How to Stand Out in Community Banking

Many industries pit national brands against regional or local competitors, but none is more competitive than banking and finance. National powers have the scale to offer the widest variety of products and services and the resources to advertise and promote themselves. Regional and community banks are often at a disadvantage with fewer locations and smaller marketing budgets. For this reason, these banks also run the risk of becoming commoditized in the eyes of their customers believing one regional option is the same as the next. When tasked to stand out in community banking, these are three necessities.

Define Your Brand and Push It to the Forefront

What makes your institution different from your competitors? What characteristics can you confidently promote? What are the unique reasons a customer would receive a better experience with you over one of your competitors? Defining the core of your brand and then aligning not only your advertising, but your business approach, philosophy and experience around your brand is the clearest and strongest way to bring distinction to your bank in your market. But most importantly, resist the urge to settle on generalities and make sure your brand is differentiated. If you have defined your brand in a way that others could also claim, then you haven’t dug deep enough. Your brand is ultimately why you are the only choice for your target customer’s banking needs, not just a definition of reasons someone needs banking services.

Offer Easy and Modern Digital Experiences

Has your bank enabled customers to handle all their banking transactions online from opening new accounts to applying for loans? And more than just online, what about through mobile devices? If your process begins online but has steps that require printed documents or physical signatures, then you run the risk of losing customers to national banks or digital-only institutions. Today’s customer looks completely different than a customer 20-years ago and your digital presence, services and experience should reflect how things have changed. A digital experience isn’t only through your website or on your app, but it’s also how you interact on social media, how you distribute information and content and how answer questions and fulfill requests with your customer services team. 

Omni-Channel Campaigning with a Geographic Focus

The most successful community banks use all the same tactics and outlets employed by national campaigns – just limited to the geography of their target customers. A regional banking campaign doesn’t just mean billboards and sponsored community events; television, radio and especially search, social media and online display all need to be incorporated into your marketing campaign. A robust campaign balances ongoing brand awareness that establishes a community leadership position with the necessities of lead generation for your key financial services to drive business growth.

Jump Company has successfully partnered with regional financial institutions to define brands, reach target customers, and drive growth for the last two decades. And we aren’t just a marketer of community banks, we are also a customer.

Selling is Hard; Hiring is Harder

When people think of marketing, they most often focus on branding campaigns or advertising campaigns designed to sell products. However, systemic changes in the job market, especially resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, have made recruitment campaigns an increasing focus for industries that depend on a large, skilled workforce. Our experience working with healthcare clients has taught us the hardest thing to market in healthcare might just be a job. What changes when the thing you are selling is a career? These are four lessons to keep in mind when you must grow your healthcare team.

Know your audience

Say you are trying to hire nurses. No one nursing position is alike and neither is your talent pool. To achieve your hiring goals, it is critical to conduct research to understand the unique roles you are hiring for, what candidates are likely a good fit, and what would likely interest and motivate prospective hires. Knowing your target audiences on a more personal level allows you to tailor your campaigns to better cut through the clutter.

Ensure your value proposition is actually valuable

Let’s face it, the available talent pools are incredibly low in relation to available positions. On top of that the competition is fierce and healthcare workers are even being lured away by different industries. Your offer not only needs to be competitive, but you also need to be able to authentically articulate what you can offer a candidate beyond salary. This is where a solid employer brand is critical in addition to being able to highlight your culture, benefits/perks, flexibility and variety as well as training and advancement opportunities.

Personalization is key

You not only need to know your audience, but you also need to personalize your campaigns to meet them where they are. Take a hard look at what your talent pools care about and where they spend their time. Create personas that align to what motivates those individuals. And then leverage data, personalize your communication strategy, and tailor your outreach and response strategy to ensure your message is relevant, reduces barriers to conversion and cuts through the clutter.

Brand + Lead Generation

The “secret sauce” for successful healthcare recruitment is the right balance between brand and lead generation. Stay top of mind to avoid getting lost in the noise and keep critical channels always-on while layering in targeted campaign strikes that drive action. Reduce friction across the recruitment journey and think about your brand as more than just a campaign. Conducting experience audits for our clients have proven to be incredibly valuable to diagnose where gaps in the experience may be to ensure you aren’t losing valuable prospects.

Achieve alignment across the organization

Marketing’s success can only go so far without collaboration with the HR department, hiring managers, system leaders and colleagues. Getting input on the positions you are hiring for, current priorities, quality of leads, and what led to an offer being accepted or declined keeps marketing authentic and provides the opportunity to constantly improve. Additionally, sharing the messages in market and the personas you’ve developed with recruiters and hiring managers can help prepare teams and aid them in better connecting with candidates.

