Marketing Strategies for Rural Banks

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ABSTRACT

In keeping up with the fierce competitive environment and changing client wants and needs within the business landscape, banks consisting of the rural banks need to adopt effective marketing strategies in their operations to satisfy their customers in a first-class manner.

The changing taste and preference of today’s consumers have compelled banks-rural and universal to employ survival strategies in the financial arena to attract and maintain customers. This invariably will enhance service quality in the industry which will boost economic development in the long-run.  Banking institutions must formulate, and put into force techniques that will allow them to have a competitive edge over their contemporaries in the market. The competitive aim is to provide satisfactory customers service. The primary goal of the study was; to investigate the strategic marketing activities to attract and retain customers at Odotobri Rural Bank. A case-study research approach was adopted to explore the strategic marketing activities of Odotobri Rural Bank to attract and retain customers in this competitive environment. The researcher interviewed the senior manager at Odotobri Rural Bank on how they are applying the strategic marketing activities to attract and retain customers.  This study recommends that universal banks and rural banks operating in Ghana ought to adopt tactical methods in order to be competitive in the fast changing business environment.

1.0 Introduction/Background information

1.1 Banking Industry

According to Aryeetey (2008), there has been a paramount transmutation in the Ghanaian banking industry in recent decades due to the institutional reforms to liberalize the financial sector in a more progressive transforming manner over the years through legal means. The Bank of Ghana reports that, as at September, 2016 the number of major banks with macrocosmic banking license stood at thirty-three with extensive branch networking as a strategy leading to stiff competition within the industry (BoG, 2016). The very survival of banks has come under serious threat due to the competition within the banking industry in Ghana. This is seen in the recent mergers of some major banks in the industry. Relationship marketing practices is the order of the day due to the growing customer acquisition cost, and to take control of high customer defection in order to maintain their existing customers and to create customer loyalty (Ndubisi, 2003; Rosenberg & Czepiel, 1984). Financial institutions are faced with the challenge of staying ahead of competition to achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace.

2.0 Rational for the study

This study will be of benefit and interest not only to financial services institutions in Ghana, but it will be valuable to other service sectors in Ghana as a whole. The study will also be a source of secondary data to other researchers who wish to conduct studies on related issues. It will again act as mainstream for generating, keeping and maintaining customers.

3.0 Objectives

1. To explore the strategic marketing activities to attract and retain customers at Odotobri Rural Bank

4.0 Brief Literature Review

4.1 Marketing management for Odotobri Rural Bank

This section introduces the bank marketing management theories. It gives data on the best way to create marketing tactics and plans, the environmental scanning, building a solid brand and outline and dealing with the marketing communication actions.

 4.2 Marketing strategies and plans

According to Wood (2003), marketing tactics function as the basic groundwork for designing and implementing the objectives that address the needs and wants of the market. Firm’s performance generally stems from the marketing plans and objectives. Scholars have argued that marketing tactics are sanctioned as multi-year framework, with a strategic impetus which spares out the activities to be performed in the current year. On his part, Woods (2003), defines marketing plan as a written piece that summarizes what marketing professionals observe about the business landscape and draw a blueprint on how to achieve their marketing goals. Lehmann and Winer (2001) concede that marketing plan covers the tactical guidelines for the marketing programs and financial allocations over the planning period.

4.3 Environment analysis

The external analysis cannot be ignored as it is a determinant in the development of strategic planning. These forces play significant roles on the success of a company. It includes economic forces, social-culture forces, political forces, technological forces and the customers and competitors (Fill, 2002). The majority of the forces cannot be controlled well. Referring to competitors; their behaviors additionally access the accepted aggregation and change the way of offerings and positions in the market. When a company meets these varieties, it has the opportunities to adjust this situation by changing the communication tools, such as advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and so on (Fill 2002). These external environments can help the companies to design their marketing plans. As these factors are largely uncontrollable, the companies should design and find a way to adapt and accommodate it (Fill 2002).

