Marketing plans expand upon the marketing section of business plans to lay down comprehensive strategies for creating and marketing products to a defined target market. Commercial banks serve consumers and businesses by providing deposit accounts, loans and other personal finance products and services. The commercial banking industry is highly saturated in the United States, requiring banks to rely on solid, innovative marketing plans to attract customers from competitors.
Commercial banks serve a wide range of customers, making it challenging to define a single target customer group. Thinking in broad terms, however, can lead you to a target market definition broad enough to cover the majority of your customers. Although people of all demographics patronize commercial banks, these institutions can serve consumers with specific psychological or geographic characteristics. A bank may choose to target lower-income individuals and families, for example, or to target people within a certain state.
After defining your target market as specifically as you can, move on to list all of the existing commercial banks serving that market. Perform extensive research to build a chart or matrix listing your competitors' names, product offerings, interest and fee structures, number and location of outlets, relative size and any other strategic information that will help you craft your own suite of services. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, and look for opportunities and threats arising from their presence in the market.
Thoroughly describe your products and services. Your product and service descriptions should flow naturally from the identification of your target and the analysis of competition. Describe exactly how your products and services meet the needs of your target market while going beyond your competitors' offerings. Describe any unique features of your checking accounts, savings accounts and loan products, as well as any additional services you provide, such as budget assistance, online bill payment services or identity-protection programs.
Advertising, promotions, sales, customer service and public relations are what most people think of when they hear the word “marketing.” These five components make up the core of your marketing strategies, addressing the challenge of informing consumers about your bank and persuading them to do business with you. Craft an integrated strategy linking all five elements of marketing communications to one another to send a clear, unified message about your services to the market.
Comprehensive marketing plans should include a budget to govern all marketing expenses. Complete this section last, after you have considered all other elements of your marketing strategies. Use the information laid out above to determine how much money you need for advertising, promotions, market research and any other costly element of your strategy.