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Q and A with ... Anna Lyon.

Anna Lyon

Assistant Vice President, Marketing Director

Franklin Savings Bank

Farmington, Maine

Asset Size: $310 Million

Nine branches (including main office)


Get to know one of your fellow Marketing Network members.

Q. What led you to bank marketing?

My background is in journalism, public relations, photography, art and advertising. I never imagined myself as a banker, but when the bank decided to create a bank marketing position, it ran a blind ad that seemed to suit my talents. It's been a great fit and I haven't looked back since.

What do you consider to be your area of greatest marketing expertise?

The creative work. Rather than be a banker doing creative work, I'm a creative individual focusing on banking. In contrast to work performed by outside agencies, my work is specific to our bank, our community and, consequently, very personal to the bank and our customers. This may not be practical for big banks, but it's ideal for our community bank.

Q. What was one of your biggest marketing successes?

Turning the tables in a crisis. I took the same tack for the current financial situation as for "the Millennium Bug." At that time, while people were questioning the safety of their money in banks over New Year's 2000, we launched The Millennium CD and began running ads with the theme, "Looking for someplace safe to stash your money?" This summer, we ran ads with an image of a slot machine with the tagline: "We won't gamble with your money."

Q. What was one of your biggest marketing mistakes?

Accidentally truncating our 800 and local number into a single nonfunctional number on a promotional refrigerator wipe-off board. Inevitably, it was the bank president was the one who noticed it. Rather than throw them all out, we set them aside to hand out for events that draw participants from outside our lending area, such as the Good Sam Club.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge marketers will face in the year ahead?

There are two: Immediate and long-term. In the short term, it's credibility. Although most community banks were not involved in the subprime lending that cracked the foundation of our financial system, the entire banking industry took a hit in the eye of the public. It has already been a challenge to make the distinction between community banks and other financial institutions, now we need to win back the trust of a public that feels violated. Down the line, we are facing an explosion of media and consumer choices that make the job of marketing a bit like herding cats. The marketplace is so fragmented and specialized that it's increasingly difficult to break through the clutter and reach the people we want to reach.

Q. Where are you most likely to be found on your day off?

On various adventures with my husband, two college-aged kids and two Weimaraners or working on Web pages for various local charities.

Q. What benefit of the Marketing Network do you find most helpful in your job?

Finding other people who do what I do. As a single-person marketing department, it can be a little isolating. It's great to be able to connect with others in similar situations. I love the new message board for finding those people when I need them.

Q. What is one piece of advice you would give someone new to bank marketing?

Keep an eye on industry trends but be mindful of the real world in your organization and stay true to what you know is right. There are many people who are not familiar with your bank who will tell you what you should be doing. One size rarely fits all. You need to step up and learn the ropes (the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management is great), do your own company and community research and follow your instincts to do what is right for your bank.
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Publication:ABA Bank Marketing
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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