The Big Picture: Banks Today Are Demanding More of Their Marketers, and the Curriculum of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management Is Evolving to Keep Up with These Trends: An Interview with Dr. James Donnelly Jr., CFMP

ABA Bank Marketing, April 2004 | Go to article overview

The Big Picture: Banks Today Are Demanding More of Their Marketers, and the Curriculum of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management Is Evolving to Keep Up with These Trends: An Interview with Dr. James Donnelly Jr., CFMP


To get an update on the emerging trends in the bank marketing industry, Marketing Edge recently interviewed Dr. James H. Donnelly Jr., CFMP, academic dean of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management (SOBSMM), Boulder, Colo.

What are the current trends in bank marketing?

Something that is apparent in the school's curriculum is that both the breadth and depth of what a marketer needs to know is increasing. For example, file impact of marketing technology will be significant. Competencies in new-product development and management will be critical along with continued product proliferation. Cultivating and maintaining client relationships will move beyond the talking stage in many banks. If that is not enough, many bank marketers will finally seek to master marketing's role in asset/liability management and measure the return on marketing expenditures.

How does this compare to the trends when you initially became dean of the school?

There is a big difference. At that time bank marketers were primarily tacticians. Marketing was new to banking and bank marketers. Most bank marketers came from outside the industry, primarily from advertising and promotion positions. They believed with a passion that their job was to teach bankers to be marketers. It wasn't until much later, and after much frustration, that they realized it could not happen in a real way until they learned something about banking.

Today's bank marketer wants a central role beyond managing advertising and promotion and to be a contributing member of the senior management team. The entire mission and curriculum of the school has evolved to prepare them for the responsibilities and challenges that this entails. Today, most marketers are hankers. In fact, several years ago we changed the name of the school from the ABA School of Bank Marketing to the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management to reflect file change in the school's mission and curriculum.

How has the curriculum changed ever the years?

It has moved away from being a more marrow-focused educational program for marketing technicians to a true marketing-management professional development program. The school seeks to educate batik marketers for today as well as for tomorrow. In other words, the school assists the bank marketer in being a more effective professional today, and it helps prepare the bank marketer for the challenges later in his or her career. Finally, the school takes a "bankwide view" seeking to integrate marketing into the mainstream of banking. Consequently, the curriculum includes both marketing as well as bank management course content.

Why should lees invest money in sending bank market, lets to the school?

I have always said (probably too often) that businesses must continually ask and answer two questions of strategy. I refer to them as the "what" questions of the business. They are: What products should we make? What markets should we serve? These questions have never changed and never will. And they can only be answered at the highest levels of the organization. …

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