The Importance of Strategic Planning and Branding for Financial Institutions: A Conversation with Mark Arnold

In the latest episode of the Garlic Marketing Show, host Ian Garlic talks with Mark Arnold, an expert in marketing for credit unions and banks, as well as the president of On the Mark Strategies. Arnold shares his insights and experiences in the field, highlighting the importance of strategic planning and branding for financial institutions.



But before we proceed, don’t forget that this episode is brought to you by Click here if you need help collecting, crafting, and delivering customer stories.


Opportunities in Economic Downturns

Arnold believes that economic downturns provide prime opportunities for companies to invest and gain market share. He argues that companies should focus on branding and marketing during these times to set themselves apart from the competition.


The Journey to Marketing Success

Arnold’s journey in marketing began as a lowly coordinator, trying to make ends meet. He eventually went back to another finance institution as VP of marketing and wrote multiple books on the subject. Arnold’s experience in the field has taught him the importance of strategic planning in successful marketing endeavors.


Cultural Branding for Financial Institutions

Arnold stresses that branding for credit unions and banks is far more cultural than collateral. Branding extends into everything from the lobby to how people talk about them when they’re not around. He recommends a four-step process to reach success with branding: research, strategy, design, and training staff on values and culture.

Notable Successes

Arnold has had notable successes with his clients, including a large credit union in South Carolina which won Marketer of the Year and a bank that saw an 80% increase in NPS. He worked with a financial institution on their strategic planning to raise their net promoter score, which is traditionally low in the industry. By mapping out the customer journey from start to finish and training staff accordingly, the institution saw an 80% net promoter score, best-in-class.

The Power of Video

Trend #2 for financial institutions is video. According to Arnold, conversion increases by 80%, the recall rate 30 days after watching is high, and the relationship with customers/members can be better established using video. Arnold recommends utilizing video case stories for training frontline staff.


Assessing Marketing Efforts

Arnold emphasizes the importance of assessing your marketing and utilizing a third-party perspective to identify good methods, bad methods, and areas that need improvement. He advises against becoming obsessed with competitors and instead focuses on what you can do better to gain more growth.


Service and Storytelling

Arnold emphasizes the importance of providing excellent service to customers as it is a great way to differentiate your brand. He also advises storytelling to get your message across and connect with different generations. Connecting with different generations is key for success in having happy customers and employees.


Connect with Mark Arnold

To learn more about Mark Arnold’s expertise in helping credit unions and banks grow through strategic planning, branding, and marketing, visit his website or LinkedIn page. You can also attend his engagements to learn more.


Watch the full episode now, and make sure to leave any questions or comments you have about the episode.