How this mentality could impact a financial institution’s success for the next 10 years

 

Written by Julie Molitor, VP of Marketing at NewGround

 

Over the course of being a new mother for the past seven years, I constantly find myself drawing parallels between my personal life with my two young boys and my professional life as the VP of Marketing at NewGround. My children are small: I have a two-year-old son and a five-year-old son. They are wild, adventurous, and pure at heart. They are also messy and overall, can be a lot to handle.

In theory, our organizations can look a lot like this. A little messy and wild sometimes, but overall, pretty amazing. All organizations need to set aside time every year for strategic reassessment and refresh. But in a world that is constantly throwing us new challenges daily, the thought of pausing to think, create, and assess can seem insanely cumbersome. On top of that, as leaders we read articles and commentary regarding how our consumers are changing, technology is taking over, the “branch is dead,” and so on and so forth.

When it comes to thinking about how financial institutions and retailers plan for the future, I’ve come back to a metaphor with my children: sometimes we just have to crawl for a while before we can walk.

That’s right. I am suggesting that some of us must crawl for a bit before we take giant steps into our future. But what does it mean for us to crawl? What does that look like for many of us in the financial institution and retail space?

One word. Data.

It’s not complicated and it’s not elusive. Understanding data is how you start to crawl and eventually walk and run as you build for the future.

There is no time like the present.

No matter when you are reading this, you are in some phase of strategic planning. You may not think you are but trust me, you are. Remember that strategic planning doesn’t look the same for everyone. Your process may involve pondering ideas with your leadership team or gathering critical information through various sources. Or, you might be redefining your core values and brand identity. It’s all strategic planning and it is all part of the process.

Don’t forget that data is what we use to empower that strategic process. It’s key in how we advance conversations to drive the decisions we make for the future of our organizations.

Why now is a good time to crawl?

A market study is a great place to start for those of us looking to understand the data around our locations, our areas for growth, or even places to reduce expenses. It can uncover answers to questions that allow us to make strategic, educated conclusions about how we advance our brands well into the future.

Are my branches in the right location?
Should I close a location?
Where are my underperforming locations?
Where are my most engaged members or customers?
Is my back office large enough for future growth?

Market studies can transform how you attract new members and customers, as well as retain your hard-earned followers. They can significantly alter how you think about expansion or even physical changes to your interiors and marketing spend.

In essence, understanding your data is how you begin to crawl, walk, and then eventually run-just like many of our children do. At NewGround, we firmly believe in a Strategy First mentality. It is our core belief that we must discover who you are by understanding your data before anything else can occur.

Click to see how our friends at City and County Credit Union advanced their brand by using NewGround’s data learnings.