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                                                                         De p ar tmental Structu r e
                                                                         Depar tme ntal S tru ctu re s

The perfect marketing de-                                                          by Tanja Lian Sablosky

partment configuration does
not exist! Effective organizations grow
out of individual market circumstances as
well as your bank’s unique corporate culture.
We profile the set-ups of four sample com-
munity-bank marketing departments.

                                      W         henever the marketing department in a community bank
                                                grows beyond a single person, a question arises: What is
                                                the optimal way of dividing up the marketing responsi-
                                                bilities? There are as many answers as there are financial
                                                institutions. Based on the bank’s market, its brand and its
                                                corporate culture—among other things—every institution
                                                organizes its marketing department slightly differently. One
                                                bank’s idea of the most effective structure is not necessarily
                                                the same as another’s.
                                                  Once an organization chart is developed, and market
                                                or business conditions change, marketers are continually
                                                pondering ways to tweak the chart. Marketers are curious
                                                about how other banks set up marketing. They ask: Is that
                                                bank’s marketing structure better than mine?
                                                  What follows are descriptions of four banks’ marketing
                                                structures and a brief assessment by the manager of how they
                                                are doing with the resources at hand. The profiles illustrate
                                                the wide variety of departmental configurations. Perhaps these
                                                overviews will confirm that your own organization is right on
                                                target. Or perhaps you’ll pick up some ideas that will help you

                                                fine-tune your own departmental set-up.

                                                                         ABA BANK MARKETING SEPTEMBER 2006 17
                                                                   “We wear a lot of hats.“
 Executive Vice President,
      Marketing and
    Personal Banking                                                 —Sue Sjoselius, Executive Vice President, Northeast Bank,
                                                                      Minneapolis, Minn.

                                                                                               manager. “We are primarily a commercial
                                                                                               bank,” says Sjoselius, “so we have a strong
   Marketing Assistant                                                                         officer-call program. Our commercial lend-
                                                                                               ers go out and knock on doors, and we
                                                                                               coordinate that effort.”
                                                                                                   Sjoselius uses an outside consultant
                                                                                               for major ads. Due to the nature of the
                                                                                               bank’s business, most advertising is done
                                                                                               in business publications or through state-
                                                                                               ment stuffers. There are some consumer
                                                                                               ads and customer appreciation efforts.
                                                                                               Sjoselius does not use any television,
                                                                                               cable or radio placements.
                             Colleen Corona        Sue Sjoselius
                                                                                                   “We control communications through-
                                                                                               out the bank because we are responsible
A Two-Person Team                                 To focus the bank’s marketing goals,         for compliance,” notes Sjoselius. Because
Sue Sjoselius                                  “We do have a marketing executive com-          the personal bankers report to Sjoselius,
Executive Vice President                       mittee that meets quarterly, and that           she says there is “a lot of communication
Northeast Bank                                 committee is key to the bank’s and mar-         in all ways. We talk to them first before
Minneapolis, Minn.                             keting’s success. During our meetings,          proposing ideas to the executive level. We
Asset size: $320 million                       we discuss projects for the year, and the       have a good collaborative effort.” Sjoselius
Locations: Three (including main office)       committee offers input on a number of           is the first contact person with upper man-
Total employees: 85                            areas and determines if the strategic plan      agement, especially when it comes to
Marketing employees: 2                         is a good one.” On the 10-person execu-         compliance. Then she passes on commu-
                                               tive committee are the owner/chairman,          nication to be distributed by Corona.
    When Sue Sjoselius joined Northeast        the president, the chief financial offi-            “There isn’t too much overlap between
Bank 22 years ago, there was no for-           cer, the chief operating officer, and all       me and Colleen,” says Sjoselius. Corona
mal marketing department. At that              the executive vice presidents including         concurs, “We have clear roles, good com-
time, the bank chairman and owner han-         branch managers. “The only downside             munication, and a healthy respect for
dled the marketing. As the bank grew,          to being a small marketing department           each other,” she says.
the chairman decided its marketing efforts     working with a large marketing execu-               Sjoselius says she wouldn’t change a
needed to be more sophisticated, and the       tive committee is getting everyone on the       thing about her marketing department
position Sjoselius now holds was created       same page!” says Sjoselius.                     structure. “We’re very comfortable with the
in 1993. “The best advantage to being the         At Northeast Bank, sales is a part of        size of our department. If I were to add any
first in the position is you can create your   marketing; there is no separate sales           staff, it would be compliance staff.”
own job,” says Sjoselius. In 1994, Colleen
Corona joined her as a part-time assistant;
she was made full-time in 1996. Together
these two women have been the market-
ing team, handling all aspects of market-
ing (and then some) and handling steadily
increasing responsibilities for 10 years.
    “We wear a lot of hats,” says Sjoselius.
For example, Sjoselius develops and
writes the strategic plan and marketing
plan; handles and oversees compliance               One bank’s idea
for marketing; manages CRA issues; and
leads retail management by having the               of the most effec-
personal bankers report to her. Corona
handles all the volunteer efforts of the            tive structure is
employees, special events planning,
and communication to the employees.                 not necessarily the
She visits each of the bank’s locations
and coordinates the annual pancake                  same as another’s.
breakfast that recognizes the bank’s
volunteers. Corona also manages audits
to update data.

