Bank Marketers: Charting a Path to Strategic Impact

Mar 01, 2018

Kandi O'Connor

Bank Strategy Blog_600pxwide (002).jpgIn its 2018 Banking Outlook report, Deloitte’s Center for Financial Services talks about the multiple challenges banks face as they aim to transform into “more strategically focused, technologically modern and operationally agile institutions.” Among the challenges Deloitte identifies are: complex and diverging regulations, legacy systems, disruptive models and technologies, new competitors, and an often-restive customer base with ever-higher expectations.

 In this transformational environment, marketing’s strategic input is essential. For this reason, inviting marketing to the strategic planning table is smart. Marketing bridges a bank’s strategic direction and daily execution, with a keen understanding of what matters to today’s banking customers.

 But marketing isn’t always invited to join the strategic process, according to financial services strategic consultant Mark Gibson, who wrote, “…for every marketing head who ‘sits at the table,’ there are just as many who don’t—and have to learn about their banks’ decisions and programs secondhand.”

 A number of common hurdles can get in the way of marketing’s strategic contribution, like having to deal with the relentless volume of administrative and execution tasks. But there are ways to overcome such challenges.

 Here are some steps CMOs and their marketing teams can take to become more strategic and ultimately earn a role in the bank’s strategic process. 

  • Assess tactical processes to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. Many bank marketers are bogged down with administrative and execution tasks, leaving little time for strategic efforts. To overcome the relentless flood of requests from the field, start by taking a critical look at marketing workflows in order to identify adjustments that can optimize operations and reduce tactical inefficiencies.
  • Adopt technologies that can help reduce time and attention focused on mundane tasks to free up staff for more strategic efforts. Community bank WesBanco implemented a marketing resource management (MRM) solution which enabled a 75 percent reduction in administrative tasks. This allowed WesBanco to reallocate marketing staff to proactive campaigns that help the organization grow for the future.
  • Adopt a partnership approach. The most successful marketing teams are those that become partners with the other departments in their organizations – from sales, compliance and risk management to IT, HR, procurement and accounting. Rather than simply handing off marketing materials for departments to use, successful marketers sit down with their colleagues and make sure they understand the purpose of new marketing materials and campaigns to ensure everyone is getting the maximum value from them.
  • Develop strategic contributors. Marketing leaders who can step outside of the daily task grind and step up to the strategic planning table are unique. Building a talented and motivated team that you trust is one important factor for CMOs who are able to stay focused on strategic initiatives.

 Map Your Strategy for Becoming More Strategic

 If your bank already includes marketing in the strategic process, congratulations. You can count yourself among those who are best positioned to succeed in today’s fast-changing banking industry.

 But if your organization isn’t quite there yet, consider the latest tools, technologies and best practices that can help you become more focused on strategic initiatives. If you work smarter, for example, by partnering with other departments and by automating and streamlining essential administrative and execution tasks, you can have the type of company-wide impact that can earn you a place at the strategic planning table.

 To learn more about how WesBanco transitioned from tactically focused to strategically driven, click here to download the full case study.

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