Marketing Technology: If You Had $1 to Spend, Where Would You Put It? (Special Advertising Section: Executive Summary)

Article excerpt

Marketing has never been an easy discipline - part art, part science, characterized as soft and fluffy; and the first area to be cut when times are tough. When competing with other areas of the bank for technology dollars, marketing is likewise expected to show a return on investment. Given a limited budget, where are your marketing technology dollars best spent? As a community bank, what should your priorities be? If you had $1 to spend on marketing technology, where should you put it?

Bank marketing today is more than the back office domain of a marketing person or small department. Most community bankers face a different problem: how to enable their employees to be more effective marketers. Unlike mass media and direct mail, marketing in a community bank revolves around service. Providing superior service enables banks to market themselves through the delivery of that service. The goal is to translate routine service interactions into selling opportunities.

In an ideal world, you would build a solution that combined the best of back office and front office marketing-related technologies. Back-office marketing technologies include data warehouses and data marts, marketing customer information files (MCIFs), and profitability systems. Front office marketing, defined here as customer relationship management (CRM), includes customer profiling, contact management, call center, campaign management, and sales force automation technologies. But in the real world, your budget is limited, and a choice must be made.

Turning Marketing Technology Decisions Inside Out

For the community bank, the smartest marketing technology expenditure may start in the front office, for two key reasons:

* Back office marketing functions, including householding, segmenting, predictive modeling, and profitability analysis, have not fulfilled their promises for the majority of community banks.

*Community banks should start working from a position of strength "the bank employees' customer knowledge and ingrained service culture" and leverage this existing expertise and insight.

As a community bank, you have lots of customer information residing in your back office systems. But it hasn't been getting to your customer-facing employees in a way they can view and act on it. Your employees need direct customer marketing tools that enable them to better understand their customers' financial buying needs; effectively communicate product and service offerings; and successfully track and, follow up on all sales opportunities. …