Marketing organizations at many financial institutions continue to struggle to participate in—and influence—the strategic decision-making processes in their organizations. This is a recurring theme in our discussions with clients, which is why we often examine it on this blog (see Bank Marketing’s Strategic Impact and Future Ready Bank Marketing).
At Vya, we’ve seen how marketing can contribute to a bank’s strategic success. Marketing bridges a bank’s strategic direction and daily execution, with a keen understanding of what matters to today’s banking customers.
A new report by banking and technology consulting firm Cornerstone Advisors sheds light on what influences marketing’s role in a banking organization. Making Marketing Strategic: How Marketing Can Improve Its Strategic Contribution In Mid-Size Financial Institutions suggests that while there are a number of factors inhibiting marketing departments from being more “strategic,” there are two dimensions that influence marketing’s role in many banks:
- Does the senior management team view Marketing as a meaningful contributor to strategy-making?
- Is Marketing able to be a meaningful contributor to strategy-making?
One factor that we’ve observed that impacts both of these dimensions of influence is that many bank marketing organizations have not fully rebounded from the challenges of 10 years ago, when budgets were slashed, departments downsized, and marketing was forced to become more focused on day-to-day tasks, and less on longer-term strategy. Despite economic recovery, the task-driven mindset has not fully shifted back to a more strategic approach. The Cornerstone report reflects this reality, with respondents explaining they have had to work hard to ensure marketing is seen as more than an “order taker.”
Influencing Your Marketing Department’s Influence
So how can you move your marketing organization up the scale of influence? We recommend you start by looking at how your marketing team invests its time. In the Cornerstone report, more than half of respondents admitted they are not spending enough time on marketing strategy development and planning (57%) and corporate strategy development and planning (57%).
If you can identify how you’re spending your time, you can take steps to make improvements. Look critically at how time is spent and focus on what’s important so you can better call out activities, like low-impact meetings.
How do you find the time for areas that need more time? Of course, automation is one way to improve efficiencies. Marketing resource management (MRM) is an effective way to create capacity. But make sure you’re not merely filling that capacity with more tasks.
This all points to the need to work from a strategic plan. Without a plan, marketing ends up spending more time reacting, changing direction and resetting. The Cornerstone report indicates about 80% of high-impact institutions do have a written marketing plan, which contrasts with only 57% of moderate-impact institutions and 53% of low-impact institutions. A marketing plan is an important tool for convincing your institution to trust marketing and view it as a strategic contributor to the institution’s overall success.
Summer Reading for Bank Marketers
If you’re a bank marketer looking for some worthwhile summer reading, Making Marketing Strategic should be on your list. The report identifies the processes, technologies, internal relationships, and other organizational factors that characterize marketing departments with strong strategic impact and influence in their organizations. Download it for free here, compliments of Vya.