4.4 Building brand

Keller (2009) defines a brand as a name that is given to a particular product or service or range of products or services. Brands essentially differentiates one product or service form its competitors. Keller (2009) argues that brands personify customer’s goodwill that has being aggregated throughout the lifetime of a product or service.

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Branding performs two unique functions: first has to do with the view point of the customer and the second have to do with the view point of the channel members’. On the customers perspective brands perform numerous functions which include the following:

  • As indicated by Erdem (1998) brands demonstrate a specific level of value so that delighted consumers can easily choose the product or service again without any hesitation.
  • It facilitates purchase decisions
  • Suri and Monroe (2003) posit that brands reduce perceived risk and time in purchasing. . As consumer’s lives become more complicated, rushed, and time starved, the ability of a brand to simplify decision making and reduce risk is invaluable.

The following functions are performed by brands for companies:

  • Brands are noted as legal entities in the area of product or service features
  • Loyalty is maximized, as a form of security and predictability for the company.
  • The firms are less vulnerable to competitor’s activities due to loyalty of the customers.
  • Customers are willing to pay premium prices.
  • Difficult to imitate or copy
  • It serves as a competitive advantage for companies
  • Companies marketing communication activities are being enhanced
  • They attract qualify employees
  • The brands attract solid appeal from retailers and wholesalers
  • Through brand extensions and licensing the companies are able to create new opportunities in terms of sales and market share.

To be competitive in the market companies are supposed to manage their brands.  This is in the light of the fact that brand is a firm’s major holding on asset; a brand ought to be purposely managed with the objective that its regard does not devalue.

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Brady (2009) contends that fortifying brand image requires development and relevance through the advertising program. As per Brady (2009) brand should dependably be pushing ahead however advancing in the correct heading, with new and convincing offerings and approaches to market them.

As per Keller (2009) the accompanying strategies can be utilized to strengthen the brand:

  1. Promoting brand construction strategic position
  2. There should be uniformity in the identification of the brand and  market
  3. Maintenance of the core value of the brand.
  4. Innovation should be incorporated into the brand  modification .
  5. Combining the marketing communication
  6. Human resource management reformation

4.5 Marketing communications

Kotler (2009) argues that the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind customers-directly or indirectly-about the brands in the market can be termed as marketing communication.  It is seen as the voice of the company and its brands and is the ways in which it can establish a dialogue and build relationships with customers.

Many roles are been executed by marketing communication for clients. It is a way to illuminate or demonstrate to clients how and why a market offering is utilized, by what sort of individual, and where and when. Clients can find who creates and supplies the market offering and judge the notoriety of the organization’s image. Regularly, there is a motivating force or reward for trial or utilization. Luo and Donthu (2006) posit that marketing communications enables organizations to interface their brands to other individuals, put, occasions, brands encounters, emotions and things. They can add to brand value by setting up the brand in long term memory and making a brand image and additionally drive sales and influence shareholder value.

According to Bennett (1995), marketing communications can be grouped into eight major types:

Advertising

Scholars have argued that advertising reaches geographically dispersed buyers. Advertising has the ability to promote high volume sales within a short period of time.

One thing is certain, that is TV advertising demands a huge budget, while newspaper and other forms do not attract high budget.

Moorthy and Hawkins (2005) postulate that a heavily promoted product might have an influence on the sales performance.  Vakratsas and Ambler (1999) suggest that because of the many forms and uses of advertising, it is difficult to make generalizations about it. However, according to Ambler (1999) few observations are worthwhile

  • Advertising is pervasive
  • Advertising is expressive
  • Advertising is impersonal

Sales promotion

Goodman (2009) sets that organizations utilize deals advancement devices coupons, challenges, premiums, et cetera to draw a more grounded and snappier purchaser reaction, including short-run impacts, for example, highlighting item offers and boosting drooping deals.

To generate high volume sales within a short period of time, companies should make use of coupons, contest, premiums as promotional tools (Goodman, 2009).

