“Houston, we have a problem… A marketing problem… I know, not again… We’re really finding it hard to pick a marketing platform that works for our customer base… Yeah, I don’t know what we’re going to do…”
Does this conversation sound familiar to you? If so, you’re not alone. According to data gathered at the 2014 Financial Brand Forum:
- 46 percent of the financial institutions polled said they “struggle to quantify the results and impact” of their marketing
- 18 percent of those polled said they “use guesswork as often as we use hard data” to measure marketing efforts
- Only 15 percent said they have a “good idea of how much we get from our marketing investments”
Additionally, the “majority of marketers (51 percent) in an Experian[i] survey use simplistic or inaccurate forms of marketing attribution… or use none at all,” writes Jeffrey Pilcher, CEO/President and Publisher of the Financial Brand.
This is a huge problem for marketing departments within financial institutions. How can you expect to deliver out-of-this-world results to prove your worth if you don’t know how?
When you purchase a product, you expect it to be complete. Just imagine if Big Macs suddenly had no special sauce, if iPhones couldn’t download apps or Campbell’s chicken and noodle soup was just noodles. There would be riots in the streets.
When it comes to your company’s website, however, it’s much harder to say when it’s done. Why? Because just like your business, your website should continue to grow and evolve. I’d even go so far as to say your website is a living organism, and should be given as much attention as a beloved family pet.
“But I don’t have time!” you say.
If you own a brick and mortar business, you likely know and comply with the existing building standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recent developments in ADA regulations will now include websites as part of Title III of the ADA. This change means your company website(s) will soon be legally required to comply with a set of standards called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).
Website accessibility elements that will be mandated by 2018 for privately held companies fall into two groups: visual and functional. Visual accessibility includes the areas of your website that may make it difficult to navigate for people who are totally blind, suffer from color blindness, or have light sensitivity. When testing your site for visual accessibility, perform inspections that reveal color contrast in addition to evaluating readability on key action items.
By Matt Cunard, Sr. Digital Marketer, and Mariah Holmes, Financial Marketing Intern
Who ultimately owns your brand? Is it the CEO? Maybe the marketing and public relations departments? What about your frontline teller staff? Nope, nope, and nope. The owners of your brand are your customers. Your institution runs on the needs and wants of your customers, and their experiences with your bank play a major role in your mutual success.
Let me paint you a picture of two banks, each with the intention of providing the best service, but going about it in two different ways.
Google AdWords, Google’s online advertising platform, is undergoing a major overhaul. Yesterday Google announced exciting changes for the realm of online advertising. These new innovations will be implemented to online advertisers throughout 2016 and 2017. Be on the look-out for these key updates:
- Expanded text advertising for all devices.
- Dynamic display ads that adapt to the best format for different webpage designs.
- Separate bid adjustments for desktop, tablet, and mobile platforms.
- Advanced local advertising capabilities through Google Maps and Google search engine.
- A newly designed layout for the AdWords platform.
- Improved online-to-offline traffic measurement.
To keep your business relevant in this world of technology, it is imperative to stay on top of industry news and prepare for changes before they happen. VGM Forbin is committed to helping our clients stay ahead of the game with up-to-date knowledge and continual education.
Tomorrow, in our follow-up post, several of our team members will share the changes they are the most enthusiastic about and how it will benefit our clients. Stay tuned for more!
When you first find out you’re going to a huge marketing conference in Las Vegas, a lot of thoughts flood through your mind. Many of them have nothing to do with marketing.
It was going to be my first time in Vegas, and I had no idea what to expect. Would I get sucked into a high stakes poker game, eventually taking home the grand prize, or find myself dubiously stumbling into a mob-affiliated situation in which I’d end up buried out in the desert?
As of writing this, my checking account is not flush with cash, and I’m still breathing.
But all kidding aside, the Financial Brand Forum was a bit like a poker game at an actual casino for me: I’d played before, but never at this high a level. It was unlike any other conference I’ve been to, not just because of the location, but in how well it was run and the level of speakers they brought in.
As the conference went on, I realized the current financial marketing climate is a bit like a game of poker, and we’re sitting with some very different and interesting characters: Millennials, mobile and our approach to marketing in general. Here’s how you can get to know these players and their tendencies to work with them instead of against them.
Matt Cunard, Senior Digital Marketer
April was Community Bankers Month, during which my colleagues and I had a lot of different interactions with clients, prospects and fellow financial marketers. The same phrase kept popping up in conversations: “We know we need to do more.” We heard it on the phone with clients, in person at sales presentations and from numerous marketers at the Iowa Bankers Association Marketing Conference last week.
And not everyone’s “more” meant the same thing. For some, “more” meant engaging on social media or working on search engine optimization, while others wanted to expand their online presence or run targeted campaigns. But the key was that all of the “mores” we heard dealt with online marketing.
Matt Cunard, Sr. Digital Marketer, VGM Forbin
“How can we help our customers achieve a higher marketing ROI?” In our planning for the Iowa Bankers Association Marketing Conference next week, myself and other members of our team have asked this question many times. Even though we aren’t bankers, we know challenges exist for bank marketing teams in regard to ROI.
The Financial Brand’s 2016 Financial Marketing survey revealed telling statistics showing how both senior marketing and non-marketing officers in community banks and credit unions view the connection between marketing efforts and ROI:
- Measuring Marketing ROI: 96 percent of marketing executives said it is at least a minor challenge (46 percent said major challenge, 50 percent said minor challenge); 90 percent of non-marketing execs stated it was at least a minor challenge (60 percent major challenge, 30 minor challenge).
- Quantifying Marketing’s Impact: 47 percent of marketing executives said it was a struggle; 66 percent of non-marketing executives agreed.
- Establishing Marketing ROI: 69 percent of marketing execs said their organization could do better, with 59 percent of non-marketing executives saying the same.
With that in mind, we came up with the four questions below to get the wheels turning on how to link marketing investments with strong results your C-suite executives will adore you for.
Matt Cunard, Senior Digital Marketer
How familiar does the following scenario sound?
Your bank just wrapped up its latest product or service campaign. You meet with executive staff to go over the results, but you’re having a bit of difficulty. You didn’t have the tools in place to measure your campaign, so there aren’t any definitive results to stand on. However, you did the best you could with the shoestring budget you were given.
The result is a meeting that is a little awkward and leaves your upper management’s confidence in you shaken and you feeling more than a little anxious.
If you’ve experienced this situation, you’re not alone. All across the country, community banks are having the same three issues when it comes to their marketing according to the Financial Brand’s 2016 Financial Marketing Trends Report:
1. Measuring performance and/or proving results (ROI)
2. Limited access to data analytics tools & reporting
3. Budget constraints
Knowing your marketing pain points is one thing; figuring out solutions is another. To find success, it is crucial for you to look outside the traditional marketing box, both strategically and tactically. Think outside newspaper ads, radio spots and billboards, and shift your gaze to a medium that can be specifically targeted, is highly measurable and cost-effective: online marketing.
Today’s internet revolves around scrolling for more content, making “above the fold” design a development standard of the past.
To say that website design has come a long way from the 1990s and early 2000s is an understatement.
The last 15 years have produced a cycle of new innovations and design trends, with most falling by the wayside. Today, “modern” design is clean, simple and minimal, with only the necessities available. However, this wasn’t always the case.
Working with as many financial institutions as we have in past five years, we’ve redesigned a lot of websites that were originally designed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and they all have a few basic things in common.
First, they don’t use the whole width of modern screen sizes to their advantage. Second, and most importantly to the point of this blog post, most are designed using the outdated concept of “above the fold” design.