I talked to Rod Pyper, director of marketing at Barnes Bank, to learn more about how this process went.
Hal Reid (HR): How long have you been using Sharp Analytics products?
Rod Pyper (RP): We have been using Sharp products since the end of last year.
HR: Which aspect of the products do you use most?
RP: We use the ability to assess our customer base. It allows us to fine tune for more customers. We expect to use more of the BI and LI functionality as time goes on. As an example of this, I created a plan where a large part of my budget would go to support local marketing, provided the branch or even several branches created a plan. This gave us an opportunity to push the technology down.
HR: Sharp includes a number of geographic functions. Are you using those and, if so, how?
RP: We use Sharp to help generate and evaluate our direct mailers. This is the primary use of the geographic functions and it helps us match prospects with our customer profiles.
HR: Today banks are extremely competitive, even the banks that are national players. How have Sharp products kept you competitive?
RP: We have a couple of factors that help us competitively. Certainly the Sharp product helps us market better as a community bank, that is, understand the differences between the customer bases for each of our branches construction, business, consumer banking. Another asset this bank has is its employee base. We have employees who have been here a while, know the customers, so they can augment any marketing efforts we have at the branch level.
HR: One of the interesting things about banks is that a wealth of data is available about other banks; deposits, branches, products, etc. Which of these data sources have been the most useful to your bank?
RP: In our case, we rely mostly on internal sources of data. Using Sharp, we can match our list of customers to the data they retrieve as part of their business intelligence function. With this combination, we can look both at profitability and the next most likely products our customers will purchase. This gives us a view to the future and lets us anticipate it.
HR: I was surprised to see that for a bank of your size, you offer electronic banking. Only one of my banks here in Georgia does, and the one that doesnt has a lot more than 11 branches. I suspect they dont use Sharp products either. How is it that you are able to be so progressive?
RP: Our customers expect us to be competitive with bigger banks, and require electronic banking because of the distance situation. It isnt always feasible for them to visit a branch. If we had more critical mass in our communities that might not be an issue, but we have only 10 locations, making electronic banking essential. The bank is going through an evolution; looking at the markets more closely understanding how important research and effective marketing campaigns are. Sharp is relatively new and I have been here just 16 months. It is great to have a partner like Sharp to help in understanding the present and begin developing marketing efforts that actually match the conditions in each of the branches.
HR: It is approximately 250 miles between St. George and the nearest branch (Orem). This has got to be an issue in managing a remote branch. Has Sharp mitigated this at all?
RP: Yes, both in the ability to evaluate the growth in this market and create effective marketing. This is a fairly new branch for us and we wanted to operate in this, a very high growth area, and bring them community banking. In fact, the grand opening of this branch will be September 8th. We have operated a small office there for a while. But in this environment, with high growth, it lets us capitalize on our construction lending reputation. As insight to this market, this area has become a destination for snowbirds out of Salt Lake City and other areas, primarily because of the weather. It is a lot warmer than most of Utah and St. George has become one of the fastest growing areas - I believe I read where it was the 5th fast growing in the country. Our branch in Orem (a new branch, too) is also in a high growth area. In this case, high tech is driving that growth.