Strategic Planning

If you’re like many financial institutions, you’re probably gearing up for your next strategic planning meeting with your executive team and board of directors. And, I’m guessing like many of the bankers we speak with, you’ve worked through the credit, capital and regulatory fires and have your sights set on significant growth next year. And you probably realize that your competition has their eyes on the same goal.

So how you approach this strategic session is critical – do you have the right people around the table with the right skills to help you think about the big picture – and about being innovative – or at least creative in how to successfully compete and grow the bank? Can you inspire your “why that won’t work” group to go into this process with an open mind and try different approaches so they don’t drag down the other participants?

You may recall an article I published in 2011 about the 9 P’s of marketing – yes – 9 – not 4. Now’s the time to brush those off and include each one as part of your strategic planning process. If you want to grow in the short and long term, and build critical relationships with your customers, you must address each of these P’s and get your leadership to keep them in mind as you build your action plans for growth.

You know the first 4 P’s – product, price, promotion and place. To recap the other 5:

Purchaser. The center of your marketing efforts should focus on identifying and defining your target customer; the segment of the population and or business community that you want to grow and keep as customers.

People. A superior customer experience comes down to your employees, the people you have speaking to customers. Are they smart, professional and pleasant and can they really help your customers? And while you’re hiring and training the right people, don’t overlook how you motivate them. It’s a basic tenet of psychology that you get the action you reward – so if you’re rewarding for xxxxx, don’t expect yyyyy.

Process. How easy are your procedures to understand and execute? Your customers are busy – and they want a simple process to get answers and help. If it’s torture to set up a new product or service, they’ll be less inclined to do so and your employees will find a way to not sell it.

Positioning. It’s your brand, your reputation, what you’re known for. In this brave new world, nobody can be all things to all people. Being equally good at everything means not being very good at anything. So you have to stake out a market niche and then meet those people’s needs very, very well.

Purpose. So why are you doing what you’re doing – what messages are you communicating about why you are in business? And what do your employees and customers think is most important? Aligning your message with customer expectations and employee delivery is a surefire way to be clear about who you are.

If your goal is to grow your profitable customer base, assets and or deposits next year then start planning for it now – and keep these P’s in mind to make the most of your 2014 strategic planning efforts.

As always, if you need help with strategic planning for growth, contact me at 303-795-3539 or and let’s discuss what you want to accomplish!


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