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Archive for October, 2010

Our friends at WOMMA have defined word of mouth marketing as:

“Giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place.”

For any company, this is easier said than done–admittedly. For banks and credit unions, it’s proven to be extremely challenging, for two reasons: a) banking isn’t really all that worth talking about, and b) marketers in banking are largely only experienced in fairly traditional marketing means.

I’m here to tell you that the hardest part about word of mouth marketing for banks and credit unions has nothing to do with marketing. Instead, it has everything to do with the first part of WOMMA’s definition: “creating something worth talking about.”

You see, creating a bank or credit union worth talking about is not about marketing. It’s simply about creating a remarkable company. It’s about creating a Purple Cow (in Seth Godin language). It’s about making the guts, the insides and the real essence of the company–not just the facade–special and interesting. ┬áIf you think of WOM as marketing, it’s easy to slip into a mindset where WOM is about creating interesting packaging; a buzzworthy cosmetic exterior people will talk about.

What further solidifies this problem for the financial industry is that creating an interesting marketing facade is easy (just pay an agency to do it for you), while creating a truly buzzworthy company is very hard (requiring lots of sweat equity and commitment to change). And in the banking industry, we tend to take the easier route…only to find it that it creates only fleeting buzz, if any at all.

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