Jump Company has not only helped our healthcare clients generate leads, but more importantly, exceed their hiring goals. We attribute our success to not only our strategic, performance-driven approach but also our own successful recruitment of great employees.

5 Keys for Ag Websites to Convert Visitors into Leads

Often in the agriculture industry when a potential lead visits your site, they likely already know a bit about your business. Whether through trade show appearances, industry publications, word of mouth or cold calls, your first impression is often elsewhere. And because of that fact, it’s even more reason your website should go beyond just making a good impression and guide visitors through the buyer’s journey until they’re a highly qualified lead.

Website needs will vary depending on your specific business – such as seed company, equipment manufacturer or ag retailer – but we’ve found there are at least five factors everyone in ag should consider when it comes to their website.

Establish Consistent Branding

A strong visual brand ties all the finer details of your ag business together, but a recognizable logo isn’t enough. After getting to know your company, a customer should be able to identify and have a brief understanding of your elevator pitch. Tight and modern overall brand positioning not only builds market awareness, but trust in your company.

Optimize Web Content

A mistake many make when approaching website creation is prioritizing search engine optimization, or SEO, above all else. It’s certainly an important consideration, but your site should benefit a human first and algorithms second. Website content and navigation should break down complicated processes into easy-to-understand pathways and address the target audience’s industry-specific knowledge levels and needs. It’s vital to develop relationships with your sales team, talk with customers, attend conferences, and read product manuals so you understand exactly who you are talking to, what needs to be conveyed and how they need to hear it.

Keep the Website Flexible

It can be tempting to design a flashy website with heavy animations and complex graphics, but often that makes it harder to adjust your website later as your ag organization’s priorities shift and products evolve. Selecting the right content management system (CMS) for your specific company and website will allow for easy access to make updates and optimize the journey for your visitors.

Create a Simple and Effective Contact Form

If you’re relying on customers to reach out only through phone or direct email, you’re not leveraging your ag site to its full potential. In our experience, a user visits a site for multiple reasons from purchase intent to customer service requests to job opportunities. To ensure all leads are funneled correctly and to remove barriers from the process, a contact form plugged directly into customer relationship management (CRM) software makes for faster and more efficient processes from lead to conversion.

Invest in Paid Search Support

Even if a company attains category dominate SEO, boosting your ag website with paid search will improve discovery and protect your company against constantly changing search engine algorithms and platform updates. Search and social media companies and device manufacturers can change their practices at any time and without notice, and that has the potential to alter search position and impact organic discovery. By maintaining an always-on paid search campaign you can lessen the impact these unexpected changes have on your company and gather a wealth of analytics that can be used to optimize your marketing efforts.

Jump Company recently implemented these strategies in a website redesign for an Ag client resulting in a record 10% increase in visitors and over 60% increase in monthly conversions. With over twenty years of agriculture industry marketing experience, Jump has enjoyed watching our partners’ companies grow alongside their crops.

Not Your Grandma’s Medicare

Did you know that by the year 2034, seniors will outnumber children in the United States? Medicare is undergoing a massive reorientation as it prepares to serve larger numbers of people, and that is being felt specifically by Medicare Advantage plans and the heated competition to identify and convert prospects each year. It’s an exciting time to be in the Medicare business.

A few weeks ago, Jump joined over 500 leaders and senior executives in the managed care space at the RISE Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit. This marquee conference focuses on insights, strategies and tactics from industry leaders to deliver in this rapidly evolving marketplace.

The next generation aging into Medicare looks very different than what you would typically expect. It includes Madonna, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Barak Obama. What has worked well with Medicare marketing in the past may not be the right approach for these bold, tech-savvy individuals who are now reaching retirement age. Here are a few of the notable takeaways from this year’s conference as you prepare for the annual enrollment period only seven months away:

Personalization and Targeting are Key

People want to feel seen. With technology developments, it is now more important than ever to meet prospects where they are online and show up with messaging that is relevant to them. Consumers are looking for more conversational and personalized interactions with businesses. 

Authenticity Wins

The market is saturated, and it is tough to stand out from the competition. Authentic brand storytelling is the best way to break through the noise. Be real about who you are and offer comprehensive and dynamic journeys that demonstrate you truly care about them. 

Marketing Mix Matters

Direct mail has been the historical workhorse of Medicare marketing, but the tide is turning, especially as new generations age into Medicare. The marketing mix needs to evolve. Consider omnichannel marketing with tactics that build on each other in a strategic way.