                                                    Senior Vice President,
                                                       Marketing and
                                                     Investor Relations

    Vice President                                       Marketing               Community and                Marketing Assistant
     Marketing                                        Research Officer        Public Relations Officer            (part-time)

                                                 “Right now, we are working perfectly,
                                                  like a well-oiled machine.“
                                                   —Elizabeth Eckel, Senior Vice President, The Washington Trust Co.,
                                                    Westerly, R.I.

Not Just Retail Marketing                        intranet design. She also is head of inves-             tegic part of the marketing plan included
Elizabeth Eckel                                  tor relations, covering all communication               adding billboard and television presence
Senior Vice President                            with shareholders, and the investment                   to create that brand awareness.”
The Washington Trust Co.                         community. She also handles media rela-                     To aid in entering the new market,
Westerly, R.I.                                   tions. In addition, she oversees the work               Eckel’s group is now building a marketing
Asset size: $2.4 billion                         of the marketing communications offi-                   customer information file (MCIF) to make
Locations: 16, including 4 wealth                cer, who works on desktop publishing                    it easier to target new customers and to be
   management offices                            and sales and business development; the                 more cost efficient than placing ads.
Total employees: 480                             marketing research officer, who handles                     During the development of the market-
Marketing employees: 5.5                         the MCIF, research and focus groups; the                ing plan, the group meets with product
                                                 community relations/public relations offi-              managers separately to discuss what they
   In the 15 years Beth Eckel has been with      cer who handles press releases, corporate               have put together for marketing and how
the bank, she has seen big changes in the        sponsorships, employee volunteerism and                 to achieve goals for each line of business.
marketing department. “We used to be part        much more; and a part-time marketing                        Eckel says, “Right now, we are
of retail banking until 1999. We were doing      assistant, whom Eckel credits with “keep-               working perfectly, like a well-oiled
lots of retail, but then added commercial        ing us organized!”                                      machine,” but if she could change a
and wealth management.” The change led              A strategic planning group that includes             few things, she says she might make
to hiring new employees to handle sepa-          all senior managers and all major depart-               community relations and public rela-
rate areas in marketing.                         ments meets several times a year to develop             tions two separate jobs because she
   “We hired a community relations per-          a strategic plan for the next three to five             believes there is enough work for two
son/public relations person in 2000 and          years. Recently, the plans began covering               separate positions. She also says it
a part-time marketing assistant last year.       10 years and incorporating new business                 would be great to have someone to
Before that, titles were different and           lines and geographic and financial goals.               handle the MCIF full time, and some-
responsibilities were distributed differently.   The new plans also identify the bank’s cus-             one to take on investor relations full-
   As senior vice president, Eckel leads         tomer base and potential more clearly.                  time. And, of course, it would be great
her group and also has major respon-                “The Washington Trust Co. traditionally              to have a full-time marketing assistant.
sibilities for corporate marketing. She          has been a southern Rhode Island bank                       “We have quarterly conference calls
is the direct link to the executive office       with 50 percent of the market share in the              and four investment presentations and
and handles everything from brand strat-         area,” says Eckel. “We started gaining in               added research analyses. These functions
egy to writing letters for the president         market share in central Rhode Island and                are different from marketing and could and
                                                                                                         should be separate functions,” she says.

