A Windshield to Go with That Gas Pedal–Marketing with a Plan

Picture yourself in the driver’s seat of your dream car, ready to go—but the windows are all painted black, and there are no gauges. You turn the key, and the engine roars. You push the pedal to the floor, and away you go!

You’ll end up somewhere, but it won’t be pretty.

Many banks operate their marketing efforts in much the same way. They send out a few postcard campaigns and direct mailings, invest in a website, make a few lobby signs and counter displays—oh yeah, and don’t forget about the pretty brochures with a picture of their building, their logo and tons of content with no call-to-action. And they’re surprised when they end up in the ditch.

I hate to see good money tossed down the drain because there isn’t even a basic marketing plan in place. Or maybe there’s a plan, but it’s being implemented without tracking, testing, or measurable benchmarks for improvement.

So I’m sure a marketing plan is part of your strategic business plan—right? Please tell me that it is. Generally speaking, developing a marketing plan is undertaken as part of the yearly planning process. It should also be used when you want to introduce something like new products and services, new markets or a new location, or when you’re trying a new strategy to fix an existing problem and improve sales.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day process and lose focus on the outcome and on tracking results. When you support your marketing plan with a marketing calendar and performance benchmarks, it helps ensure you’re on track and producing positive results. Avoid crashing—this is your map, your vision, and your gauges all rolled into one!

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