You may already know the importance of a marketing plan: It’s the great way to ensure the full management team at your financial institution is in sync with how the organization’s business goals will be accomplished. But how do you craft that marketing plan efficiently and effectively?
Effective marketers follow a reliable process that allows them to strategically address top priorities. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your institution’s marketing is focused on the right initiatives:
UNDERSTAND THE STRATEGIC GOALS
The process starts with your financial institution’s current strategic plan, where corporate objectives are identified and the organization’s direction is established. Understanding these focal points allows you to align with executive management on key initiatives.
EXAMINE YOUR BUDGET
Since the budget not only contains the amount of marketing spend for the upcoming year but also growth targets for your products and services, you can determine whether anticipated growth is aggressive or more typical for specific products. Brainstorm ways that marketing may assist the various departments in achieving their growth objectives.
PRIORITIZE MARKETING OBJECTIVES
Knowing what your financial institution’s focus will be allows you to begin prioritizing objectives. List the two or three top goals and begin to allocate the budget accordingly. They’ll get a larger part of your budget. Will growing commercial loans by 10% take precedence over a HELOC promotion? Now’s the time to decide.
EVALUATE FACTORS THAT WILL AFFECT MARKETING SUCCESS
Before developing your marketing plan, take a hard look at factors that could have an impact on your marketing success. Here are just a few areas to consider:
- How well did your institution perform on last year’s objectives? If it didn’t do well, was it the market, your personnel, or your approach?
- If your corporate goals are the same this year as last year (e.g., grow commercial loans 10%), how can you improve upon last year’s results? What worked and what didn’t work? Why?
- Are your products competitive in structure and price? Ask around, and talk with friends and business owners who don’t bank with your institution.
EXAMINE YOUR MARKETS’ PERSONALITIES
Develop an understanding of your markets from a product propensity viewpoint. For instance, if you want to grow your home equity loan portfolio by 5%, you likely won’t see 5% growth in every market. Because your markets may differ, your approach and use of channels could be different.
DEVELOP A CHANNEL STRATEGY
You likely won’t have enough time or budget to connect with prospects and clients on every available marketing channel. Use your market knowledge to choose the right channels for each service and audience. Create a calendar for the upcoming year. List each product and promotion by channel and month. Input the estimated costs, and see where you land relative to budget. Tweak as necessary.
ESTABLISH A MEASUREMENT STRATEGY
Your marketing plan should include a strategy for understanding how well your plan is working. List the key performance indicators that will tell you how effective your marketing activities will be. Determine how those data points will be gathered and by whom. Measuring the performance of each initiative often will give you the ability to make adjustments, if needed, that could help boost performance.
Admittedly, this is a high-level review of the process for creating an effective marketing plan. Hopefully, these points will help you craft a focused marketing plan designed to help your financial institution achieve measurable business goals.
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