Digital Marketing for Regional Bank
- Other Digital Marketing
- $1,000,000 to $9,999,999
- Jan. 2019 - Ongoing
- Willing to Refer
"IMM has been virtually perfect, and we've had no issues with them in the over two years we worked together."
- Financial services
- Memphis, Tennessee
- 5,001-10,000 Employees
- Phone Interview
IMM is the digital marketing partner of a regional bank. They execute branding campaigns, facilitate ad placements, and pick new markets for targeting. They also implement product-focused campaigns online.
IMM has been an excellent, reliable, and transparent partner whose ad campaigns resulted in a positive ROI. Their detail-oriented approach allows them to deliver on time and within budget. They display dedication to the project by taking the time to understand the client’s brand and industry.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the digital marketing manager at a regional bank in the southeast US. At the time of the engagement, we had $35 billion in assets.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with IMM?
While our bank is a good-sized bank, we have a very small marketing team consisting of five people. We had one person that worked on data, myself who’s focused on digital marketing, and the rest on traditional marketing. We had good marketing expertise in-house, but we did not have in-house developers or people specifically dedicated to analytics.
We needed a partner that will take our bank’s digital marketing to the next level. We don’t just need additional people, rather, we needed experience, knowledge, and expertise. We were looking for a strong digital partner that can do sophisticated digital marketing tactics and run campaigns that we can’t do in-house.
What was the scope of their involvement?
When we originally started the partnership, we had two things we wanted to focus on. Our bank has a very strong brand presence in some of our markets, but in others, it wasn't as strong. We felt implementing a digital branding campaign would be beneficial to the bank. We had never done that in-house, as we didn't have the resources and capabilities to create videos and conduct broadcasts.
We leveraged IMM for this digital branding campaign. We also sought help from one of their partners to create the brand assets, and IMM helped us execute the campaigns, buy placements, pick channels and markets, and similar tasks.
Our other focus is an ongoing implementation of digital strategy across the markets and channels that we identified. IMM has ended up doing a comprehensive mix of display and social media ads. They have mixed evergreen digital campaigns with product-focused campaigns around our specific lines of business, like consumer checking accounts, mortgage, and others.
In terms of deliverables, we wanted to see how digital campaigns can make our brand look good, and how we can prove its effectiveness.
What is the team composition?
We are working with Gina (President), and she is really hands-on and heavily involved with our account. We appreciate that especially when we got ramped up in 2019 — there were a lot of systems to hook together and things that needed to be put in place to be able to start to run the campaign.
Additionally, we have a very dedicated account manager that serves as our point person. If I have a question, I email her first and copy the rest of the team. We also work with around 5–7 specialists under her that focused on specific channels — someone that handled search engine, someone that handled buying the display ads, someone that handled data analytics, and so on. There are probably more teammates providing support at the backend that we don’t interact with during our calls.
When we did the branding effort, we worked with probably another 6–7 people from the creative team that shot the video and created assets.
How did you come to work with IMM?
I reached out to one of our other partners that did business listings when we did the RFP for this engagement. I asked them if they could refer any of the agencies their sales and account teams work with, and they came back with 4–6 different agencies. We started with them. We added other agencies that people within our bank had worked with before, and that was how IMM was brought to us. After some time, we whittled it down from six agencies to two.
While we’re a large organization, we’re not yet as large as national banks. A problem we frequently encounter when we look for agencies was that we would target the more sophisticated, larger, and flashier agencies, but we only get the B- or C-teams, and never the A-team. This was because A-teams service clients that spend over $100 million, and we weren’t spending that kind of money yet.
Thus, we were looking for that sweet spot of a team that was big enough that they have the expertise, experience, and capabilities to do what we needed, yet they were small enough that we would still get a high-touch relationship. We needed a very hands-on team, since we don’t have enough people on our internal team.
Additionally, we wanted someone that can do day-to-day digital marketing tasks like buying media and running Facebook ads, and at the same time produce creative assets as well. We didn't want to hire two agencies for our branding campaign.
We liked that IMM had a breadth of capabilities, as they have 4–5 different agencies under them. They could do PR, execution, and day-to-day media buying, and at the same time do creative brand projects. It was really unique how they had structured their company, and so we felt like IMM was a good fit.