Playing by the Rules Has Never Been More Important

CMS is cracking down on marketing activities. Rules are being enforced, and penalties are steep – sometimes even including suspension of enrollment activities. Now is the time to be more vigilant than ever to ensure you are following all the regulatory guidelines.  

These are exciting new days in the world of Medicare. The opportunity is rich, but the competition is steep, and regulations are strict. If you’re looking for a marketing partner who understands the dynamics of this market, we’d love to help you tell your story in a way that will make even Madonna open her heart to you.

Your Office Holiday Party Should Be Visited by Three Ghosts

Perhaps the greatest sign of the business world emerging from the long shadow of Covid-19 is the return of the office holiday party. No longer a logistical nightmare of trying to send a happy hour basket to every employee for a virtual toast, the office can once again gather in person to celebrate the season. Whether your office trends more toward cookies and coffee in the conference room at 11 a.m. or rents out a local watering hole for karaoke and beer pong on Saturday night, it’s very important to honor the Dickens tradition of welcoming the Past, Present and Future into proceedings.

Reflect On the Past Year

Whether your company had a year of challenges or a year of rapid growth and success, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a mystery to the team so there’s no reason to avoid it. Acknowledge what kind of year it was and celebrate that you all lived to tell the tale. Whatever kind of year it was, it is the foundation for the year to come.

Celebrate the Present Moment

It’s a party. It doesn’t have to turn into an epic night that no one can remember, but it should include some food or treats and some laughter and smiles and merriment.  (Announcing an annual bonus never hurts either.)

Look To the Future

While there’s great debate over whether the holiday party should include a PowerPoint for next year’s goals and objectives, it’s absolutely an opportunity to inspire and excite the team for what is to come. The New Year – and the next fiscal year – are around the corner, and there’s no better time to get everyone excited about what you can accomplish together. 

Jump Company recently celebrated our office holiday party and while we honored the lessons of this post, we also included ample amounts of pinball, dance floor antics and an original murder mystery game…because…it’s a holiday party.

Six ways to gain an advantage in Medicare marketing

Every industry has unique marketing challenges, but marketing Medicare Advantage products during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) may have more in common with a season of Survivor than a seasonal campaign.

Having led Medicare Advantage marketing programs for several years, we’ve seen competitors move in and out of marketplaces and increase and decrease spends as plan offerings change. We’ve also seen consumers’ needs change and priorities shift. Throughout all the volatility, the constant is that it ultimately comes down to driving leads. Here are six valuable lessons we’ve learned about Medicare Advantage marketing and lead generation.

Start early. It’s natural to want to have all the information before you start to develop a campaign, but the timelines and mandatory review periods of Medicare simply don’t allow for it. Don’t get caught waiting for every detail before you begin; work with the information you have and layer in new information as it becomes available. In order to scale the work, we start planning in April.

Align processes. We find the most successful way to work is for the agency and provider teams to be fully in sync. Design for complete transparency around timelines, build shared project plans, created shared sources-of-truth documentation, and collaborate in each other’s systems across everything from project management to communication channels.

Understand your audience. 65+ looks a lot different than it did ten years ago, or even three years ago prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to focus on the overall increase in digital engagement as a tactical challenge, but we also need to focus on listening to our audience about what matters to them. Understanding the 65+ audience as they are this year – today – may unearth less widely understood health needs such as mental health support, transportation, food, virtual care, or mail order prescriptions. These are keys in designing a Medicare Advantage plan, but also in how to market one.

Don’t forget your brand. The market is completely saturated during AEP, often with very similar messaging. We’ve even heard members talk about receiving enough direct mail to fill an entire car! Cutting through the clutter is increasingly challenging for marketers, making it even more important to differentiate your offering with not only product information, but also your brand’s value proposition.

Build omnichannel funnels. It is easy to get caught up in lead generation goals and lose sight of how much awareness is needed to drive individuals through the funnel. How much brand awareness you need is different for everyone, but a good place to start is to be honest with how well your market knows and trusts your brand and how much outside marketing/sales support you have with brokers and other partners. This will allow you to identify any awareness or perception gaps that might create barriers to conversion.

Leverage data. We can’t stress this enough. Data is critical to your success. It starts from the beginning by ensuring you have data that helps you understand your market and audience. It becomes even more critical when determining how you can best use your marketing dollars to target individuals who are more likely to convert. And is arguably the most important when you are optimizing campaigns, analyzing what messages and/or channels drove the best results, and determining the final ROI of your marketing efforts.