Three distinctive benefits of sales promotion are:

  • Sales promotion as a means of creating product or service awareness.
  • Sales promotion serves as a means of rewarding consumers.
  • Sales promotion functions as an invitation to treat.

Public relations and publicity

According to Goodman (2009), public relations and publicity is a means to deal with customers’ delusions.

According to Rothenberg (2007) public relations and publicity dwell on three unique qualities.

  • They are high credible
  • They have the ability to catch buyers off guard
  • They dwell on dramatization

Events and experiences

According to Goodman (2009), there are lots of benefits that are accrued form the use of events and experiences. They include the following:

  • Consumers are directly involved and it promotes its relevance.
  • Consumers are actively engaged in events and experiences, that makes it highly involving.
  • Events are an indirect way of selling a company’s products and services.

Direct marketing

Goodman (2009) argues that direct and interactive marketing assumes variety of approaches, some can happen on phone, on the internet and face-to-face.  According to Goodman (2009) they share three distinctive characteristics. Direct and interactive marketing messages are:

  • Highly customized: The message can be prepared to appeal to the addressed individual
  • Highly up to date: A message can be prepared very quickly.
  • Highly interactive: The message can be changed depending on the person‘s response.

Interactive marketing

Interactive marketing according to Goodman (2009) includes all activities put in place by a firm with aim of creating awareness, building good will, improving their image in the market through online presence.

Word-of-mouth marketing

Goodman (2009) argues that word of mouth can happen on the internet and face-to-face.

Goodman (2009) presents three unique characteristics of word-of-mouth:

  • It has high credibility
  • Word-of-mouth dwells on face-to-face.
  • It is timely

Personal selling

According to Brady (2009) personal selling builds on customer taste and preference, conviction and action.

Brady (2009) presents three distinctive features of personal selling:

  • It thrives on personal interaction
  • It generates relationships

 

5.0 Empirical data/ information on the organization you are studying

The government at the time responded to the call of cocoa farmers in Odotobiri to establish Odotobiri rural bank. The primary aim was to reduce the burden of cocoa farmers from walking over 20km, to cash their Akuafo cheques in the cities like Bekwai, Obuasi and Kumasi. In March, 1982 Odotobiri rural bank was incorporated under the Companies Code of 1963. Again, in September, 1982, the bank was issued with a license to start operations under the banking act 339 of 1970. The bank started actual operations to the public on September 16, 1983. The bank has a vision of becoming an accomplished giant in the banking industry. Their mandate was to providing specialize services to the cocoa farmers, good corporate governance, well-motivated human resource, maximization of shareholders’ wealth, consistent application of improved technology and being socially responsible.  Odotobiri has the following as their corporate values. Which are expressed in 5R’S

  • The bank has responsibility towards its customers
  • The bank has responsibility towards its employees
  • The bank has responsibility towards the society
  • The bank has responsibility towards the shareholders
  • The bank has responsibility towards the employers

Odotobiri rural bank has the following broad goals since its inception: deposit mobilization and Credit delivery, customer care, human resource development, profitability and growth, maximization of shareholders wealth, survival in the long term, efficiency and effectiveness, and social responsibility.

6.0 Methodology

A case-study research approach was adopted to explore the strategic marketing activities of Odotobri Rural Bank to attract and retain customers in this competitive environment. According to Eisenhardt (1989) and Yin (2009) the case-study is one of several ways that research is conducted in the area of social science. The researcher interviewed the senior manager at Odotobri Rural Bank on how they are applying the strategic marketing activities to attract and retain customers. The interview was semi-structured, face-to-face and in English. The interview was conducted at the office of the selected case.

7.0 Data Presentation and Analysis

7.1 Data Collection

This session details how data was collected for the study. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews at the respondents’ convenience, considering the busy schedules of the staff involved, based on a list of questions prepared by the researcher (see Appendix 1). The questions were designed to suit the level and activities of each interviewee, and were sent to the participants two weeks prior to the interview date. The semi-structured interview session was conducted on a one-to-one basis and guaranteed confidentiality.