and chairman, and to Web content and             needed to build brand awareness. A stra-

                                                                                                           ABA BANK MARKETING SEPTEMBER 2006 19
                                                                           The bank’s perspective on
                                                                           marketing changed in 1999/2000
  Senior Vice President,
    Sales and Serice

                                                                           when it adopted a sales culture
                                                                           and added focus to marketing.

    Vice President of
                                   MCIF Coordinator
   Strategic Marketing

Everyone Juggles Multiple Jobs                        goals, we’re doing well. But everyone
Alex Cook                                             needs to be proactive,” says Cook.
Vice President/Strategic Marketing Manager               Home Federal switched to a com-
Home Federal Bank Corp.                               mercial state bank from a thrift in 2001,
Middlesboro, Ky.                                      and that added to the need for change
Asset size: $300 million                              in marketing. “We have primarily resi-
Locations: 5                                          dential portfolios, but we also do com-
Total employees: 82                                   mercial lending. We do not offer credit
Marketing employees: 2, plus MCIF coordinator         cards, though,” says Cook.
                                                          With the recent changes to the bank
   Alex Cook has been with Home                       and the new focus on marketing and
Federal for five years. He started as an              sales culture, Cook says he finds the
advertising coordinator and vice pres-                current marketing department ideal.
ident of sales and services and now                   “There are real pros to being just two
reports to the senior vice president of               in the department,” he says. “You get to know exactly
sales and service, Patti Qualls. He also              what’s going on, and we have a great working relation-
works with the MCIF coordinator, but                  ship. We are really involved and work closely together.
does not have any administrative staff.               We get to ‘touch everything’ since we are just two.” Cook
In most small banks, everyone juggles                 admits that it is a little harder to get everything done and
many jobs. At Home Federal, Qualls also               it is easy to get pulled in different directions, but with
handles human resources. “She does                    only two people involved, he says it helps them keep
all the interviewing, hiring and firing,              control of what is going on.
which is where she began in the bank,”                   “The fit in the people you work with allows you to work
says Cook, “but insurance and benefits                a little thinner. We both work with the MCIF coordinator,
are handled by the finance department.”               and when she’s out, I can do what’s needed in her place,
   Both Cook and Qualls have seats                    although not to the same level,” says Cook.
on the assets and liabilities committee                  If he had to name a change to the department,
for the bank and both are part of the                 Cook admits that they could use more help with mar-
strategic planning process. All market-               ket research—just one more person to help get things
ing managers and department heads                     done—but overall he finds his market-
participate in annual strategic planning              ing department structure is ideal, at
meetings, a total of about 15 people.                 least for now.
   Cook’s responsibilities are broad. He
works with an agency on television and
radio production, and is involved in the writ-
ing, too.
   Cook says the bank’s perspective on
marketing changed in 1999/2000 when
it adopted a sales culture and added
focus to marketing. “Our markets are
fairly stagnant,” says Cook, “We need
to go above and beyond to get our
market share.”
   To measure their progress, Cook says
he and Qualls assess their growth goals
regularly. “As long as we’re meeting our

