ongoing brand management to public relations and digital marketing to return on investment. Understanding the practices needed to prioritize projects, assess performance and balance resources will enhance your marketing success. To be an active contributor on a marketing team you must have working knowledge of marketing management.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Identify the key management areas assigned to marketing
  • Clarify the purpose and benefit of public relations
  • Explain the importance of data management and direct marketing
  • Examine activities that improve customer experience management
  • Evaluate how to assess your return on marketing investment

Audience: This is a foundation course to examine the knowledgebase and management skills required to manage the marketing activities at a financial institution. It is designed for employees interested in taking an active role in the management of bank marketing.

Price: $300

Marketing in Banking presents the foundations of marketing in the banking industry. The course reviews the core responsibilities of bank marketing, how marketing is structured in an organization chart, and how to assess the financial performance of a financial institution.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Clarify the role of marketing in bank performance management
  • Identify the core responsibilities typically assigned to marketing
  • Understand how to review a bank’s balance sheet and income statement
  • Provide background information for the regulations impacting bank marketing activities

Audience: This is a foundation course in the structure of a bank marketing function and the related core responsibilities.  It is designed for employees interested in discovering the role of marketing within a financial institution.  This is an entry-level course for anyone entering bank marketing.

Price: $300

Building Customer Relationships guides students through the strategies for earning customer loyalty, value-added sales and marketing, and creating and maintaining strong bank customer and partner relationships. It builds the critical relationship management skills so essential to successful banking careers.

Audience: Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry.

Price: $215

Building Customer Relationships guides students through the strategies for earning customer loyalty, value-added sales and marketing, and creating and maintaining strong bank customer and partner relationships. It builds the critical relationship management skills so essential to successful banking careers.

Audience: Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry.

Price: $215

Building Customer Relationships guides students through the strategies for earning customer loyalty, value-added sales and marketing, and creating and maintaining strong bank customer and partner relationships. It builds the critical relationship management skills so essential to successful banking careers.

Audience: Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry.

Price: $215

Do you care so much about doing the right thing for your clients that you are willing to ask the tough questions in order to help the prospect or client make the right decision? Assertive, (not aggressive) relationship managers win more business than others because they are willing to have difficult conversations and ask challenging questions. In this webinar, RMs will spend time self-evaluating their own approach to stretch past their limitations and fears.

Covered Topics

  • Understand the characteristics of a consultative seller
  • Learn a 4-step process to help drive robust and assertive conversations with clients
  • Gain a series of consultative questions to adapt and use in your toolbox

Who should attend
Bank CEOs, Presidents, HR Directors, Sales Directors, LOB Leaders & Training Heads.

Dan Fischer, Sales Development Expert, has 28 years of financial sales and sales management experience working in the banking and insurance industries. During that time, he has developed a life-long passion for coaching along with an understanding of how to motivate salespeople. Using all the many tools and techniques from his past experience, Fischer is focused on helping salespeople and sales leaders become top quartile in their efforts. When he is not at work, Fischer can usually be found with his wife of 33 years and family. Fischer’s “Why” gets him up every morning… “to inspire, motivate and have a positive impact on people through my passion to help them achieve beyond what they imagined.”

For 27 years, Anthony Cole Training Group has been helping banks and other financial service organizations close their sales opportunity gap by helping them sell better, coach better and hire better. Our Mission: Grow People, Grow Organizations.

Registration Options

  • Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts – $279
  • Available Upgrades:
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD  + $140
    • Additional Live Access + $75

Formal project management techniques improve an organization’s chances of completing projects successfully. We’ll review research-based techniques that you can use when managing and when sponsoring projects that will lead to successful outcomes. This course is designed to provide tools and techniques for successfully managing a medium to large scale project and how to monitor the “health” of your project throughout the process.

In session 1, we’ll review the elements of a project that will expose you to many of the common problems that can occur in medium to large scale projects. We’ll then use this experience to highlight current research on how to avoid common project pitfalls.

Topics explored include:

  • Managing the classic constraints of project management: schedule constraints, budget constraints, and scope of deliverables and the quality of the deliverables.
  • Managing and scheduling staffing resources throughout the lifecycle of the project.
  • Techniques that can help teams identify the most important business requirements of any future system.
  • Managing projects that include new technologies.

In session 2 we’ll explore common causes and symptoms of project failure and introduce a framework that can be used to measure the “health” of your projects. The framework can be used as a tool to help with project selection or as an instrument to detect that  the project is in trouble.

Topics covered include:

  • Signs of trouble for large, intermediate, and small projects.
  • Risks associated with projects that can lead to troubled projects.
  • Steps you can take to start to get your troubled projects back on track.

Target Audience: Any employee involved in project management in the bank.

Richard Hamm, Advantage Consulting & Training

Registration Options
Live presentation $545

Recording available through August 12, 2022

During this basic course, we will review all the treasury management products and services that are available in the market. You will learn about the new products, technology, and authentication methods now available and decide which ones your business account holders may need based on their industry. You will learn strategies to cross-sell the right treasury management products your business account holders need from the start.

The bankers of today must be “lenders” as well as “deposit gatherers.” Community banks are searching for ways to increase core deposits and non-interest fee income: treasury management is the answer. In this course, you will gain a deeper understanding of how the sales, treasury management, IT, marketing, and deposit operations team members must collaborate to successfully sell and implement the products and services at your institution. We will cover the ideal organizational design for treasury management and how to incentivize the sales team.

You will walk away from this course with a deeper knowledge of treasury management, learn to conduct risk assessments on new products, and learn strategies to increase core deposits. You’ll also bring ideas back to your institution on how to market treasury management products and services to your business account holders and ways your team can work better together knowing how critical each area is to the success of the implementation and sale of these products and services.

Topics Covered:

  • Maximizing the account analysis statement as a tool to cross-sell and identify new fee income opportunities
  • Quick overview of all treasury management products and identifying enhancements focusing on each product’s benefits to businesses — the value
  • Identifying new products available that your business customers or members are asking for that you may be missing
  • How to determine which products you need to offer to your business customers or members based on industry
  • How treasury management integrates with technology, operations, marketing and sales teams
  • Ideas on how to market and brand your treasury management products
  • The ideal organizational design for treasury management and how to incentivize the sales teams
  • Process to implement treasury management products
  • How to choose the right digital payment strategy for your business clients or members (including Blockchain)

Target Audience:  Business bankers/sales team members who want to learn about treasury management products and their benefits to business clients, treasury management sales officers/specialists, deposit operations personnel, IT, and marketing staff. This course is also designed for presidents/CEOs who are looking for the ideal organizational structure for treasury management and looking for additional non-interest fee income as well as new core deposits.

Marcia Malzahn, Malzahn Strategic

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through June 10, 2022