The respondent was assured that data gathered from him/her would not be disclosed to his/her employers, and each interview session was tape-recorded with the permission of the interviewee and later transcribed to avoid loss of vital data. This was complemented by the researcher’s notes taken during the interviews. These notes were to serve as a backup in case the tape recording technology malfunctioned or the cassette could not be accessed. The senior manager at Odotobri Rural Bank was interviewed; who has been working in the banking industry for 8 years and currently has worked for Odotobri Rural Bank for 5 years and the session lasted for about twenty-five minutes.

What is marketing strategy as an industry person?

According Wood (2003) the process of exploring marketing opportunities, investing times and money to pursue those opportunities and predicting the outcome of those investments is the strategic marketing planning process. Strategic marketing planning is the process of examining a company’s marketing opportunities, allocating resources to capitalize on those opportunities and predicting market and financial performance that is likely to occur (Lehmann & Winer, 2001).

An organization’s strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. A good marketing strategy should be drawn from market research and focus on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business. The marketing strategy is the foundation of a marketing plan.

Why do you adopt marketing strategy?

Firms adopt strategies to enhance their operations. Enhancing efficiency calls for all the functional departments sharing ideas through enterprise resource planning. So the teams developing the product have direct communication with the communication department to design good messages for the customer base. Here are three additional benefits of developing marketing strategies:

Efficient distribution

With a solid marketing strategy in place, it helps us to determine the most appropriate means of distribution. For example, if you are targeting the younger generation, you may want to provide options for tablets and mobile services like ATM and credit cards. An easy to use method for shopping is the best way to enhance sales and increase customer loyalty among your customer groups.

Brand Image

A solid brand image help businesses to survive for a long-term, and this is the main reasons why marketing strategy is very important. So with a marketing strategy in place you hardly waste your advertising budget on unproductive platforms that do not add value to your brand image.

Better placement of adverts on a website or radio depends on your solid brand image.

Product development

The sole aim of marketing is not about you promoting a product that already exists but trying to win the heart of customers and providing their needs. Adding new features to a product when it is not meeting the needs of the customers is also the order of the day. Having a solid status in the market helps you to serve your customers well. The fast changing technological business environment requires that businesses adapt to those changes to remain relevant through solid marketing strategies. To sell the right product at the right price to the right group of consumers requires solid tactical marketing activities in the form of distribution and promotion. Again you cannot ignore the importance of Political, Economic, and Social and Technological analysis) and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

 

 

 

How is brand building done in your bank?

At Odotobiri we make an effort to make sure that the brand is well known and trusted as it continues to grow and provide financial services to customers. Branding, where we work to create marketing synergy, can be used to great effect here – Odotobiri sponsorship of the brilliant but needy students in the senior high education have served to continue to establish the Odotobiri name as one that is trusted in general, just as the any of the traditional banking giants like Barclays.

What are the benefits of building a brand?

Attraction for top-notch people-We believe that, the best brains are attracted to companies with strong brands and thereby increasing the productivity of these companies

Most times employees that join most of these companies with strong marketing presence turn to be brand ambassadors for these organizations thereby boosting the performance of these companies.

 

“Improved brand equity-Every cedi spent on branding for Odotobiri rural bank can be counted in the valuation of the company-that is a cedi-for-cedi assessment.

When a brand enjoys top of mind appeal in the market, the value of the brand is multiply.

To enjoy high value for your brand, firms need to win the customers appeal, which is directly, subsumes under goodwill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What methods do you use to reinforce your brand?

To us at Odotobiri brand reinforcement focuses on maintaining the brand equity by keeping the brand alive among existing and new customers. This is done by constantly conveying the meaning of the brand in terms of:

  •      What are the services/products under the brand? What are core benefits and how it   satisfies the demand?
  •      How is the brand different from other brands? How it enables a customer to make a strong, unique and favorable association in the mind?