As a business, Jump Company has been driving innovation in data-driven Medicare Advantage marketing for a number of years. As individual employees, this makes us a sought-after resource for our parents, grandparents and family friends who “just have a couple questions before we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner.”

A partner or a vendor – what is your relationship status?

It’s important at the start to acknowledge neither of these is right or wrong and both can be valuable business relationships, but it’s vital both the client and the agency know which relationship status they are in and that they treat each other accordingly. Here’s some questions agencies and clients can ask themselves and how to come together to form a lasting partnership.

Agencies ask yourself – Is your success the client’s success or is your success efficient and timely deliverables

Don’t get me wrong, you should always deliver quality work on time, but the nuance here is whether you are evaluating yourself, and being evaluated, solely on the fulfillment of what is asked (that means you are a vendor) or whether you aren’t happy unless the client’s business has grown (you are a partner.) If you are vendor, then your goal is managing your scope of work and building a relationship that leads to more work and the next project.  If you are a partner, you may take occasional losses and provide unpaid added value because you are evaluating your decisions in consideration of growing the client’s business to build a partnership over many years and many connected pieces of work.

Clients ask yourself – do I trust this agency as an extension of my team and a partner in the process or are they filling a gap in my team and providing a service?

If your agency is a partner then you expect them to challenge your status quo, bring you differing perspectives and have a seat at your table for larger strategic discussions. In other words, you trust them and seek out their input and opinion. On the other hand, if you only turn to your agency to offload the volume of tasks from your internal creative team or manage a specific aspect of your department, like video production or digital marketing, then you may just have a reliable vendor. If you have a partner, don’t just throw assignments over the fence and spend status calls only going down the list of weekly to dos. They want to engage at a deeper level. Alternatively, if you are only asking a vendor to support you, then respect their time and always give them the assets and information they need to do quality work in an efficient way.

All relationships come back to the same place – communication.

Be honest with yourself and the mindset and needs of your organization or agency, and then address your relationship status in a simple and straightforward way.  If you are an agency that wants to invest in a client’s business and play a larger role in their strategic direction, tell them. Don’t assume a client knows that is a depth of partnership available to them. If as a client, you already have strategic partnerships in place and you just need someone to help carry the load of the day-to-day, make sure your agency knows your expectations. Once you are aligned on what type of relationship you both want and need, then the business of contracts and scopes becomes surprisingly easy and straight-forward.

Jump Company prides itself on being a partnership-focused agency and we’re grateful for our clients who continue to trust us and give us a seat at their table.

Jump strengthens technology capabilities through partnership

Over the course of Jump’s first twenty years, the agency has constantly evolved to meet the needs of their clients and to remain current with the ever-changing marketing landscape. Nowhere is that more evident than the advent of digital marketing.  From digital development to analytic dashboards to the marcom technology stack, Jump has grown alongside their clients and developed capabilities and expertise to match.

Jump was committed to continuing that exponential trajectory of digital marketing expansion, but then 2022 presented an opportunity for the agency to shift from solely growing through hiring and employee development to partnering with a native digital company, Integrity. The question quickly boiled down to whether it was better to build it yourself or partner.  There were three main considerations that led to the Jump / Integrity partnership.

We Already Had a Plan

The commitment to expanding our digital and technology capabilities was already in place, so the opportunity to partner didn’t create an objective, it offered a solution to the objective. When it comes to business growth, sometimes an opportunity to expand to something new presents itself and feels so timely that decisions are made before there is time to question whether it’s truly the correct decision.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

For Jump, the Integrity partnership was simply another option – and the most compelling option – to advancing an existing strategic growth objective. Instead of continuing to build our technology capabilities internally, we married capabilities of Integrity into our branding, content and performance marketing expertise.

We Were on the Same Page

A key to successful partnership is being aligned with your partner and having similar goals, expectations and approach. It was evident from the start that Jump and Integrity shared a cultural approach to business – a commitment to putting the client first and to fully supporting employees.

That alignment and shared commitment to the success of the partnership was most manifest in the decision to cowork together. While both companies continue to operate independently, to further solidify the partnership and support ongoing collaboration, the decision was made to office together in the Delmar Loop, a burgeoning innovation district.

It was a Win-Win-Win

A key to the partnership was the recognition both companies offered complementary strengths with Jump’s history of branding, content and performance marketing and Integrity’s foundation in technology, digital development and user experience. A partnership naturally expanded the offering of both companies and enhanced their services and scale.

The third win was the benefit they jointly bring to existing and future clients. Marketing in today’s world has seen the convergence of brand and experience. Marketing and product are not separate activities, but one integrated offering. They need to be considered and developed in tandem, and the Jump/Integrity partnership directly answers that need for clients.

