Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

Watch the Elephants; Ignore the Ants

Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

Watch the Elephants; Ignore the Ants

Article excerpt

A FORMER COLLEAGUE OF MINE once commented that marketers should avoid "stomping on the ant while the elephants are charging over the walls? What he meant was that since marketing includes virtually everything a banking company does, the key to success is to identify and focus on the few critical things that make a difference.

Our friend Dr. Jim Donnelly makes the same point when he says to separate offerings between "dissatisfiers" and "satisfies." Dissatisfiers are those elements that are basically one-dimensional utilities with no ability to thrill customers--i.e., you either have them or you don't. Satisfiers, on the other hand, are those where you can differentiate your offering by unique and desirable features.

For example, you either have drive-up ATMs at your branches or you don't; you either have safe deposit boxes in your branches or you don't; or you either send combined statements or you don't. This isn't to say you couldn't come up with better branch-deployed ATMs (better lighting at night) or safe deposit boxes (locker sizes with alarms), it is just that customers may not envision these enhancements as anything very exciting and, therefore, won't give you extra credit for the money you spend to promote them. They are just expected. Spending your precious time and money on these is "stomping on the ants."

Inventory your marketing mix

As you build your strategic marketing plan, have your team inventory all of the components of your marketing mix into those that really separate you from the competition--your elephants--and those where your offerings are pretty much like everybody else's--your ants.

Do you have any unique products or product features, like PDA or smartphone balance alerts, that you can make uniquely yours with creative promotion? How long will this differentiation last? So many products today are driven by technology or business partners that it is increasingly bard to come up with something both unique and powerful. …

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