So brand reinforcement is done through various marketing programs

Advertising is one of the most common and easy tool of brand reinforcement. By showing the ads frequently on TV, internet, bulletins, billboards and radio. This can make the brand deep rooted in the minds of the customers.

Exhibition provides a vital platform to the brands where the service or product with any new feature can be demonstrated to the customer. Products seen in real gives an experience to the customer and some image gets created in their minds.

Events and sponsorship act as an aide to the brand reinforcement. This is done by sponsoring brilliant but needy students in senior high schools with the sole aim of bringing to the attention of the customers our corporate social responsibility.

Promotion is most frequently used tool of brand building or reinforcement here at Odotobiri rural bank wherein some special offers, freebies, discounts, gift packs, etc. are given along with the services and products. This is done with the intention to retain the existing customers and attract new customers simultaneously. 

 

 

 

What is marketing communications to you as an industry person?

What marketing communications mixes does your bank use to attract and retain customers?

Would you view any of these variables as important, describe why:

  • Advertising: Advertising is one of the most common and easy tool of brand reinforcement. By showing the ads frequently on TV, internet, bulletins, billboards and radio. This can make the brand deep rooted in the minds of the customers.

Public relations and publicity: Public relations builds confidence communicates differentiators and clearly states the key messages. Our always try to make our bank’s messages be consistent and convincing. There is no better vehicle to define our brand, raise our visibility and, ultimately, increase our customer base, than public relations. Public relations allow Odotobiri Rural bank to deliver its carefully crafted messages to target audiences in a credible manner. One of the key objectives of our PR campaigns is to differentiate the client’s brand from the competition.

 

  • Sales promotions: Promotion is most frequently used tool of brand building or reinforcement here at Odotobiri rural bank wherein some special offers, freebies, discounts, gift packs, etc. are given along with the services and products. This is done with the intention to retain the existing customers and attract new customers simultaneously. 
  • Events and experiences: Events and sponsorship act as an aide to the brand reinforcement. This is done by sponsoring brilliant but needy students in senior high schools with the sole aim of bringing to the attention of the customers our corporate social responsibility.

 

  • Direct marketing: we use direct marketing to acquire new customers and enhance the experience of existing customers to improve retention and strengthen loyalty. At Odotobiri we do this through multiple channels including direct mail, email, web and SMS, based on our customer’s preferences.
  • Interactive marketing: as a bank we listen to our customers’ voices- in branches and across all digital channels, including social media. As banking has become substantially more sophisticated, we try to innovate in the online banking, listen to customer voices across physical and digital channels, mobile services and on social media.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: We are aware that banking industry is going through turbulent times. In this era of mature and intense competitive pressures, it is imperative that banks maintain a loyal customer base. To achieve this objective and improve our market and profit positions, we are directing our strategies toward increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty through improved service quality. In the present context, that is characterized by rapid change and sophisticated customers, it is important that banks in Ghana determine service quality factors, which are pertinent to the customers’ selection process, as well as the dimensionality of customer-perceived service quality. If service quality dimensions are identified, service managers can improve the delivery of customer perceived quality during the service process and have greater control over the outcome.
  • Personal selling: competition fostered by deregulation of the Ghanaian banking industry, along with increasing complex product/service offerings and the growth of importance of relationship banking have brought the need for personal selling effectiveness to the forefront in the Ghanaian banking industry. So at Odotobiri we have sales force that go to the field to sell the Odotobiri brand to actual and prospective customers.

 

Strategies to attract and maintain customers

Keep regular touch, understand the client and remain relevant to their needs. It is about developing the concept of customer segmentation which takes effort to develop a long-term and profitable customer relationship through interaction and trust for mutual benefit.

 

How does the organization differentiate customers?

In 3 categories- corporate, commercial and consumer. Over the past decades, there has been a growing recognition among practitioners that product and service differentiation represents a source of competitive advantage. The core idea of differentiation is to identify profitable market segments and to design products and services to optimally satisfy the needs of the target segments. As a more extreme form of differentiation, the concept of customization – that means the degree to which the firm’s offering is tailored to meet heterogeneous customers’ needs.

