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8 Strategies for Local Banks to Beat the Big Boys

Big banks have a major trust gap with the average consumer, according to a study. And that gap has created a marketing opportunity for credit unions and small banks.

Years after the Great Recession ended, Americans still blamed the big banks for the financial crisis, according to a study released in 2014 (see infographic below: Consumer Banking Insights Study).

Seventy-one percent of responding consumers believe those banks haven’t been held accountable for their risky behavior. Sixty-six percent are still angry and 47 percent of them prefer to bank at a local institution. These sentiments came to light in Harris Poll conducted in late 2013.

Marketing opportunities

Consumer angst over the big banks’ behavior is an opportunity for credit unions and smaller financial institutions, which can compete against the Goliaths with strong branding and marketing. And they will succeed — if they make every effort to win and keep consumers’ trust.

8 basic strategies to beat the big banks:

  1. Management should develop objectives and a complete, action-oriented strategic plan covering all goals, from deposits to loans. Profitability should not heavily depend on interest rates and fees.

  2. Value propositions should be easy to communicate and understand.

  3. Using digital and traditional media, the marketing plan should create a dominant top-of-mind awareness and include cross-promotion strategies with benchmarks to obtain the desired return on investment.

  4. For long-term growth and sustainability, the focus should include mobile marketing and strategies to attract and retain young people.

  5. It’s necessary to develop a consistent branding strategy for positive consumer experiences, from tellers to loan officers.

  6. Credit-union member or bank-customer experience policies must be published in a formal manual.

  7. Employees must be fully trained to understand how to build trust, the meaning of exemplary customer service and the importance of cross-promotion of products and services in synchronization with the branding.

  8. Marketing should have a seat at the senior-management conference-room table along with human resources, lending, business development, finance, compliance and information technology.

 inforgraphic bank