“Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning,” so attested Bill Gates of the factors behind Microsoft’s decades-long dominance. While he was discussing his experience, he could have just as easily been pointing to our community banking industry.
Because as community bankers, we rely on our partners for solutions from customer-facing technology to back-end efficiencies. With our emphasis on customer relationships, we have to get our partnerships right to ensure our customers stay satisfied and engaged with our banks. In fact, in many ways our partners can be our biggest asset to help us remain competitive and capture new market share now and into the future.
At State Bank Northwest our mission statement says that we’re a full-service bank on a first-name basis. Full-service means offering card solutions that meet the evolving needs and interests of our customer base and are on par with competing offers. Through ICBA Bancard, my bank has access to the same card features as the big banks—creating a level playing field.
To continue growing my bank, I need a marketing program that speaks to our unique offerings, supporting the expansion of current customer engagement while attracting next-generation customers. As a small, nimble institution, I don’t have a huge marketing department, so among other resources, we turn to Bancard to help us promote our card solutions. Their team has done a top-notch job in providing turnkey campaigns with a simple roll-out, and we participate in each one. I can tell you that those efforts pay off in our card issuance and growth.
But in today’s shifting landscape, payments have risen in prominence as big tech works to capture our market share—which is why it is more important than ever to market our card programs. Our customers need to know that we offer competitive products, and they can get what they need directly from our institutions. Now’s the time to strengthen our promotional efforts to shore up continued customer engagement.
Yet, stepping up our marketing game doesn’t mean we need to toss out our current promotional strategies. Quite the contrary, taking simple steps like including Bancard’s free contactless card and mobile payment benefits statement inserts in your mailers will increase awareness and adoption of your digital payment offerings. In addition, taking a deeper dive into retention, usage, and activation numbers will provide great insights, and Bancard offers related marketing tips that go a long way toward increasing the bottom line.
No matter how we look at it, cards are no longer a one-off product; they are intricately tied to our bank’s digital and customer retention and acquisition strategies. That’s why we need to turn up the dial on our payments promotional efforts, and Bancard offers solutions that simplify this initiative. With ICBA Bancard, we have a tremendous resource, and I’d say that as far as partners go, you can’t ask for more than that.
Greg Deckard is ICBA Bancard’s chairman and is the CEO and chairman of State Bank Northwest, a $190 million-asset institution headquartered in Spokane, Wash.