 

 

 

What is the goal for building relationship with customer of your bank?

Marketing activities carried out in order to attract, maintain, and enhance the long-term and profitable relationships with potential and existing customers, through interaction, commitment, customization, and identification of customer lifetime value. Where necessary, unprofitable relationships, may be terminated, so in short it is to attract, maintain, develop businesses.

8.0 Discussion: what the organization is doing compare with literature

According Wood (2003) the process of exploring marketing opportunities, investing times and money to pursue those opportunities and predicting the outcome of those investments is the strategic marketing planning process. Strategic marketing planning is the process of examining a company’s marketing opportunities, allocating resources to capitalize on those opportunities and predicting market and financial performance that is likely to occur (Lehmann & Winer, 2001). This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

“An organization’s strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. A good marketing strategy should be drawn from market research and focus on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business. The marketing strategy is the foundation of a marketing plan.

 

The determination of what is to be produced or serve should not be a prerogative of firms or government but that of the consumers (Lipsey, 1983). This means orientation towards the marketing concept and is captured in the slogan. “The consumer is king”. Many successful companies realize that serving the customer instead of their own interests is the basis for their existence. With the marketing concept, production STARTS and ENDS with the aim and all efforts on satisfying customers – at a profit”. This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

“Marketing strategy helps us to create harmony in the organization.  There is collaboration between functional departments. Again when it comes to the development of products the team share ideas with communication team to come up with a holistic marketing message.  We believe that developing marketing strategies bring in the following benefits:

Efficient distribution

With a solid marketing strategy in place, it helps us to determine the most appropriate means of distribution. For example, if you are targeting the younger generation, you may want to provide options for tablets and mobile services like ATM and credit cards. An easy to use method for shopping is the best way to enhance sales and increase customer loyalty among your customer groups.

Brand Image

A solid brand image help businesses to survive for a long-term, and this is the main reasons why marketing strategy is very important. So with a marketing strategy in place you hardly waste your advertising budget on unproductive platforms that do not add value to your brand image.

Better placement of adverts on a website or radio depends on your solid brand image.

Product development

The sole aim of marketing is not about you promoting a product that already exists but trying to win the heart of customers and providing their needs. Adding new features to a product when it is not meeting the needs of the customers is also the order of the day. Having a solid status in the market helps you to serve your customers well. The fast changing technological business environment requires that businesses adapt to those changes to remain relevant through solid marketing strategies. To sell the right product at the right price to the right group of consumers requires solid tactical marketing activities in the form of distribution and promotion. Again you cannot ignore the importance of Political, Economic, and Social and Technological analysis) and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

 

What is a brand? According to Jeff Bezos-CEO of Amazon, what people say about you when you are not there is called brand. The extant literature says there are lots of terms in the business arena referring to a brand that makes it difficult to as it were to understand what a brand actually means. Keller (2009) posited that brands are associated with slogans, advertising campaigns, logos, and organizational names. However, brands sometimes can be more emotional in nature simply because it is attached to the concept of status, trust, and quality of the company in question. The continuous interaction with a service provider or a product is what we normally termed as a brand. Brand in the context of customers are connection you are able to make in their minds,  which represents a promise that make them experience the brand.

This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

“At Odotobiri we make an effort to make sure that the brand is well known and trusted as it continues to grow and provide financial services to customers. Branding, where we work to create marketing synergy, can be used to great effect here – Odotobiri sponsorship of the brilliant but needy students in the senior high education has served to continue to establish the Odotobiri rural bank’s name as one that is trusted in general, just as the any of the traditional banking giants like Barclays”.

It can be said that strong brands result in performance in terms of investment and decrease the acquisition cost. This is because when customers come to trust your brand, you enjoy a repeat purchase hence customer loyalty is assured. This actually increases the financial position of the company. Creating solid brands come with lots competitive advantages. First, consumers are more prepared to pay more. Second, customers do not need to think before making their choices.

