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Top 3 Takeaways from ABA Bank Marketing Conference 2022

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October 18, 2022

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In this article

We gathered the most relevant takeaways from the ABA Bank Marketing Conference to help banks turn their marketing challenges into strengths.

Brooke Henderson

Brooke Henderson

Growth Associate

A few weeks ago, we attended the Bank Marketing Conference organized by American Bankers Association in Denver. The 3-day program showcased key leaders from the industry who shared relevant insights that could positively impact your bank marketing strategy 

The week was jam-packed with different sessions, including a power breakfast on “Are Influencers the Future of Customer Acquisition for Banks” held by our chief revenue officer, Alana Levine. She outlined how influencers can play a role in your growth strategy and the critical components of a successful influencer marketing strategy.  

For anyone who couldn’t make it, we wanted to share key takeaways to drive customer acquisition and growth going into 2023.  

Takeaway 1: Content is King, but engagement is its Queen  

Since the pandemic, we have seen a shift in how people consume and interact with media. With the rise of TikTok, a new concept nicknamed “edutainment” arose cleverly. Never has information been so readily accessible, and users are responding positively to influencers using their channels to educate others. So, what does this mean for bank marketing strategists?  

Understanding trends like these is crucial to success in social media marketing. Finding your voice in a crowded space will allow you to interact better with your audience. Eric Cook, from The LinkedBanker, recommends to have a well-rounded view of your target customer and build your content around that person when navigating these overpopulated channels.

How do you find that target consumer? Think about the person who could walk into your business and impact the bottom line. Understanding who that person is, their pain points, and what they are looking for will allow you to cater your content creation to encourage engagement.

“Use the lifetime value of your customer to calculate the ROI of a marketing strategy.” – Eric Cook  

While content is essential, not knowing who has seen it or how they’ve chosen to interact with it makes optimization challenging. The more engagement a post receives, the easier it is to see an effective strategy and potential improvements. 

Eric also highlighted the importance of attribution being the key to transparency. Marketing tactics can be expensive, and there is often no way to measure the value they bring in, so being able to track exactly where clients are coming from helps justify spending.

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Takeaway 2: The Compelling Nature of Storytelling  

There is a lot of marketing data, especially when focusing on attribution, but how do you communicate that information to your C-Suite? Erica Starr from KlariVis highlighted the use of storytelling to make data more compelling. Statistics make for impactful metrics but can also be overwhelming or vague. Instead, using relatable and personable anecdotes to paint the picture behind the statistic can often be more powerful.    

When building your bank marketing strategy consider establishing a referral program at your bank with some local businesses. In a pitch, you could highlight a statistic such as “referral marketing generates 3-5x higher conversion rates than any other channel”, which might be impactful.

three women smile looking at a phone while seating on a table

You could also turn it on to your management team and ask them how many friends they talked to before they purchased a car. Then, have them consider the purchasing process of a new vehicle. Most, if not all, will search for referrals from people they trust. Taking them through that journey will allow them to relate personally to the value of the referral program and, more likely, sign off.  

Knowing your audience and framing the data to reflect their experience can significantly impact pitching or reporting on tactics. Most C-suite executives care about the strategies that are moving the needle. Using a combination of storytelling and your superpower as a marketer, one can tell the story behind the data and prove their value in growing the business.

Takeaway 3: Earning your Seat at the Table as a Marketer  

If you’ve ever held a marketing position, you’ve likely heard marketing compared to arts and crafts. Unfortunately, to this day, many upper-level executives don’t see the value of marketing as a necessary expense. The panel “From Promo Items to President” discussed this challenge and what they’ve done to overcome it.     

An overarching theme was understanding your management team and their values. They suggested, when possible, taking your executives out for lunch, and learning more about them, especially how they communicate and their priorities -this will help later during discussions or pitches. They also suggested always thinking like the CEO regardless of your position. Having that perspective can guide you in making decisions that can improve the business, something every executive appreciates.

“Turn your attention away from your competition and towards your customers” – Karen Partee, Chief Marketing Officer,

The other point they emphasized was, when building your bank marketing strategy, be agile and understand data, and more than that, be able to turn data into meaningful action. Translating effective tactics into clear bottom-line impact will further prove your ability to grow the business and cement your position at the table.    

Final Thoughts  

Here are some recommendations to turn challenges into strengths based on the words we kept repeating, and hearing: data, compliance, and transparency. These are common pain points for many bank marketers and are as well, vital to building an effective strategy:

  • Ensure you understand data and use it as a powerful tool to improve your strategy.
  • Your compliance team will always be wary of digital channels, but there are tools and strategies to help ease their nerves -use them!
  • Regardless of your marketing team size, digital channels can be a scalable way to grow to business. Attribution transparency is critical to allocate resources efficiently: track your results to understand what’s your best content.
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