Together Jump and Integrity represent over a hundred full-time employees. While the partnership has been a success professionally, it has also been a success in the office having discovered a shared affinity for office potlucks, impromptu happy hours and Pop-Tarts always stocked in the kitchen.

One thing higher education teaches students, but doesn’t practice enough

Perhaps the most important thing that can happen for a student on the campus of a college or university is better understanding who they are as a person. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What makes them unique in the impending job market? What do they value and how do they represent that to others? Simply put, they are defining their brand. Whether they do it consciously or unconsciously they innately understand their brand will help define their choices, inform their decisions and lead them to success. Institutions of higher education benefit from the same self-discovery when defining their brand, and these are three lessons they learn along the way.

Your school is not for everyone

Colleges and universities offer unique experiences from size, location, campus life, areas of academic focus and institutional support. That uniqueness is exactly why no one school can be the right fit for every student. School pride goes hand-in-hand with student experience. When those and more factors align with an individual student, then their experience is rewarding and a lifelong commitment to the school crystalizes. One of the most difficult positions a college or university can put itself in is to constantly chase every potential student instead of focusing on being the perfect school for a specific type of student, and then focusing on finding those students. In other words, they must get on brand.

Branding isn’t just for the incoming class

When a college or university does define and commit to their brand, they sometimes don’t take it far enough. Branding not only drives the lead generation and outreach campaign for the incoming class, but it also translates across alumni engagement, development campaigns, long-range institutional planning and academic investment. A brand is foundational to investment and revenue across the campus. The vital distinction is that your brand does not determine what you talk about; it frames everything you choose to talk about. Recruitment efforts can focus on student resources and academic opportunities while a capital campaigns can evoke the historical legacy of the school. A well-defined and positioned brand allows you to talk to each audience about the topics that are applicable and motivating to them, while remaining universally aligned and reflective of a single institution.

Digital makes branding more important than ever, not less

As academic experiences move online, strong branding combats the commodification of academic experience. The rise of remote learning and the financial challenges of traditional campus-driven experiences can create a false sense of branding having less importance, but the reality is branding aligns your university across all departments and audiences and that makes it more important than ever. What makes your student experience and your educational approach – wherever it takes place – the right fit for the right student is also the recipe for your school’s lifetime value to that student and the subsequent benefits of that school pride become sustaining energy for your future.

As an agency, Jump is a strong advocate for higher education. Our experience branding companies across a number of industries – including higher education – has enhanced our belief that being the right choice for the right person is always better than being the second choice for every person. And to be frank, that’s true of agencies and clients as well.

To learn three ways educational institutions benefit from working with Jump, read this article.

On premise brand video is the customer communication channel you are missing

Environmental Graphics. Digital Signage. On Premise Video. Whatever your terminology, marketers intuitively understand the digital evolution from physical point-of-sale signage and endcaps to monitors, screens and projectors inside a retail space. While the tactical use of this channel is common – timely promotion of sales, digital menus and wayfinding signage – don’t overlook the broader brand lift that on premise video provides. Here’s a quick analysis of why you should be doing it and some considerations in how to structure your execution.

Why it makes sense

The first reason it makes sense is that hardware and technology costs have made it a much easier investment. LED screens are less expensive and operate at a higher efficiency for lower energy costs. Additionally, technology provides multiple paths for creating applications or using out-of-the-box application solutions that present polished results with the flexibility to scale and optimize. And most importantly, your competitors are doing it and your customers expect it.

Have something interesting to say

When you place on premise video in your location you can be sure of one thing – your brand is top of mind when your customers see it and they connect whatever they see on it to your brand. Capitalize on this captive, focused audience with content that informs and entertains as well as promotes. Any positive experience customers have with their interaction reflects on and impacts their perception of your brand. Date and time, weather, local news, community interest or trivia can exist alongside promotion to encourage interaction and engagement.

Set the mood

The pace and the tone of content should be reflective of the display’s location and the customer frame of mind to be truly relevant and engaging. How long are people likely to be looking at a given display should dictate how much variety of content is included and how often that content changes. The entrance to a building and a waiting room are very different approaches. Similarly, if the content is being shown in the customer service area, your customer may be less interested in a humorous distraction than if they are standing in a checkout line, and a healthcare setting requires different sensitivities than a retail location.

Jump Company has an in-house video team that handles everything from pre-production to post-production including sound design, motion graphics and 3D animation. They were disappointed this information was shared via a blog article and not a YouTube video.