So the decision to your product hinges on the past experience of the customers. It can be argued that the companies also benefit when they have a strong brand: the best talents prefer working those companies and are able to support the decisions made by the management.

This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

 

Attraction for top-notch people-We believe that, the best brains are attracted to companies with strong brands and thereby increasing the productivity of these companies

Most times employees that join most of these companies with strong marketing presence turn to be brand ambassadors for these organizations thereby boosting the performance of these companies.

 

“Improved brand equity-Every cedi spent on branding for Odotobiri rural bank can be counted in the valuation of the company-that is a cedi-for-cedi assessment.

When a brand enjoys top of mind appeal in the market, the value of the brand is multiply.

To enjoy high value for your brand, firms need to win the customers appeal, which is directly, subsumes under goodwill.

To prolong the life cycle of a brand or product an organization needs to use skillful marketing techniques to inject new life into the product. While going for a repositioning, it is important to accurately and completely characterize the breadth and depth of brand awareness; the strength, favorability, and uniqueness of brand association and brand responses held in consumer memory; and the nature of consumer-brand relationships (Babu, 2006). This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

To us at Odotobiri brand reinforcement focuses on maintaining the brand equity by keeping the brand alive among existing and new customers. This is done by constantly conveying the meaning of the brand in terms of:

  •      What are the services/products under the brand? What are core benefits and how it   satisfies the demand?
  •      How is the brand different from other brands? How it enables a customer to make a strong, unique and favorable association in the mind?

Odotobiri rural bank handles brand reinforcement through a variety of ways

To build a strong brand, a company needs to use advertising to create awareness by promoting the company’s product or service on TV and on Radio regularly. This may create top of mind appeal for the company among customers.

Firms can also benefits from exhibition in their quest to build a strong brand among customers. It is good to organize exhibition for the customers to get the feel of their products so that they can create images in the minds of the consumers.

Solid brand creation can be done through events and sponsorship.This is done by sponsoring brilliant but needy students in senior high schools with the sole aim of bringing to the attention of  the customers out corporate social responsibility.

Promotion is most frequently used tool of brand building or reinforcement here at Odotobiri rural bank Promotion is most frequently used tool of brand building or reinforcement here at Odotobiri rural bank. This is where we offer discount prizes to our customers. The main aim of doing this is to maintain our customers and acquire new customers.

The process of informing, persuading and reminding customers directly and indirectly concerning a company’s product or service is called marketing communication. In a sense, marketing communication represent the ‘voice’ of the company and its brands and are a means by which it can establish a dialogue and build relationships with and among consumers (Keller, 2009). This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

Brand awareness is created through a solid marketing communication activities which translates customer perceptions about the product or service in the larger market. To retain current consumer base of a company, marketing communication is needed.

To communicate effectively and efficiently, marketers have to go where the customers are in this era of fragmented media space (Keller, 2009).  This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

  • We at Odotobri see advertising as a medium of building a strong brand. To create a strong brand in the minds of the customers, firms need to frequently show their products on TV, internet, and radio.  

Public relations and publicity: Public relations builds confidence communicates differentiators and clearly states the key messages. Our always try to make our bank’s messages be consistent and convincing. There is no better vehicle to define our brand, raise our visibility and, ultimately, increase our customer base, than public relations. Public relations allow Odotobiri Rural bank to come up with tailor made messages to their customer. One of the key objectives of our PR campaigns is to differentiate the client’s brand from the competition.

 

  • Sales promotions: Promotion is most frequently used tool of brand building or reinforcement here at Odotobiri rural bank. This is where we offer discount prizes to our customers. The main aim of doing this is to maintain our customers and acquire new customers.

 

 

  • Events and experiences: Events and sponsorship act as an aide to the brand reinforcement. This is done by sponsoring brilliant but needy students in senior high schools with the sole aim of bringing to the attention of  the customers out corporate social responsibility.

