I recently facilitated a discussion about social media with a leading association representing 15 of the nation’s top 20 largest wholesale banking organizations.
As marketing budgets shift from client-facing events and direct mail to more online tactics, and the appetite for high-profile sponsored events has waned due to the perception of extraordinary spending, this audience was seeking to determine if social media could augment marketing programs so focused on relationships.
The short answer is yes. Social media can play an important role among the corporate wholesale bank audience. And we had a great discussion about how to make that happen and how to overcome obstacles.
Most interestingly though, the biggest obstacle this group faced was that many could not even access social media sites at work due to firewall constraints. It is hard to develop a social media strategy when you cannot access the same networking tools your customers are using.
Firewalls play an important role in minimizing corporate risk exposure but companies will have to adapt their policies if they are going to continue to talk to their customers. While the tools being utilized for social media are changing by the day, social media is not a fad. Engaging customers on their terms is not a trend.
Marketers need to be able to develop approaches that engage customers where, when and how they want to be engaged, and social media increasingly is playing a key role. This means marketers will have to work ever more closely with IT and legal departments to remove the barriers between companies and their customers.
Senior Vice President
Director of Public Relations, North America