We’ve all done it: fell into the false expectations trap. We think we have a killer idea to promote our bank or credit union’s particular product of the month. Maybe it is a new checking account, a special home equity loan or used auto promotion.

But for some reason we didn’t get the results we expected. The numbers fall short, the expectations are not met and the CEO or CFO are asking you some hard questions. So what went wrong?

Here are five reasons why your marketing is failing:

  • You target the all and not the niche—Stop marketing to all your customers or members. Focus on the ones that are the most profitable, the most likely to use your services and the ones that are your raving fans. Rather than send one piece to every prospect, use your database and MCIF tools to send multiple pieces to a select few. A small micro list is often better than a large macro list.
  • You promote product over brand—The most successful financial institutions are actually no longer marketing specific products and services. Rather they are promoting their brand. For an example, check out Umpqua Bank. Let’s be honest: financial services is a commodity business. There is not a great deal of difference between your checking accounts and loans than your competitors. Promoting your unique culture is better than promoting your generic products.
  • You put in too much information—Repeat these three words every time you create a marketing piece: “Cut the copy.” White space is a good thing. And remember to limit your item to one central message. For example, don’t throw in tons of details about other products when you are trying to promote a car loan. Less is better than more.
  • You promote features and not benefits—It’s an old adage but very true: features tell and benefits sell. Make your marketing about them and not you. Look at every one of your marketing items from the end-users view. The rate and terms are less important than how it saves the consumer time and money. Emphasizing your benefits is better than droning on about your features.
  • You don’t gain staff support—You can’t do marketing in a vacuum. No matter how creative your design is, it’s your front-line staff that often closes the sale. So make sure you give them selling tools and garner their feedback prior to a campaign launch. Involving staff is better than declaring from on high your marketing edicts.

If you feel your marketing is failing on a regular basis, one step you can take is to conduct a marketing audit. A thorough review of your specific marketing efforts will yield additional feedback and insights.

And by analyzing your marketing through the above lenses you’ll make sure your efforts don’t fail but succeed.