It's not your brand: It's your customers'. If they don't own the brand, it will never be effective. Improper brand focus is only one of five common marketing mista.

AuthorBleedorn, Gina

When your customers think of your bank, what words immediately come to mind? Innovative? How about convenient? Or even individual? If these words didn't instantly spring to mind, you are probably not doing your marketing right.

As banks move from decidedly conservative in-branch business models to more nimble, technology-based businesses, the way banks market themselves makes all the difference in determining who keeps and who loses the customer--and who converts a customer into a brand advocate and who hands him or her to another more tuned-in, hip and accessible bank brand.

Whether you attract and retain a customer is no longer primarily about the tan-gibles--your rates, services, benefits, locations and branches. In fact, it's not really about you at all. It's about them--your customers.

Banks that have achieved successful marketing campaigns have done so by analyzing how customers relate to the bank--and not by focusing entirely on themselves. Looking through the customer's eyes, successful brands identify key principles according to what the customers want and value in their bank. Successful banks have honed the brand's personality by determining how their customers relate to their bank. They have translated their brand personality into their customer's world.

What kind of relationship customers have with your brand is everything in today's marketing environment.

Many marketers see technological innovation as a category unto itself. But research shows that it's our country's demographic shift that is really informing the advancement of technology. Consider that Millennia's, or Generation Y, make up almost 30 percent of the U.S. population and already outnumber Gen X two to one. What we can learn from marketing efforts toward this generation will inform future marketing efforts, because this is the generation that is experiencing more technological advances than at any time previously in history. This is the generation that rapidly adapts to change and intuitively adopts new technologies.

While some bank brands continue "business-as-usual"--es-sentially writing off this younger generation--this cohort of 80 million people has $200 billion M purchasing power and, quite frankly, makes up the future populations that will either be using--or perhaps not using--your products and services. Your bank brand's future literally hinges on this generation's openness to and adoption of your brand. Successful business marketers understand this and...

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