Cracking Fort Knox
WELCOME TO THE one story on the financial industry you're going to read this year that isn't about the recession, federal bailouts or corporate crime. Even better, the phrases "main street," "Pay-Czar," and "AIG" will appear in this sentence only. We won't even make cracks about Ben Bernanke's ridiculous beard or sedate, listless facial expressions, tempting as it may be. In fact, as far as we're concerned, there's not even any bad economic news to report. The financial industry is doing just fine.
Sure, banks are by no means thriving, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with them buying promotional products. After all, there are plenty of banks undergoing mergers, rebrandings or just general "get the sub-prime stink out" advertising initiatives right now. Not to mention all the mid-sized and smaller banks barely scratched by the banking collapse, just dying for someone to help them spend their marketing budgets.
So, advertising cash may be tighter, and there may be fewer banks to sell to overall, but there are still plenty of sales opportunities out there. Thankfully too, the general sales strategy hasn't changed much: Do your research and be as creative as possible.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. THEN, MORE RESEARCH.
Besides the basic and all-important background legwork that would go into any new client (learning the brand, reading up on client competitors, finding out who controls the budget, etc.), there is a fair bit more research to do with financial companies. For instance, an average-sized bank is likely going to have numerous semi-autonomous departments, each with their own goals, purposes, and most importantly, marketing budgets. Identifying these departments and learning their needs and goals can sometimes give an unexpected and critical "in" to a business, or perhaps just open up more substantial opportunities to sell than you might first expect.