State of Mind - 1We all have our favorite states. It might be your native state, a destination state or an adopted home state. If you are like me and are a native Texan your favorite state may also be an attitude (for example, my wife was born in Oklahoma but she moved to Texas when she was 10 days old; thus we celebrate her birthday ten days late because when she got to Texas is when she really started living!).

When it comes to your marketing, what sort of state is it in? Is it strong or weak? Is it fun or boring? Is it effective or ineffective?

Here are some possible “states” your marketing might be in along with potential solutions for how to improve:

  • State of Confusion—Does everyone in your credit union or bank know what your brand is? Would they answer the question “What are you about?” with the same answer? If not, then you have brand confusion when you need brand consistency. A confused brand is a weak brand.
    • Solution: Develop a brand plan that clearly identifies your target audiences, your brand vision and your key messages. Train your staff to your brand.
  • State of Mind—What role does marketing play in your credit union or bank? Is it just in the back seat giving tactical advice on promotions or is marketing driving the organization’s strategic decisions and direction? The best financial institutions are marketing driven (check out Umpqua Bank as an example).
    • Solution: Make marketing a strategic function inside your financial institution. Involve marketing in every aspect of the credit union or bank (strategic plan, ALM, branches, training, etc.).
  • State of Unrest—Are you trying to communicate too much with your marketing materials and are you all over the place with your marketing? If so, then there is probably a great deal of unrest in your marketing efforts. You will never achieve your financial goals with weak marketing.
    • Solution: Cut the copy. Reduce how much you are trying to communicate. If there is unrest with your marketing, one of the most practical things you can do is to conduct a marketing audit (get an unbiased opinion on how you can improve this important function).

One political tradition of the New Year is that the president always gives a State of the Union address. Those tend to be long-winded speeches about the political priorities for the upcoming year. As you set the marketing priorities for your upcoming year, start by considering what “state” your marketing is actually in and act accordingly.