                                                                                                                              Susan Bergen-Painter

                                                    Executive Vice President

                                 CRM Strategies
 Vice President Planning                                Local Marketing        Vice President Marketing       Community Relations
          and                                              Manager              Communications and                  Officer
   Analytics Manager                                                            Promotions Manager

Aiming for a Marketing-Driven Bank                    Bergen-Painter’s responsibilities                   Bergen-Painter. The bank still does bank-
Susan Bergen-Painter                              include corporate communications,                       wide marketing efforts to gain economies
Executive Vice President—Marketing                shareholder communications, strategic                   of scale.
First National Bank of Chester County             planning, and more, including oversee-                     The community relations manager
West Chester, Pa.                                 ing five other marketing officers. The vice             is a hybrid of the original focus and
Asset size: $845 million                          president of marketing planning and ana-                handles all community events, spon-
Locations: 15 full service locations,             lytics conducts market research and anal-               sorships, press releases and media
   6 mini-branches                                ysis, client data analysis, and marketing               relations. With all these new positions
Total employees: 250                              effectiveness analysis. This position helps             came one sacrifice—Bergen-Painter’s
Marketing employees: 6                            identify new functions for the bank. The                group gave up clerical support to have
                                                  vice president of marketing communica-                  an additional job role included.
   Susan Bergen-Painter has been with             tions and promotions handles advertis-                     As far as measuring the success of
the bank for only a year, but that is             ing, merchandising, channel marketing,                  the department, Bergen-Painter says
long enough for her to have seen major            sales collateral and related concerns.                  “marketing is the integrator of all busi-
changes in the bank’s marketing struc-            The customer relationship management                    ness lines. In a short time, we have
ture and focus.                                   (CRM) strategies manager is in charge of                established that we are that integrator.
   About a year before Bergen-Painter came        the CRM system and programs and lead                    We help decide if we go to new mar-
on board, the long-time owner and chair-          lists. Although the bank had invested in                kets or stay with the group. We are at
man, a personality and force that defined         a CRM system several years ago, it had                  the table when we should be, and we
the bank, passed away. There was some             never been really activated. Now it has                 now have the characteristics of a true
question whether the bank would be able           been brought into the marketing area                    marketing-driven organization.”        ■
to survive without its dynamic leader. The        and its scope has expanded beyond the
new leadership was drawn from existing            call center where it had been housed.
bank executives who created a new team                 Bergen-Painter also has a “local”
to lead the bank into its next phase. Bergen-     marketing manager who works on spe-
Painter says the new duo brings a good            cific issues with lines of business or
balance to leadership—they assessed the           particular branches versus bankwide
needs and grew the marketing department           programs. This position is key to the                       Tanja Lian Sablosky, is a former
from two persons (a director and market-          bank’s high-touch approach, which
ing assistant) to the six-person team led by      Bergen-Painter says big banks try to                    editor of ABA Bank Marketing magazine.
Bergen-Painter today.                             copy. “We’re able to give more and
   Under the bank’s former leadership,            leverage even more when we want to                      She writes from Herndon, Va.
Bergen-Painter says the financial insti-          reach our local markets,” she says. Local
tution was a typical community bank               markets are defined as within a 2-mile
with traditional roles, and its market-           radius from one of the bank’s locations.
ing was limited to ad placement and               “We do more than the typical community                       How useful was this article?
community events. Now, with Bergen-               bank,” says Bergen-Painter. “We really are                   Please use the postage-free
Painter as a member of the executive              ingrained in the community.” By having                       Reader Opinion Card provided
management team, marketing has many               a local marketing manager, the bank is                       in this issue or leave a message
more responsibilities. Marketing is also          able to help each branch identify its own                    at (202) 663-5075. You can also
part of the strategic planning efforts            important local (versus county) market-                      send comments by e-mail to
helping to identify opportunities and             ing opportunities. “The local marketing            
make informed decisions instead of                manager really is working on a client-
going on hunches.                                 by-client basis with each branch,” says

                                                                                                            ABA BANK MARKETING SEPTEMBER 2006 21

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