5 Key Takeaways for Financial Marketing & Communications


This month, I attended the Fall conference of the New England Financial Marketing Association (NEFMA). As always with this organization, the conference was a great chance to hear from engaging and thoughtful speakers, check in with colleagues, and head back to the office with lots of good ideas. With that in mind, here are five key takeaways from the conference:


Collect and use data to help your organization with marketing ROI. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand how collecting and measuring data will help your organization to succeed, especially if you’re working with a limited budget and resources. But especially these days, data is paramount. Banks and credit unions need to be measuring the results of their marketing—all the way down to the micro of social media and up to the macro of brand awareness studies among banking consumers in the market areas they serve. In the digital age, it is becoming easier and easier to measure the value at each customer touchpoint in the marketing funnel.


Engage your community through social media. How does one go from being persona non grata in their local community to being a community rock star? Just ask Jill Castilla, CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond. I’m not joking. Castilla was tasked with taking over and turning around a community bank that was in big trouble. She had to make some difficult decisions that the community wasn’t too happy with at the beginning, but understanding the value of engaging with the community regularly and with transparency, Castilla managed to win over the community and create success—not only for the bank, but for the community it serves.


Communicate openly and transparently with your employees during times of transition. Dena Hall of United Bank and Elizabeth Mach of Berkshire Bank gave a great presentation regarding how to successfully handle mergers and acquisitions, and the key takeaway here was communication, communication, communication. Is that three takeaways? Employees are your brand ambassadors and one of your biggest assets, so being sure to include them in decisions and keeping them informed during the transition are key ways to ensure success.


Make it more and more about the customer experience. There is so much disruption occurring within financial services, this is crucial. Banking consumers, especially younger ones, are finding alternative ways to conduct their banking, and that is likely to continue. As Koen Vanderhoydonk of Euroclear noted, we’re already seeing Google dip its toes into banking in Europe. Banks and credit unions need to be looking for ways to be a part of the innovation in banking, implementing a true digital platform that integrates all touchpoints from back office to front office, establishing digital partnerships where necessary in order to provide the services consumers expect, and offering more of an experience and relationship with consumers, for example, through “phygital” banking—a blend of physical and digital, balancing the convenience of offering a digital journey with a human touch, and with access to people at crucial points in the customer journey.


With disruption, fail quickly. This is a great one, especially because it mirrors a takeaway from an education conference I attended last year (the engaging NAIS conference), and it’s always a great sign to see some parallels across industries. Entrepreneurs know this one, but larger and more traditional organizations need to be quicker about learning it as well. And they need to support their employees—or “intrapreneurs”—when they task them with disruption or creative problem-solving.


— posted by Jeff