Over the past few days at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Denver, we’ve heard quite a few ideas and concepts being talked about repeatedly. Some of what we’re hearing includes:
- Experience – a concept that we heard a lot about at last year’s conference is still on many attendees’ minds. Joseph Pine’s opening keynote discussed the progression from businesses selling commodities to goods; goods to services; services to experiences; and experiences to transformations. While some institutions certainly pay attention to the complete customer experience, many are stuck simply selling services or goods – which raises concerns regarding commoditization.
- Transformation – as I mentioned above, Joe Pine emphasized the importance of transformation in today’s competitive environment; the idea was mentioned in many of the presentations. As Pine described it, beyond creating a customer experience, successful companies will be those that are transformational – those that are able to transform their customers’ lives in some respect. The emphasis here raises concerns for me, as many institutions havn’t fully grasped the concept of creating and managing the customer experience – which needs to happen before trying to become transformational.
- Differentiation – we’ve heard much more discussion around the issue of differentiation than we did at last year’s conference – which is encouraging. While the marketers here seem to understand the importance, we are hearing a lot of frustration around how to convince senior management and boards that differentiation needs to be part of the overall marketing strategy.
- Segmentation - a topic we didn’t hear much about last year, segmentation has certainly become a much more well-known concept, and one that seems to be working its way into many institutions’ strategies. I’m impressed with the level that people are talking about the topic. As an example, people were talking about the many segments that make up Generation Y – where last year, the broad group of Generation Y was talked about very generally.
As attendees return home from the conference, I hope that these concepts can make their way into next year’s marketing strategies. It’s a departure from years past – as none of these concepts offer a turn-key solution – they will vary from market to market, and from one institution to the next.