How much have you invested with them?
We have spent about $1 million on the branding campaign. We also have another project where we spend $25,000–$30,000 a month.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in January 2019, and it’s ongoing.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We loved and were excited about the branding assets that IMM produced. However, we didn’t get a chance to put it on the market, as our bank merged with another bank. Internally, we decided to no longer promote our old brand since it would be going away.
We have finally gotten through the initial stage with IMM where we had to get all the systems connected and get everything tagged in place. We had things right where we wanted them, and we were ready to hit the ground running in 2020. We were probably going to spend several hundred thousand dollars. It never got to that point, though, and we were all disappointed since we never got to see their full potential. However, based on the quality of what we did, the project was a success.
In terms of our other campaigns with them about mortgage, checking, and other lines of business, our measurement for success is the number of accounts we bring in. IMM is able to produce those numbers for us, which we can’t do on our own, as there were so many systems to connect and so much tracking that we didn't understand.
IMM’s advertising campaign definitely more than paid for itself — in terms of accounts, we brought in at least three times of what we paid IMM. The ad campaign is very successful, and we continue to see good numbers, especially for our mortgage campaign.
How did IMM perform from a project management standpoint?
IMM is really good at project management. They have been very detail-oriented and always buttoned-up. If anything, they inspire us to be as precise as their team. We never had any issues with timelines and budgets — everything is very transparent. They are upfront about costs, the work that is being done, and the time it would take to finish. We used spreadsheets and emails to collaborate. The project is evolving really well. I manage IMM as almost part of our internal team, and they are a really great partner in that respect.
As an organization, we are very focused on measurement, accountability, and attribution. We really want to understand what digital campaigns can drive for us and what can it add to our bottom line. Additionally, we also want to understand where do digital campaigns fit into the purchase funnel and what kind of customers we will bring in with it.
IMM really excelled in the tracking and measurement area. They helped not only create campaigns with great messaging and creative appeal, but they also connected us with third-party systems to be able to effectively track and measure what was happening in those campaigns. That allows us to report and show what digital can produce to our management.
I can say now, after working with them for a couple of years, that IMM has been a good choice. We feel we’re working with an A-team. They fill that sweet spot for us of an agency that is big enough, but not too big — they’re just the right size.
I also connected well with Gina, as she had previously worked at Google, where I had also worked years ago. I just have a good feeling that they had the right mix of people on their team. It has worked out really well and they've been a great partner.
What did you find most impressive about them?
IMM is really passionate about what they do, and they don’t have any B-players on their team. One thing that we've been really impressed with is how much they've invested in our industry. We had a hard time finding an agency that had significant financial services experience, and so we took our chances with IMM. Among those who responded to our RFP, no agency had a lot of experience marketing for a bank or for a mortgage company.
I've been so impressed in the last couple of years with how much IMM has learned and how much they've taught us. Additionally, the research and extra time they put in to understand our business has been really impressive.
Sometimes, with agencies and other partners we've worked with, they just run advertising as they would want it for any business or industry. I've worked in financial services now for six years, and there are specific tactics and pain points that uniquely come in this industry. For digital marketing, we encounter a lot of issues with the security and privacy of our clients’ data. We can't do some of the strategies that a retail company can do since they’re just selling t-shirts or clothing.
I've been really impressed with how much time and energy IMM has genuinely invested in learning not just banking, but our company particularly.
Are there any areas they could improve?
When we started working, we had some difficulties coordinating with their teams. It wasn’t entirely IMM’s fault, since we only just began working together, and it was a new way of doing business for us. We had never worked with an agency before, and we struggled a little bit with the process and how the flow should go. However, I don’t think it’s anything they need to change, since their model works for them. After a few months, we’ve learned to adapt and everything turned out great.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
I think they're awesome. If there's anything that hasn't worked out well, it's because of our internal issues and struggles. IMM has been virtually perfect, and we've had no issues with them in the over two years we worked together.
I would say to their potential partners that you're getting an incredible, top-notch group. Just bring your A-game to the table because they're willing to bring their A-game and they'll go the extra mile to deliver results. You can lean on them for anything.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
Value / within estimates
Willing to Refer5.0
"I would definitely recommend them.