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Matt Cunard, Sr. Digital Marketer, VGM Forbin

"How can we help our customers achieve a higher marketing ROI?” In our planning for the Iowa Bankers Association Marketing Conference next week, myself and other members of our team have asked this question many times. Even though we aren’t bankers, we know challenges exist for bank marketing teams in regard to ROI.  

The Financial Brand’s 2016 Financial Marketing survey revealed telling statistics showing how both senior marketing and non-marketing officers in community banks and credit unions view the connection between marketing efforts and ROI:

  • Measuring Marketing ROI: 96 percent of marketing executives said it is at least a minor challenge (46 percent said major challenge, 50 percent said minor challenge); 90 percent of non-marketing execs stated it was at least a minor challenge (60 percent major challenge, 30 minor challenge).
  • Quantifying Marketing’s Impact: 47 percent of marketing executives said it was a struggle; 66 percent of non-marketing executives agreed.
  • Establishing Marketing ROI: 69 percent of marketing execs said their organization could do better, with 59 percent of non-marketing executives saying the same.

With that in mind, we came up with the four questions below to get the wheels turning on how to link marketing investments with strong results your C-suite executives will adore you for.    

Are you targeting specifically or targeting everyone (a.k.a. no one)?

So often the thought of marketing campaigns is “How many people can we get this in front of?” I’m here to tell this is misguided thinking. It’s not about how much traffic/impressions/views you get, but about the quality of those viewing your message. The targeting available through online marketing platforms allows you to aim at those most likely to act on the message you’re sending.   There must be a shift in thinking in how you target for your campaigns if you want an ROI worth anything.  

Are your marketing campaigns cutting edge or only cutting into your budget?

Here’s the trouble with traditional market techniques (print, radio, TV): they eat into your budgets like crazy. Online provides a different option, as campaigns can be customized to both the results desired and budget available. Online marketing efforts can be as complex or simple as needed, and give far greater measurability than the three other mediums (more on that in a moment). And since you’re targeting only those who are most likely to act on your message, you don’t have to worry about producing enough materials to blast it out to everyone within shouting distance, saving you money.  

Are you engaging with your target audience or waiting for them to engage with you?

“Field of Dreams” popularized the notion that if you build something, people will automatically gravitate toward it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the high-tech, fast-paced, so-many-options-your-head-spins world we live in works. You have to get your message in front of your target audience where they are daily. Online, that means on search engines, social media and other apps and websites they visit throughout the day.  

A majority of your budget when looking at a campaign should be about getting your message in front of your target audience on the channel they use the most, not solely on developing the coolest marketing piece known to man.  

Are your marketing initiatives measurable or simply not measuring up?

This is the failing point for most bank marketing departments. You have a specific audience targeted, you’ve worked out the budget and know where your message needs to go. But do you have the measurement tools in place to go back to your CEO and CFO in three to six months and say with confidence that this campaign was a success?  

The tools for measurement are out there, and range from free to low and medium cost. It may take research or additional help from a professional to ensure they are set up properly, but it is worth it to have concrete results to take back to your executives.  

Online marketing done well is not free. It is an expense just like any other form of marketing or advertising. However, the difference is that it is highly measurable, targetable and cost efficient when compared to traditional marketing practices, factors which I can guarantee your C-level executives care about greatly.  

If you happen to be attending the IBA Marketing Conference, I hope you’ll take the time to drop by our booth to discuss any of the above questions with us. If you’re not attending or are a banker from another state, you can always get in touch with Donny Wilson, Senior Sales Leader of our Financial Division.

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