By Lori Philo-Cook
The bank marketers I know are stretched thin, and they often end up moving branch visits to the back burner, while they juggle a myriad of more pressing deadlines. But in the back of their minds there is a fear of what they’ll find when they finally set foot in the door—outdated brochures, posters from a long-past campaign, flyers with expired offers, missing promotional materials and more.
Digital screens and on-demand brochure printing may help ease some of your fears, but if printed materials are still part of the marketing mix, your anxiety is probably warranted.
Branch Promo Experts
Having a branch promo expert can help relieve many of these fears.
At each of your locations, a designated employee, who is recommended by the branch manager, serves in the position of branch promo expert (BPE). The BPE functions as the in-branch expert for all things marketing. And if the BPE doesn’t have an answer, he/she has a direct line to marketing to get it. Your BPEs will love it because they get to do something perceived as fun, and they have the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills. (To maintain good internal relations, of course, the Branch Manager should be cc’d on all BPE communications.)
The Responsibilities of the Branch Promo Expert
- Brochures – The BPEs receive starter packets of all revised or new brochures. They are then responsible for the ongoing ordering and replacing of all brochures in the branch and for discarding all outdated versions. They keep a rough inventory of all brochures to ensure they don’t run out.
- New Marketing Campaigns – Whenever a new campaign is launched, a starter packet of all related marketing materials is sent to each BPE with clear instructions on when, where and how they are to be displayed.
- Old Campaign Materials – Once a campaign is over, BPEs are responsible for sending campaign materials back to marketing. By marking the branch location on the back of posters and counter cards, you can track returns and follow up with BPEs who don’t return them in a timely manner. That way it’s much more likely you will get materials back in case you wish to use them on a future campaign.
- Branch Drawings, Contests, Events – The BPE is responsible for managing in-branch drawings, which can include setting up drawing boxes with the current drawing counter card and setting out entry blanks, and then removing them on the specified date and sending entries to marketing.
- Special Displays – If you have specialty displays such as business resource centers, online demo centers, or designated investments product areas, BPEs will ensure that current marketing materials are displayed in designated locations.
- Other Marketing Materials – BPEs are responsible for displaying current versions of promotional materials, such as flyers, handouts and banners—and for removing outdated materials. They are also responsible for managing supplies of campaign-related customer giveaways.
Orientation of New Branch Promo Experts
When a new BPE comes on board, a member of marketing should meet with the individual one-on-one to review the program, explain the responsibilities, and make sure the individual is willing to take on the added marketing duties.
Branch Promo Expert Manuals
BPEs should receive a manual that’s customized for their location. Items may include:
- A description of the BPE’s responsibilities and the importance of the role
- Marketing contact information
- A diagram of their branch brochure center, specifying the names and placements of all brochures
- A listing of all product and image brochures, with most recent print dates
- Written procedures for replenishing marketing materials, and replacing broken/missing display holders.
- Locations for all posters, counter cards and holders for handouts
- Diagrams showing all the items to be included in any special displays
- ATM and door signage, compliance postings, etc.
- Information about marketing audits and copy of audit form
Expressing Appreciation and Creating a Sense of Team
To make this work, it’s important to create a sense of team and help the BPEs feel like they really do play an important role. Toward that end, marketing should host a BPE meeting at least annually. Providing lunch is a nice touch. Use this meeting to review responsibilities and discuss any program changes. Stress their importance in helping build the bank’s brand consistently throughout the bank and in providing customers with current and accurate information. Highlight the role they play in helping marketing conduct successful campaigns and promotions.
The discussion should be two-way, so ask BPEs about issues they are having in their branches. Encourage them to share their ideas. This helps them feel appreciated and a part of something bigger.
Branch Promo Request for Service
For at least one bank, a concrete result of this type of meeting has been the development of a “BPE Request for Service” form that BPEs can use to alert marketing when they have marketing-related issues in their branch, such as broken holders, signage issues, or things that detracted from the branch appearance. Marketing can use this as a tool to easily track issues until they are resolved.
Branch Marketing Audits
To ensure that marketing materials are being displayed as instructed, there should be some accountability. Marketing staff should conduct periodic in-person branch marketing audits at all locations (every other quarter works well). Written audit forms should be customized by location. You may want to give BPEs who receive a top score on the audit (90% or higher, for example), a cash bonus in recognition of their extra effort (perhaps $75-100).
Branch Promo Experts Make a Difference
A BPE program can ensure that you have current and correct marketing materials in every location without having to visit all of the time and check up on people. It can give you peace of mind that you are delivering consistent brand messages across your branch network. A network of BPEs also gives you the on-location support that helps you conduct more successful marketing campaigns and promotions.
Lori Philo-Cook has over 25 years in bank marketing and public relations, most of it at the senior management level. She is currently the owner of InnovoMarketing. She helps community banks with marketing and communications and conducts marketing workshops for community banking organizations. Email: Innnovomarketing@att.net. Twitter