The beauty of a community bank…is that it is all about the community. Typically your board of directors and staff are all part of your banking communities. Together you have invested in your communities, built your careers in your communities and raised your families in your communities. So, it is only logical that your entire Bank collectively puts on your community bank marketing hat and helps grow your Bank.
Today, reaching out to your friends, family and business leaders (your centers of influence) to build and strengthen your relationships is a powerful dimension of marketing. In the past, you might try mass marketing with radio, TV and newspaper advertising, along with printing a lot of brochures, to bring in your customers. It’s always easier to advertise and hand out materials and hope someone will call you. But, times have changed drastically.
First, our industry is being challenged by our economic crisis. Initially, the big banks were getting the bad press. Today, it’s not unusual for the media to question the stability of community banks in Michigan and across the country. There has never been a better time to build confidence in community banking than now. Therefore, as Dave Firack, chairman of the MACB in 2008-09, commented at the MACB Convention this year — we need to proceed with caution, confidence and optimism.
Second, the competition is too fierce; you can never depend on your customers to just drop by because they saw an ad…unless you are advertising hot/CD money. There are too many hungry sales people from larger banks and credit unions pounding the pavement for good business and dumping the not-so-good business.
Third, your marketing budget is a precious resource. You don’t have the luxury of running mass marketing campaigns…again hoping the customers you want will come to you. In addition, many of your target markets have given up reading papers, watching television ads or even listening to radio ads.
Finally, and most importantly, you simply have to be smarter. You have to decide who you want as your customers and use your centers of influence and marketing strategies to reach out to them. Your marketing has to be thoughtful, targeted and personal.
Now is the time to plan for an exciting and successful 2010. And we can help.