How to Become a More Valuable Marketer at Your Bank

By John Oxford

In a recent email to the Marketing Money Podcast, a listener asked: How and where do you gain all of the knowledge on the issues you cover on bank marketing?

Although this sounds like a set-up for a full brag-a-thon on what we know, it actually got us thinking. Where did we learn what we now practice? How does one acquire expansive marketing and communication skills?

In looking beyond just what you know, the ability to execute and make the right decisions is also a highly sought-after talent. And we haven’t even mentioned emotional intelligence or self-awareness.

Getting back to the point of the question, here are a few quick ideas on how to gain knowledge and make yourself a more valuable marketing leader at your bank … with advice for three stages in your career.

Beginners

Don’t just be a note taker. Be a knowledge taker. Often as a junior staffer or trainee, you’re asked to take notes, follow up with communication and research various issues. And this is to be expected. But do not just keep your head down aimlessly scribbling for someone else. Actually learn what you are documenting.

For example, my first three years at the bank, I was often in earnings meetings helping to write the narrative for our earnings calls and press releases, but I missed what the numbers actually meant and how decisions we made in the market impacted the numbers. (I’m no accountant.)

As my career progressed, I quickly picked up on how the numbers work and how the bank makes money, but if I had done so sooner, I think it would have greatly helped to advance my career at a quicker pace. So don’t just take notes, take knowledge. Learn how decisions are made and why. Osmosis is a real thing and being around others should help you learn the trade.

Intermediate

Stop trying to be like everyone else, especially other banks. At this point in your bank marketing career you are responsible for an area in marketing or are able to build your own campaigns and have built some trust as they’ve kept you around. Attending conferences and schools, are great ways to learn about industry trends and tactics. They are also a great place to learn what to avoid doing—as in copying others.

Check out a lineup of content just for bank marketers at ABA’s Unconventional Convention, Oct. 19-20, a super-sized virtual event featuring inspirational live sessions, expert takes on big industry topics and more. Learn more and register.

If you’re now charged with a product campaign or some other tactic, look outside the banking industry for new creative. From beverages to mobile phones to cars and other consumer goods, the best creative in the world’s marketplace rarely comes from banks.

Immerse yourself in ad thought and pop culture. Study the proper content for the proper channel. Successfully setting your brand apart in a sea of sameness will help you become a better marketer for your bank.

Advanced

Find your inner child and learn from the newbies. You’re now the leader of a division and you are, for the most part, a decision maker. In a juxtaposition from supposedly being the one with all the answers, this may be the time to listen and learn more than ever. Learn about the tactics and skills that showed up even when you were past the level to use them. A great example would be when email and the internet showed up in the mid-1990s and senior executives had to learn an entirely new communication platform that recent college grads were instant experts in.

The point is: Always learn the new skills that didn’t even exist when you started and also put them into practice. As another example, I recently taught myself how to use editing software for video and audio tracks. Do I plan to use it professionally? Not really. But it has given me the ability to understand and make deeper suggestions in how our content is produced.

In conclusion, take knowledge from meetings and mentors, absorb thoughts and ideas from other creatives and industries outside of banking, to learn new skills, channels and tactics that enter the scene even when you’re the old dog in the clubhouse.

To listen to a much deeper discussion on how to gain knowledge in marketing, listen to this week’s Marketing Money Podcast where I am joined by Josh Mabus of the Mabus Agency.

John Oxford, director of marketing at Renasant Bank, and Josh Mabus, president of the Mabus Agency, are co-hosts of the Marketing Money Podcast.

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