Not Your Grandma’s Banking – How to Market Banks When Everything is Going Digital

Guest: Paul Kadin & Sarah Welch - Senior Advisor & Director, Novantas

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Not Your Grandma’s Banking – How to Market Banks When Everything is Going Digital

Whether you’re a small business catering to a consumer, or an enterprise tech company targeting fortune 500 giants—the changes in how banks are approaching branding and marketing can provide a great template for successful marketing in the modern era.

When most people have a banking issue to resolve, they usually open up their mobile app, or visit a website—in-person banking is starting to take a back seat to digital mediums. That’s the shift Paul Kadin and Sarah Welch, of analytics and advisory firm Novantas, are wrangling. In this episode, they discuss how banks are evolving, and how those banks are championing new, universal principles of successful B2B and B2C marketing.

Listen in! You won’t want to miss this episode.

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What You’ll Learn

What banks need to do to succeed?

Paul and Sarah share that successful banks have three things in common. They satisfy what people expect from them. A bank will not succeed if it does not offer basic customer service or features. Secondly, successful banks are distinct. They answer the question, “Why should I choose this bank over another bank?” Their products and service must set them apart. Lastly, successful banks make their voice heard in the marketplace. Banks can have all the right feature but must spend sufficiently enough to raise their voice enough to be heard.

Banks that are distinctive and why

Paul, Sarah, and Drew discuss multiple banks that are killing it on being distinctive.

  • Huntington Bank markets itself as being on the side of the customer. They are living and breathing their value proposition on products, pricing, marketing messages, and customer experience.  Banks are known for nickel and diming customers, but Huntington extends a 24-hour grace window, allowing customers 24 hours to write a check to cover an overdraft, before incurring a fee.
  • First Republic is a bank that goes above and beyond, helping customers. This bank is very specific on what companies and individuals it takes on as customers, and focuses on the more affluent. Because it has a more niche customer base, First Republic is able to serve its customers how they would like to be served.
  • USAA is a bank with extreme intimacy around one focus group – those who have served in the military and their families. If you are in this target group, their service is unbeatable. They also hire retired service people, so they hire from the target demographic they serve.
  • TD Bank has branded itself as America’s most convenient bank. Everything they had decided is based on convenience. For example, they are open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Marketing banks: finding an emotional pitch and making it real

Marketing banks is hard. Banks have thought about things in terms of creating new features and improving functionality, but there is a whole other dimension: emotion. Money creates emotion: anxiety or satisfaction. Banks have to appeal to the emotional side of the customer, but this must also be lived out in experience. As banking moves away from person to person and towards digital, banks must figure out how to be emotionally connected through a digital relationship. To make this happen, Sarah and Paul share that banks must have a clearly designed core target, and then drive experience around it. All experiences, whether in person or digital, need to be serving the bank’s brand.


  • [1:55] Introduction to Paul and Sarah
  • [8:50] Bank branches are decreasing, but brand, marketing and digital are increasing
  • [10:24] What banks need to do to succeed
  • [14:19] Which banks are distinctive in today’s market?
  • [17:43] How focussing on a designed target can help banks
  • [21:33] How banks (and other businesses) can distinguish themselves
  • [24:30] The need to find an emotional pitch and make it real
  • [31:07} How to make media spending cut through the noise
  • [35:51] B2B vs. B2C marketing for banks
  • [40:54] What is state of the art in attribution modeling

Connect With Paul Kadin and Sarah Welch:

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew

Meet the Guest

Paul Kadin is a senior marketing oriented general manager with demonstrated success in accelerating sales and profit growth for consumer packaged goods, financial services, and marketing technology companies. He is a Senior Advisor at Novantas. Paul heads Novantas’ marketing strategy practice, helping marketers in consumer banking navigate the transformation towards digital and big data technologies. Sarah Welch has been successfully launching and leading startups, brands, and initiatives for 15+ years, and is currently Director at Novantas, the leading consulting firm to the banking industry.

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