Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
Blog Home All Blogs
Welcome to the NEFMA Blog! Here you can access a wealth of insightful articles about what's going on in our industry as well as stay up-to-date with all things NEFMA. You can also join in the conversation by commenting on posts.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: spotlight  conference  social media  NEFMA News  facebook  media  media buying  mobile banking  new logo  relationship  segmentation  target marketing  adwords  budgeting  cliff house  commercial banking  commercial services  community involvement  compliance  consumer behavior  content  contests  direct mail  fall  Fall 14  fees  foursquare  market reseacrh  market research  mcif 

10 Business Banking Essentials

Posted By NEFMA, Thursday, March 27, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Small businesses have long been a vital part of the U.S. economy and a symbol of the American dream. But, during the past few years, small business owners have faced their fair share of challenges – from dealing with a sluggish economy and lackluster consumer confidence to skyrocketing healthcare and benefit costs. Combine all of these factors with increased regulatory scrutiny, tight credit and an uncertain economic future, and you have a small business environment in which only the strong will survive.

The good news? All of this presents an excellent opportunity for community banks and credit unions.

Community financial institutions have long been instrumental to the success of small businesses. Now, more than ever, community banks and credit unions, with the right bundle of services, cannot only bolster the health of their small business customers, but increase loyalty and grow fee income in the process. If these time-strapped owners can come to your institution for the full complement of services they need to succeed, you will earn their trust, their business and reap the long-term financial benefits.

Attached is a D+H white paper that explains the 10 services you need to become the institution of choice for the small business community.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  commercial services  small business 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Ben Franklin’s Idea Is Still a Good One

Posted By Charlie Gross, Senior Vice President WordCom, Friday, March 21, 2014

What we all know today as the US Postal Service dates back to one of our most famous founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin.  He saw a need to help the original 13 colonies communicate with each other.  In 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed him the first postmaster general.

In all the years that have followed, the basic premise has remained the same.  For just a few pennies, a message will be delivered to any entity with an address.

Electronic communications conveniences introduced over the last two decades have certainly brought a dramatic reduction in the volume of mail.  However, financial marketers still recognize the fact that as a communications medium, direct mail is still a very cost-effective way to reach both customers and prospects alike.

In fact, because mail volumes have declined significantly, it’s much easier to make an impression in anyone’s mailbox these days compared to just a few years ago.  And with the mail, messaging efforts won’t be thwarted by SPAM filters, easily ignored by web site clutter or the DVR, all of which can be formidable obstacles to success when using electronic media.

Using direct mail is simple.  There are only three variables: the offer, the list and the creative presentation.  Seasoned direct mail marketers recognize that chances of success are greatly enhanced if you get the first two correct.  A competitive offer to a targeted list will deliver good results.  Creative should be attractive and display the brand in a positive light however, it just doesn’t carry the same weight as the offer and the mailing list.

In recent years, there have been exciting advances in database technology that provide mailers with many new selection opportunities.  Demographic enhancements, transaction pattern analysis, credit profiles and predictive models are some of the tools that are available to both large volume and small volume mailers.  And that’s how cost-efficiencies are realized.  It’s all about getting the highest return for the smallest expense.  Modern targeting techniques help increase the odds that the message will reach motivated buyers without excess waste.

Technology has improved on the production side too.  Advances in the equipment used for printing and assembly of direct mail mean more flexibility.  Design ideas that could not be produced a few years ago are a reality today.

The most compelling reason to include direct mail in your marketing efforts is that every mailing can be tracked for effectiveness.  A thorough campaign analysis includes direct open rates (a count of openings for the actual product featured in the offer), indirect open rates (all the other things that the target audience opened), lift over control (when testing a new list, offer, or creative format), and an ROI calculation that shows if the project made money after all the expenses are tallied.

In today’s fast-paced environment, “snail mail” might seem as relevant as the telegraph.  But the post office isn’t going away any time soon.  Rock on, Ben Franklin!

Tags:  direct mail  target marketing 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Winter Conference Re-Cap

Posted By NEFMA, Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014

In January, around 100 financial marketers braved frigid temperatures to attend NEFMA’s Winter Conference in Woodstock, Vermont. The harsh weather was quickly forgotten upon arrival at the charming Woodstock Inn, where a roaring fire greeted guests.

