Imagine trying to recruit top marketing talent without the help of HR, or implementing a new CRM system without the skills and abilities of your IT department. To be effective, marketing needs to be supported by a strong network of internal partnerships.
This is especially true for bank marketing. In fact, the ability to develop strong internal relationships is a key trait that separates highly strategic bank marketing organizations from their peers, according to research by banking and technology consulting firm Cornerstone Advisors.
In its survey of senior bank marketing executives, Cornerstone found that while most bank marketing organizations have strong relationships with their internal customers (i.e., product lines), the banks with the highest strategic impact also have strong relationships with their fellow support functions, like IT, accounting/finance and human resources.
Here are some tips on how to build internal relationships that support your strategic impact goals without distracting you from your primary role as a marketing department.
Speak the Language of Your Peers
Cornerstone found that a weak point in many low-impact marketing departments’ internal relationships is with other support departments—not the lines of business. John Hanley, senior vice president of marketing at Equity Bank, advises banks to speak the language of those functions and, “Talk to IT, know how vendor relationships work, and know how to negotiate. Go to IT and offer them something of value.”
Joann Marsilli, senior vice president, marketing and digital sales at Fidelity Bank, says she’s amazed at how many marketing directors don’t see sales reports or can’t translate them into revenue numbers. She says too many marketers prefer to be right-brained (i.e., creative), which inhibits conversations with Finance and Accounting.
And Old National’s Ryan commented that marketing’s relationship with compliance grew stronger after her department recognized and embraced that “customer relationship management is a risk management function.”
Use Centralized Systems for Bank-Wide Impact
Bank marketing is often focused on telling the brand’s story to external audiences. But, marketing needs to convey a story internally as well, in order to change executives’ perceptions of the department and its contribution to the overall success of the organization. One way to develop marketing’s internal story is by using centralized systems to become more proactive in addressing the marketing-related needs of support functions.
One of Vya’s banking industry clients was able to achieve bank-wide impact with its centralized marketing resources management system. Beyond marketing, the system benefited departments and functions in a variety of ways, such as:
- Decreased the number of invoices sent to Accounts Payable
- Reduced the burden on Compliance
- Reduced exposure for Risk Management
- Recruiting benefit and improved onboarding support for HR
- Less storage required from IT
- Reduced waste and less warehousing for Procurement
Consider these examples for using a centralized system to benefit departments across your banking organization.
- Human Resources. House customizable assets on a marketing resource management system to provide branded materials to HR. Assets can be grouped into kits to support employee recruiting, onboarding, training and recognition.
- Building Services. Incorporate signage into the set of assets managed within the system.
- Establish print-on-demand functionality to reduce requirements for warehouse space.
- Accounts Payable. Integrating budget management and spend tracking in a marketing resource management system reduces the number of invoices sent to Accounts Payable.
- Community Relations. Manage requests and approvals for CRA components, like spend and volunteer hours, within a centralized system simplifying ongoing tracking by location. Donation requests are processed through the system, which also stores all the relevant paperwork.
As a marketing department, your focus is rightfully on your customer. But keep in mind that your customers are not all external. The bank marketing organizations with the greatest strategic impact take the time to see things from the perspective of other departments across their institutions. This has led many to discover how centralized systems that automate and streamline operations for marketing can also address the priorities of other departments and functions.
Developing internal relationships is just one of five key traits identified by Cornerstone that distinguish bank marketing organizations with the greatest strategic impact. For details on all of these traits and other findings from Cornerstone’s bank marketing survey, download the report, “Making Marketing Strategic: How Marketing Can Improve Its Strategic Contribution in Mid-Size Financial Institutions.”