We’re already in the middle of planning season; creating next year’s budget, completing projections and constructing the strategies to support a financially successful 2014. As you get out those tried and true annual to-do lists, consider a few additional items you may not look at every year, but can make a big difference when it comes to being a financial institution that excels rather than just maintains the status quo.
- Conduct Primary Market Research – Especially if you are considering adding new channels or products and you haven’t conducted market research in the last 5 years, you need to balance your wisdom (and maybe a little of your historical bias) with relevant data about your current and potential customers. Research is essential to help you define when to spend your money, how to maintain a competitive edge, and what tactics will keep you current with consumer demands. Don’t underestimate the power of this information. Your competitors won’t.
- Clarify Your Marketing Team’s Roles and Responsibilities – Effective marketing efforts must accommodate clearly defined strategic and hands-on responsibilities. We’ve seen the addition of social media initiatives change staffing and hard resource dynamics, often with increased workload and stress in the marketing department. Revisit your team’s responsibilities and capabilities; clarify roles and if there is a competence hole, bring in a partner to help fill the gaps.
- Commit to Understanding Your Data – Does your team really understand how to define success? For example, you know how many new checking accounts were opened last year, but do you know how many were closed and why? Does your bottom line take into account customer retention? Understanding the numbers from a bottom-line perspective will help you more effectively choose your strategies and execute more succinctly to bring you the most value.