 Many NEFMA members who arrived early Thursday headed to the nearby town of Quechee for a guided tour of the Simon Pearce glassware plant. Thursday evening, attendees gathered for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Networking Reception, immediately followed by dinner in the Woodstock Inn’s main dining room.  During dinner, guest speaker Clay Adams, CEO of Simon Pearce, delivered a fascinating account of his experience managing a luxury brand through rapid growth and diversification.

Friday’s conference program began with breakfast and a welcome address from NEFMA President, Bill Dewitt. The morning sessions covered a broad range of marketing topics including market research, compliance, and event planning. First up was “Getting to Know Your Customers,” a detailed look at several research techniques that every marketer should be familiar with. The “Compliant Sales and Marketing Strategies” presentation went deep into the intricacies of UDAAP regulations and how to avoid common compliance issues. “Event Planning Essentials” rounded out the early sessions with some innovative approaches to creating successful customer events.

After lunch, keynote speaker Ted Rosen presented “How to Stop Selling Products and Start Building Relationships.” As president of Expert Business Development LLC ,  Ted specializes in helping financial service providers build strong relationships.  His session demonstrated his thorough knowledge of relationship building techniques, as he shared many useful insights on designing internal processes and effective sales training.

Tags:  conference 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Getting Your Bankers to Stop Selling Products and Start Building Relationships

Posted By Theodore A. Rosen, President, Expert Business Development, LLC, Thursday, January 16, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 10, 2014

Traditionally, banking has focused heavily on responding to customers and prospects in an effort to fulfill their needs. This reactive model grew out of the concept of the bank branch as the primary source of leads and business development opportunities. A customer or prospect would wander into the branch and a Customer Service Representative (CSR) would provide the ideal or optimal solution. Even dealing with small to midsize businesses, bankers were generally reactive as opposed to proactive.

In the world of commercial banking, the traditional Commercial Real Estate (CRE), bankers were similarly reactive. When a builder or developer had a project or a "deal” they chased it down and did their best to convert it to a sale. Those bankers focusing on the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) market, on the other hand, had to be much more relationship-oriented to develop and retain customers. Today, these skills are in great demand.

Over the last two decades, the world has changed. For a variety of reasons, including the rise of electronic banking and intense pressure from non-traditional bank (e.g., Ally, ING, Schwab) and non-bank (e.g., Costco, Walmart, AAA) competitors, consumers and businesses have a lot of alternatives to banks with bricks and mortar in their community. These competitors, along with the huge money center banks, can offer customers products and technology that would create a competitive challenge for any community bank.

"Often bankers who are traditionally product-focused fail to recognize that, with small and midsize businesses, relationship can almost always trump products."

Since community banks will never be able to outperform their large competitors based on branches or products, the one way that they can most effectively compete is by providing service and creating relationships. To further corroborate this notion, all one has to do is listen to the feedback that my colleagues receive every day. My firm’s primary business is commercial relationship building. In that context we make over 5,000 appointments each year for bankers to meet with business owners and CFOs who might be actively seeking or at least open to a new banking relationship. We usually get feedback from the decision-makers as to what their issues or concerns are regarding their current bank. The overwhelming majority express disappointment in a relationship that is either nonexistent or not very good.

In helping our bank clients build commercial relationships for the last 20 years, we have found that the key to building business relationships is understanding that they are fundamentally similar to personal relationships. Specifically, they must be earned and are not automatically created, even when the bank is already doing business with a customer. Often bankers who are traditionally product-focused fail to recognize that, with small and midsize businesses, relationship can almost always trump products. Business relationships, like marriages, require constant nurturing and attention and taking them for granted often heralds the beginning of the end in both contexts.

We have identified seven stages in commercial relationship building which reflect the same dynamics that are characteristic of a personal relationship:

  1. Engagement
  2. Discovery
  3. Common Interests
  4. Shared Values
  5. Trust
  6. Commitment
  7. Resilience

For each stage, there tare actical approaches that can enhance and accelerate the process. Here are two pieces of tactical advice that will go a long way in building and deepening relationships:

· After meeting with a customer or prospect, and especially after the first meeting, send the person with whom you met an email picking up on some part of the conversation related to either their business or their personal life. For instance, if they share with you that they like to take their family skiing to Maine, find an article on the Web that might pertain to one of the major Maine ski resorts expansion. This simple act speaks volumes about you in that a) you listened, b) they are important to you, not based on your words but rather on your actions.

