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When In-House Marketing Needs Outside Help

By Lisa Dowis
Blakely + Company Account Manager

As VP of Marketing for a Denver Community Bank, I sat staring at the blinking cursor on my laptop, admitting to myself I had no idea how to change the website page laid out in front of me. I had no experience with HTML, and to be honest, I didn’t want to start building that side of my resume at this very moment. I just wanted a techno-savior to land alongside my desk, make the changes, and hit SAVE! As the lone-wolf marketing lead at this community bank, I soon learned that management thought marketing was a big murky bucket and I was the mop. In fact, as I built the marketing plan for the following year … the bucket just kept getting deeper.

While I certainly had experience executing tactics as Marketing Manager at a similar bank in a previous position (and had been clear in communicating to management of my new bank that I would absolutely need to hire outside resources to assist me), I was tasked with living within a very tight budget.

Signs you might need outside help

What to do? The bank needed public relations help to modify a slightly tarnished community image. The website needed a fresh look and relevant content that complied with regulations. The collateral materials had not been updated in over five years. The new mortgage group needed a direct mail campaign, and fast! The lenders wanted updated pictures and bios on the website, and a new bank logo was top priority on the list of changes. This was only the first list I created. The secondary list involved updating forms (and in banks, there are lots of forms!). I needed help—and I needed it quickly.

Initially, I thought I could use one of the existing resources the bank had used for several years to help with a variety of projects. I also worked at building a list of contacts from the members of the Board and the lending officers, but having all of these different relationships would be time-consuming for me, and their input would not necessarily provide a consistent look or feel to our brand.

In my previous position, I had worked closely with a medium-sized, local advertising agency. They had helped me build a new website on a platform that was easy for me to make changes and manage content. The agency assisted me with crisis communications when an unfortunate situation happened in the bank’s parking lot. The agency also provided me with one account manager, whom I worked with on a regular basis. I grew to know and love this person for her knowledge of our business and the partnership she provided.

Working hand in hand with an agency

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I found this agency relationship to be a true extension of my job. I had access to professionals who did nothing but specialize and focus on their particular marketing segment. With a public relations expert who not only knew all of the local media contacts but how to approach them for potential coverage, we built a reputation of being the go-to resource for everything related to banking.

When I needed ideas to help communicate the benefits of a personal banking relationship, the agency brought me fresh concepts that lasted the test of time and garnered tremendous attention for our bank.

Next, when I needed layouts for an electronic statement campaign, the talented graphic designers at the agency produced vibrant designs that grabbed the attention of our customers, providing the exact results we were looking for.

I knew that using this particular agency would help me look like a marketing genius in the eyes of the company. I would no longer be considered just a “mop,” but rather an artist with a paintbrush. I would now be able to manage the brand and the plan from a strategic and managerial position. Specifically, using this agency allowed me access to resources, experience and expertise that I alone could not provide.

Coming full circle

Now as an Account Manager at Blakely + Company, I am a good example of how businesses of any size can benefit from the depth of a Colorado Springs marketing agency. In addition, by prioritizing my marketing needs with Blakely (while still at that bank), I was able to stay on budget and build a clear and consistent message across all materials. The convenience, savings and expertise of this agency made my marketing job more efficient, more fun and more productive.

Here’s hoping you find the balance of in-house marketing and advertising agency that works best for you and your organization!