 

  • Direct marketing: we use direct marketing to acquire new customers and enhance the experience of existing customers to improve retention and strengthen loyalty. At Odotobiri we do this through multiple channels including direct mail, email, web and SMS, based on our customer’s preferences.
  • Interactive marketing: as a bank we listen to our customers’ voices- in branches and across all digital channels, including social media. As banking has become substantially more sophisticated, we try to innovate in the online banking, listen to customer voices across physical and digital channels, mobile services and on social media.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: We are aware that banking industry is going through turbulent times. In this era of mature and intense competitive pressures, it is imperative that banks maintain a loyal customer base. To achieve this objective and improve our market and profit positions, we are directing our strategies toward increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty through improved service quality. In the present context, that is characterized by rapid change and sophisticated customers, it is important that banks in Ghana determine service quality factors, which are pertinent to the customers’ selection process, as well as the dimensionality of customer-perceived service quality. If service quality dimensions are identified, service managers can improve the delivery of customer perceived quality during the service process and have greater control over the outcome.
  • Personal selling: competition fostered by deregulation of the Ghanaian banking industry, along with increasing complex product/service offerings and the growth of importance of relationship banking have brought the need for personal selling effectiveness to the forefront in the Ghanaian banking industry. So at Odotobiri we have sales force that go to the field to sell the Odotobiri brand to actual and prospective customers.

The success of every business hinges on customers. Here are the reasons- they bring money and spread the word-of-mouth to keep the firm in competition. Businesses are compelled to adopt strategies to attract and retain their customers. Firms need to perform above average to attract customers and keep them for the purposes of repeat purchase. This really calls for relationship marketing practices to add personal touch to this relationship so customers may feel important. It is good to address customers by their names. There are various channels that companies can use to interact with customers for example through emails, or written communications.

This was supported by the senior manager’s views below:

“Keep regular touch, understand the client and remain relevant to their needs. It is about developing the concept of customer segmentation which takes effort to develop a long-term and profitable customer relationship through interaction and trust for mutual benefit”.

 

What is the goal for building relationship with customer of your bank?

Marketing activities carried out in order to attract, maintain, and enhance the long-term and profitable relationships with potential and existing customers, through interaction, commitment, customization, and identification of customer lifetime value. Where necessary, unprofitable relationships, may be terminated, so in short it is to attract, maintain, develop businesses.

 

9.0 Conclusion

This work is written to provide the Strategic Marketing Management Analysis of Odotobri Rural Bank. In keeping up with the fierce competitive environment and changing client wants and needs within the business landscape, banks consisting of the rural banks need to adopt effective marketing strategies in their operations to satisfy their customers in a first-class manner.

The changing taste and preference of today’s consumers have compelled banks-rural and universal to employ survival strategies in the financial arena to attract and maintain customers. This invariably will enhance service quality in the industry which will boost economic development in the long-run.  Banking institutions must formulate, and put into force techniques that will allow them to have a competitive edge over their contemporaries in the market. The competitive aim is to provide satisfactory customers service. The primary goal of the study was; to investigate the strategic marketing activities to attract and retain customers at Odotobri Rural Bank.  However, due to the fluctuating financial market in Ghana, customers can easily change their trusted brand, alter services they are using. Analyzing and finding a strategic marketing plan for the bank’s situation is extremely important to every marketer, especially the approach at strategic level before considering the operational plan. Although this work still has many limitations, the researcher hopes that it can be a reference research for those students who are interested in the bank marketing field and its “highly applied” characteristic in real situation.

 

 

 

 

10.0 Recommended strategies

  • The bank should also engage their customer and ask for feedback so that they can develop reference materials. It is a good strategy for them to improve their brand’s loyalty as well as creating attraction potential customers.
  • Regularly checking and taking care of ATM machines or POS in order to ensure that those machines are always active 24/7 with sufficient money and full functions.
  • Equipping modern facilities and technology with various functions to adapt to customers’ demands.
  • Using internet with fast speed so that transaction can take place conveniently and quickly.

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