Success - 2“Mark, you will always be a failure in marketing.” Those words echoed through my ears as my boss at the time (the vice president of marketing at a large financial institution) uttered them. I was a lowly marketing coordinator at the time, just one year out of college. She went on to say, “You need to get out.” And she didn’t mean just get out of that job—she meant get out of the marketing field entirely.

I had a choice to make: I was either going to be fired or transferred to the collection department (my version of Purgatory). I had a family to support so I chose collections! After a four and half year journey learning all the ins and outs of collections and eventually lending I wound up back in marketing for a trade association—as a lowly marketing coordinator. At that job, however, I had a mentor and coach who poured his life into mine and taught me a great deal.  Under his leadership I grew and eventually went on to a successful profession in marketing.

There are keys to having a great career: a mentor, passion, positive attitude, lifelong learning, etc. But what about having great marketing at your financial institution? What leads to marketing success?

Here are the four items you need for marketing success:

  • Details—Marketers all want to know the next big thing. And while big ideas are important, every detail matters. Especially about your brand (which ultimately falls to marketing). The words you use, the fonts you employ and even how your bathrooms smell are critical. Nothing is too small when it comes to marketing. Know the details and know success.
  • Analytics—Marketers tend to think in color while CEOs think in black and white. The more in-tune your marketing staff is with the bottom line the more success you will have in marketing. You need to know ROI, your most profitable products and big data. While we may think marketing is all about the creative there is actually a deal of numbers involved. Know the numbers and know success.
  • Ideas—While details matters (as noted in the first bullet point), ideas are equally key. Executives look to marketing for new products, new campaigns and new business. As a marketer you should be an idea generator. Always be thinking (in the shower, at the gym, at the dinner table). If you are short on new concepts then make sure you are reading business books, blogs and magazines. The more you read, the more ideas you’ll generate. Know the ideas and know success.
  • Strategy—You are not just a marketer, you are a strategist. While every department is responsible for strategic planning at your bank or credit union marketing tends to drive that process. Marketing is more than pretty design, logos and fancy colors. Much more. Marketing offers key strategic insight into what consumers need. The marketing plan is the engine that drives growth. Know the strategy and know success.

Focusing on those four keys will ensure your marketing will not always fail, but rather enjoy a great deal of success.