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ABA Uncon: It’s All About Marketing

By November 6, 20204 min read

This time of year, we should be all packing our bags and prepping for travel to the ABA Bank Marketing Conference, but like most things in 2020, any plans you made all went out the window. The adjustments to a virtual conference were quite disappointing for me personally this year. In 2020, the ABA Bank Marketing conference was to be held on my home turf in Minneapolis. It was also my first year as co-chair of the conference, alongside the incredible Chris Nichols, as well as my first opportunity representing Social Assurance as CMO.

The disappointment was short-lived after the start of the ABA Unconventional Conference. Between the live chats, group text messages and all the buzz surrounding content, any impending dread of sitting in front of my computer for two days went away and was replaced with the typical excitement for the conference.

Despite the formidable challenge of combining four in-person events into one virtual event, the benefits of this new format were soon apparent. By having CFOs and CEOs in attendance, content would lend itself to position bank marketers as a critical function within any organization. The new format provided an opportunity for high caliber speakers and presentations representing marketing and further reinforcing the role and value of marketing at financial organizations. Going virtual provided an opportunity for high caliber speakers and presentations to present marketing’s value, further reinforcing the importance of its role at financial organizations.

With a greater emphasis on leadership and strategic tracks in marketing content, and the flexible format of a virtual conference (content is available to attendees through December 31), marketers were given the best of both worlds. Bank marketers were showcased as strategic, innovative and essential to any person with a C in their title. Plus, marketers could still get into the weeds when it got to tactical execution and learning new marketing concepts.

One of the pressing topics discussed, of course, centered on COVID-19. In this conversation, significant recognition was paid toward the impact of human capital and acknowledgment that we are, in fact, human. As humans, we are exhausted, we are stressed, we are anxious (and please don’t forget so is your team, your customers, and even your boss). What stood out to me as we plan for year-end and are developing marketing budgets and plans for 2021, was that banks need to address human capital in two ways: culture and employee engagement, and investments in human capital to “upskill or reskill,” – a great concept shared by Shelly Loftin, SVP Retail, Payments, and Lending.” Investing in developing your marketing team’s skills will be essential in 2021. As the bank marketer’s role continues to expand, with some areas expedited by COVID-19, opportunities need to be available to grow abilities around data, analytics, technology and innovation.

The other lesson learned about COVID-19 was that “crisis creates opportunity,” a theme presented by John Hanley, SVP Director of Marketing and the team from Equity Bank. The bank marketers who inserted themselves into strategic conversations and made their voices heard during the pandemic showcased their value across the entire organization. This is a lesson to learn and an opportunity too costly to ignore. As Kareen Partee, CMO from Texas Bank and Trust, noted, “they needed to hear our voice, and now they’re asking for it.” Marketers, it is time to be heard!

With all of this taken into consideration, it was evident that marketers want to get back to marketing and are looking for guidance, and in some cases, the perfect answer as to how to get out of the daily grind of crisis-communicator to strategic and innovative marketer.

So, how can Social Assurance help? By providing you the resources you need. We discussed more of the convention’s content and themes alongside some of the brightest bank marketers and advisory board members in our Unconventional Convo LIVE series, co-hosted by Shelly Loftin from the ABA.

You can watch this three-part series now.

Watch Session One

John Oxford, Nicole Almeida, CFMP, Siya Vansia, Shelley Regin, CFMP and Theresa Wendhausen, discuss all things conference and bank marketing.

Watch Session Two

Jaime Faulkner, CFMP, and Chris Nichols discuss the importance of being agile with your marketing strategy and how banks need to utilize the vast and complex skillsets marketers have today.

Watch Session Three

Hunter Young, founder of HIFI Agency, Kimberley Kaschke, CFMP, and Felicia Brown, CFMP address the new role of marketing, which has gone from “cookies and punch” to roles in data and analytics, digital strategy, and the customer experience.

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