10 Lessons From Day One of The ABA Marketing Conference

ABA Marketing Conference

About 400 of the best bank marketers gathered in Baltimore starting Sunday to learn and exchange ideas about the future of banking and bank marketing. It was an action-packed opening. We distilled ten of the best lessons we learned or were reminded of from the conference and presented them below.


Video: Jeff Januszek, from Januszek Social Media, led a three-hour hands-on session on how to improve video marketing for your bank. He provided free resources, equipment lists, trends, production and post-production tips. Banks should start producing videos that entertain, educate and inspire as they have little excuse not to produce video given the growing usage and the cost-effective production.


To start, banks should answer the most often asked questions at the bank. The group brainstormed and came up with five great topics for any bank to use as a starting place to produce educational videos: 1) How to reset and stop forgetting your password, 2) How to get a human on the phone (showcases the personal touch), 3) How to get the most out of mobile banking, 4) How to avoid fees, and 5) Here are businesses our community needs.


For advanced practitioners, the group discussed the growing trend of live streaming plus reviewed a variety of low and high budget videos from banks including the ABA Marketing 2018 Best in Class Winner:



Bank Marketing: Don’t talk about how awesome your bank is but how awesome your customers are.


Facebook Advertising: Merry Morud from Aimclear discussed getting a positive ROI out of your social media marketing. Facebook has $2B users checking in 14x a day for a total duration of 20 minutes. The user’s mindset of search social media wanting to be inspired combined with Facebook’s ability to psychographically target potential customers with 60% to 85% accuracy, makes the platform a must use for bank retail marketing. The session discussed ways to leverage your 1st party data to do look alike persona targeting on Facebook specifically around life events such as marriage, retirement, etc.


Best Marketing Idea To Try: First Community Bank of TN goes to each of the six high school basketball, and football games in their service area and gives away $500 to the random person chosen to make a half-court basketball shot or 30-yard field goal at half-time. Since you don’t end up giving away $500 each time, the idea is brilliant as it gets bank employees involved with the community, supports the schools, gets in front of an enthusiastic captive audience and provides great video footage for social media.


The Secret Ingredients To Bank Marketing: Jay Baer from Convince and Convert was the highlight of the day as he talked about how relevancy, not amplification, creates attention in our prospective customers. Banks should strive to stop marketing AT people and focus more on marketing WITH people.


The Secret Ingredient To Bank Marketing



The five secrets to bank marketing are:


  1. Every bank needs to architect its marketing to be self-service – this means better websites, better help options, and more chatbots.
  2. Banks should strive to make the story bigger than themselves – focus on solving large problems.
  3. Banks should consider building marketing campaigns around “triggers.” DoubleTree does this well as they own the check-in process which is capped off by a warm chocolate chip cookie. The cookie is a conversation piece to amplify a message.
  4. Every negative customer experience is a chance for banks to show a disproportional amount of empathy.
  5. Service is rooted in awareness. When it comes to bank marketing, don’t information your customer to death - put emotion first, facts second.


Integration: Banks should destroy their marketing departments. Marketers should be integrated into product lines in order to increase effectiveness and break down silos. Bank marketers should understand the metrics that drive bank performance as well as having a seat at the asset-liability committee.


Martech & Data: Avi Patel from Fulton Financial did a good job covering the marketing technology (martech) toolset (“stack”). Almost every bank is struggling with either bringing marketing data together and/or making sense of the data.


The Bank MarTech Stack



What Bank Marketing Worked in 2018: Personal referrals, content, email, social, direct mail, video, mobile advertising and remarketing, in order of effectiveness. 


New Ideas To Try in 2019: Live video streaming, creating a voice-driven app for banking advice on Alexa/Siri/Google; using more influencers; more mobile advertising, chatbots and more predictive marketing.