· In every meeting with the customer or prospect or a referral source for that matter you should be "planting a seed”. This could be to bring in a new product to an existing customer or to move the sales process along for a prospect. Obviously, it is imperative that the "planted seed” is memorialized somewhere, in a CRM system, on a manila folder or in a Daytimer (in descending order of desirability), so that you can act on it in the following meeting or conversation. As is the case in the prior example, this this also speaks to your ability to listen and your commitment to follow up, both of which can be important differentiators when compared to the great unwashed masses represented by your competitors.

On Friday, January 24th, I will be making a presentation of this topic at NEFMA’s Winter Conference in Woodstock, VT. In that presentation I will be expanding upon the brief coverage that this article has provided and will share with the attendees more tactical approaches to help bankers create, deepen and expand relationships with customers, prospects and referral sources.

The interactive presentation will be at 1 PM, leaving plenty of time to get home for dinner.

Ted Rosen is president of Expert Business Development, LLC, based in Bala Cynwyd, PA and is a frequent presenter at banking conferences. The firm helps community and regional banks develop and expand commercial relationships and is a member of NEFMA.

Tags:  commercial banking  relationship 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Don't Ask What They Want, See What Decisions They Make

Posted By Jeff Steblea, M.A., Vice President, Research Analysis & Management Market Street Research, Friday, January 10, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 9, 2014

Successful banks and credit unions have learned the importance of research. From customer satisfaction surveys to analysis of big data, a regular regimen of industry research is integral to brand assessment and strategic planning for an organization's future. But unfortunately, most questions used in banking industry research do not effectively tell you how consumers decide which banks or credit unions to use.

"Only by understanding what consumers would sacrifice can you truly understand what matters to them in choosing a bank."

In an ideal world, we’d all like to live just down the street from a bank with the highest level of personal service, the lowest fees on accounts, a robust online banking platform, the highest rates, and the largest ATM network. And that's just for starters! If you ask consumers how important each of these factors are in deciding which bank to use, they will usually say that ALL of them are highly important.

"Only by understanding what consumers would sacrifice can you truly understand what matters to them in choosing a bank."

So how do consumers really decide which bank to use? They’re going to have to make some trade-offs. They might decide that a bank's ATM network is the most important criterion for them. Or maybe they like to bank in person at a nearby branch where they are treated like family. This is the power of conjoint analysis--it demonstrates the real-world trade-offs consumers make when considering a decision. Only by understanding what consumers would sacrifice can you truly understand what matters to them in choosing a bank.

To conduct conjoint analysis, you begin by coming up with three to five attributes you want to test against each other. These attributes are the criteria you think consumers are likely to weigh when selecting a bank, and should vary based on the competitive landscape in your market area.

Next, you assign levels to each of these attributes. For example, the levels for location might be "located nearby” and "located farther away.” For personal service, the levels might be "excellent personal service” or "average personal service.” It is important not to assign levels that represent extremes; the choice you are providing to consumers highlights the advantage they stand to gain--the exceptional over the merely average.

At this point, you take these attributes and, using a statistical software program, combine them into a limited number of scenarios. The scenarios describe the possible configurations of these exceptional and average attributes. You then present consumers with each scenario and ask them how likely they would be to use the bank described by each scenario. For example, you might open by asking the consumer to imagine that they have moved to a new state and there are a variety of banks they can use. The first bank is farther away, has excellent personal service, average fees on accounts and services, and a larger ATM network. The next bank is located nearby, has excellent personal service, low or no fees on accounts or services, and a smaller ATM network. You proceed through each of the possible combinations, asking the consumer after each one how likely they would be, on a 10-point scale, to use the bank described by that scenario.

After collecting the data, you derive a rating for each of the attributes, and this rating shows us the relative importance of each attribute. By presenting consumers with a series of such scenarios, you get them to think actively about the trade-offs they are willing to make and their answers reveal the true underlying preferences that guide their banking decisions. Finally, in analyzing the data, you can conduct a market segmentation analysis based on the attributes that are important to different types of consumers. This analysis can show you, for example, how large the ATM-driven segment of the market is, as well as the prevailing demographic characteristics of consumers in this segment.

Tags:  market research 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 6 of 14
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  >   >>   >|