Slideshow From the Bank Marketing Trenches

  • May 28 2015, 1:00am EDT
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If you think bank marketing is all, or even largely, about advertising, think again. As fewer customers make regular trips to branches, banks are relying more on their marketing departments to connect with the public. We asked bank marketing executives around the country to talk about the challenges they face and how their roles have evolved. Here are some of their responses.

Jamie Moldafsky

Chief marketing officer
Wells Fargo
San Francisco
$1.74 trillion in assets

"The realization that the bar is being set outside our industry, so comparing yourself to other banks doesn't work anymore."

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Kevin Tynan

Senior vice president, marketing
Liberty Bank
$830 million in assets

How the CMO's job has evolved:
"Today, I think we should be called 'customer experience manager' because we are or we should be concerned about what their experience is. I don't think it was like that even five years ago."

Sarah Peterson

Chief marketing officer
Cadence Bancorp
Birmingham, Ala.
$7.9 billion in assets

On connecting with Gen Y:
"Millennials are going to get relationships one of these days. They're going to put down their iPhones and say, `I need to know someone.'"

Elizabeth Mach

Vice president, marketing
Berkshire Hills Bancorp
Pittsfield, Mass.
$6.6 billion in assets

Where more time goes now:
"We own Berkshire's website. When it goes down, people don't call IT, they call Marketing."

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Andrea Riley

Chief marketing officer
Ally Auto

Biggest challenge for banking marketers:
"When you think about our product, it's easy to get commoditized. We've got to find ways to get uncommoditized."

Rob Brough

Executive vice president, marketing
Zions First National Bank
Salt Lake City
$19 billion in assets

On the skill set for doing the job well:
"I believe the most important skill for a CMO is the same today as it was 10 or 15 years ago - an ability to identify the right audience for your message and the right communications channel to reach that audience. The variety of channels has expanded significantly over the years and the tools available to segment audiences have become increasingly sophisticated. However, the core skill prevails."

Eve Callahan

Executive vice president
Umpqua Holdings
Portland, Ore.
$23 billion in assets

What no longer works:
"I think traditional bank advertising has become less and less effective. We moved away from it 10-plus years ago."

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Chris Dods

Executive vice president and marketing communications division manager
First Hawaiian Bank
$18.7 billion in assets

Key trend:
"There is a lot more investment in analytics: using a wealth of data to run strategies and come up with a targeted approach."

Christopher C. Piotrowski

Chief marketing officer
Associated Banc-Corp
$27.1 billion in assets

Marketing's new status:
"It's more crucial than ever before. Bankers used the see their customers in the branch. Now, things are so digitized. We're using marketing to play a role in that conversation and find out what customers' needs are."

Elizabeth B. Eckel

Senior vice president, marketing and investor relations
Washington Trust Co.
Westerly, R.I.
$3.6 billion in assets

Where more time goes now:
"I spend a lot more time developing policies, procedures, disclosures, training, and risk management dashboards to ensure that we are in compliance with the ever-changing rules and regulations in the financial services industry."

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Whitney Bartelli

Senior vice president and director of brand, marketing and communications
NBH Bank
Greenwood Village, Colo.
$5 billion in assets

Big change:
"Digital and social channels have become more crucial to the communications mix. They're no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have in order to reach and connect with our audiences in a meaningful way."

Jean Sharp

Vice president
First Bethany Bank & Trust
Bethany, Okla.
$192 million in assets

Where more time goes now:
"This is a do-it-yourself world, so actually using various software programs to design, upload, print and publish various print and coordinating graphic materials to fit defined specifications takes up a substantial amount of time."