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Solving Problems…Marketing Style

Marketing problems often have an ethereal component

When it comes to marketing, there is seemingly one constant: Problems.

Most problems come with easy fixes.

Many do not.

The chief issue with ‘marketing problems’ is there is not a so one size fits all formula for solving the issue. Many seem to exist without concrete components to ‘fix’ and float around in some distant atmosphere that makes as much dollars and sense logic and most analytics.


Well, maybe because every problem is different.

Every marketing problem that emerges comes with it’s own unique set of factors that require you to chuck many logical constraints and give way to other elements of concern.

I’ll give you two examples from the financial sector.

First, was a community bank that was a fairly ‘new kid on the block’. At least compared to local competition. They had existed for around six years when we first met. Their concern was a typical one: Our marketing dollars never help gain traction…we don’t know what’s effective and what’s not…what is helpful and what’s a waste of money.

Even in today’s atmosphere of analytics, these are still common complaints in the marketing space and present a certain problem.

The Solution…Step One: The Discovery

The first objective? Examine the bank’s past marketing efforts. We looked at the media chosen. The creative put in place. Compared it to month-to-month goals for accounts and loan transactions. Compared it to the brand direction that they were headed.

The Solution…Step Two: Connecting the Dots

Through ‘The Discovery’ we learned that the media mix was solid–on point with the target audience and also in terms of their consistency. The problems were mainly in the creative message. It simply held no relevance that spoke to the consumer in a distinct way. It lacked a differentiation that was blandly missing the point of the brand. Yes, it ‘said’ certain things that were ‘on-brand’, but it needed to resonate. There current creative approach was not. It needed to be more relatable to the target audience in a relevant way. Not only did it not stand out…their current messaging didn’t matter.

The Solution…Step Three: Bringing the Dots to Life

With the dots connected, now we needed to help them form a picture…a solution that addressed this particular marketing problem. The creative was changed to bring in a brand spokesperson–someone who could personify the brand and make it relatable to the target audience. Someone who could truly make it a relevant message.

The Result…

It worked. The spokesperson truly connected with the market in a relatable way that truly personified the brand and growth followed. The bank increased their Total Assets 32 percent in less than three years, drawing interest from potential merger suitors.

Another example was a small credit union. The complaint was similar.

The Solution…Step One: The Discovery

Again, our first item of business was to examine the credit union’s past marketing efforts. Again, we looked at their media strategy as well as the creative message being relayed. Month-to-month results for accounts and loan transactions were inspected and all was compared to the brand direction for the credit union.

The Solution…Step Two: Connecting the Dots

Through ‘The Discovery’ we learned that the media mix was haphazard. There was no media plan in place, but rather advertising was placed and ‘tried’ out here and there. It seems the credit union was being ‘$100-dollared to death’…trying this for a few hundred, buying this ad to help a school, etc., with no strategy at its backbone. No strategy meant no focus and certainly a lack of results.

Focus was also dampening the creative message. Taglines are a great way to relay what your business is all about–putting a distinctive and clear-cut relevant, branded message in front of the consumer. The President of the credit union would use a tagline and then soon get tired of it, prompting a complete change.

The problem that emerges from this is a definitive lack of continuity from touchpoint to touchpoint and campaign to campaign. It’s almost like starting over with a new business with every new digital ad or streaming spot. That lack of continuity is damaging as consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages every day.

An ad that builds upon the last and the several before that begins to resonate. A new approach takes time to build. Yes, it’s certainly understandable that employees within the walls of the brand ‘get tired’ of the same messaging. Actually, it’s completely understandable…it’s why brands evolve. However, evolution is not a completely new approach every few months. Remember, just when employees are sick of it–the consumer is just grasping it.

The Solution…Step Three: Bringing the Dots to Life

Continuity. Continuity. Continuity. It’s critical–in both the media strategy that you select and stick to and the creative message. Therefore, we examined the market and developed a media strategy to garner as many eyeballs as possible, as efficiently as possible. Next, we created a definitive tagline that emerged from our research phase (BrandFOCUS) and made that tagline stick. This allowed the credit union to finally ‘stand for something’ consistently, rather than the previous headline of the month approach, which never completely stuck in the minds of either members or prospects.

The Result…

It worked. In time, the credit union’s message resonated with prospects and member’s alike, creating growth that earned the institution status as the fastest growing credit union in the state.

Marketing problems are unique. Each is different and requires a fresh look and a fresh approach. If we can help solve an issue that you’re working on, let us know. Don’t hesitate to call us 865.531.5874 or email us at today. Or, feel free to email me personally at

By Scott Trueblood, of BrandVision Marketing. BrandVision Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Knoxville, TN.


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