Ignore - 1We like to write to a variety of different audiences on our blog. Today, our topic is written mainly for bank and credit union senior executives. The question is — did you hire a marketing expert that you are currently ignoring? And, if so, why?

Modern marketing is a great deal different from the practice it was even five years ago. The advent of the Internet and digital/mobile technology has created an entirely new universe of marketing rules and best practices. Successful modern marketers are typically combination of both “book-smarts” (their experiences in college and the degrees they have earned) and “street-smarts” (their experiences working in the real world either as in terms or as full-time professionals).

The take-away here is: banks and credit unions looking to fulfill the marketing role at their institutions are best served by looking for people trained and educated in the art of marketing. Unfortunately, many senior executives missed the boat on this. They may either not hire a marketing expert at all, opting to leave that role spread around one or several people that work in other departments, or, perhaps more wastefully, they hire a marketing person and then just don’t use them.

What are some of the reasons for this? Here are a few ideas.

  • They hired a marketing person because all the competition has one. They just never intend to use that person’s skills and expertise to better their bank or credit union.

    Solution: If this is the case you may as well have never even hired a marketer. You hired that person. You pay that person. You should use that person. If your competition has a marketer, you can be fairly certain they are using him or her. You are at a distinct disadvantage if you treat your marketer like the hood ornament on a car — pretty, but with little real function.

  • They don’t have an academic or professional background in marketing. Therefore they either do not understand or do not trust the marketing function as an important part of what goes on at their bank or credit union.

    Solution: The leaders of many banks and credit unions have backgrounds in accounting and/or business management. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it can unfairly alienate them from the marketing function. If this describes the background of the leader of your bank or credit union, that person must come to trust and understand the skills and experience of their marketer are there for a reason. Not everyone can be everything, including a president or CEO of a bank or credit union. Therefore, trust the marketing professional you hired.

  • They hold to old-school ideas that marketers are just there to put together the quarterly newsletter and monthly statement stuffers. This completely misses the boat when it comes to about 95% of what actual modern marketing entails.

    Solution: If your bank or credit union hangs its marketing hat on old-school items like print newsletters and statement stuffers, you’re probably already doomed. Modern marketing means so much more than that. And if you tether your marketer to archaic models of communication, you will lose market share and relevancy. Eventually, you’ll probably also lose all your customers/members and your job. Free your marketer to explore and use the many modern tools of communication that it takes to reach today’s consumers.

These are just a few of the reasons. The bottom line here is that banks and credit unions that spend the time and money to employ a marketing person and then failed to use that person’s skills and experiences to enhance the bottom line are totally missing the boat.

If you spend the money on a marketing person, do yourself and your bank or credit union a favor — actually use that person. Task them with growing your financial institution, spreading its brand message and serving as a brand ambassador to the communities you serve. Otherwise, you may as well save the money you spent on a marketer and put it to other uses. Like exciting statement stuffers.