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Rapid Responses & Lessons Learned

Digital Marketing

Rapid Responses & Lessons Learned

Eric Cook by Eric Cook

Chief Digital Strategist

Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Eric considers himself a “recovering banker” of 15 years, who for the past eleven years has focused his efforts as a digital strategist, helping his clients (mostly community banks) better understand and leverage the power of the Internet as a strategic business tool. An award-winning web designer with WSI, the world’s largest digital agency network, Eric is a two-time contributing author to the best-selling book Digital Minds – 12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing. Consistently rated in the top five digital marketing books on Amazon, the book is in its second edition and available in three languages.

A sought-after, nationally-recognized speaker in the financial services industry, Eric is a member of the National Speakers Association and loves sharing his knowledge to help educate and inspire others. He is the co-creator of a weekly webinar show called Free Webinar Wednesdays, founder of the Banker Education Series webinar series, and serves as a faculty member at several banking schools around the country where he teaches bankers about digital strategy, online marketing and social media. He is a WSI Certified LinkedIn Professional and holds undergraduate degrees in business administration and psychology. While working full-time as a community banker, Eric earned his MBA and completed the three-year Graduate School of Banking program in Madison, WI in 2003.

Professionally, Eric helps his clients in all areas of digital marketing, which includes mobile-responsive web development, search engine marketing and optimization, social media strategies, e-mail communication, and “big-picture” digital strategic planning. He’s the co-founder of, a service created to help businesses understand their risk when it comes to operating in today’s digital world. When he’s not helping his clients succeed online, he can typically be found on one of his many bicycles training for his next mountain bike/triathlon race or spending time with his wife and two (very spoiled) golden retrievers.



In my previous blog post about being “real time” and thinking on your feet, I shared some observations from a recent webinar on Pokémon Go.

Thinking further about the webinar (because there were so many great points to share), I wanted to revisit some of my thoughts and reinforce some points.

“Is Pokémon a long-term marketing platform?”

This has come up a couple of times in conversations with some of my banking connections. I’d have to say “no,” but your digital strategy (and the ability to react quickly, as Ben from Social Assurance mentioned in the webinar, is a long-term play and you should be thinking about ways to leverage digital ads, offers and build engagement with your audience. Pokémon Go just happens to be the “shiny social media object” right now, but the big picture is much more important.

“Preserve some amount of opportunity for executing on platforms such as Pokémon Go”

To test and play with new things and see how they work, it’s important to have an R&D fund with budget allocated to try something new. For Pokémon Go (as an example), you can set aside a reserve fund for as little as $10-15 to research and try new things. Try buying a lure, sponsor or boost post on Facebook, buy an ad targeted at a particular demographic, etc. Old-school and traditional marketing and advertising are more expensive and take time to produce results (if you can even measure them at all). In the digital space, you’ll find a low cost per click with some of these social promotion efforts, especially if you’re embracing newer services out of the gate, before platforms have matured.

For example, if we pay for a search term like “mortgage” we will be competing against national players, opposed to local companies when advertising today. But, if your bank was “on the ball” when Google AdWords came out, you could have bought your way into that mortgage market very inexpensively, and with little competition by reacting quickly. When we see a platform like Pokémon Go, who has yet to establish the impact of “real advertising” but allows you to at least drop a lure, this can be done at a very low cost.

If you can bring 30-40 people to your location now, Nintendo (the creators of the Pokémon Go game) will soon raise the costs to make this happen as usage increases and competition develops. We expect to see Nintendo raising prices by letting a company sponsor a gym, or own his or her own Pokémon events. Suffice to say, it will be an interesting evolution to keep an eye on.

When we think of Facebook, the value they are driving a on is traffic down the interstate of their website, and people are clicking on those ads they pass on their social channels still today. When there is something massively changing (such as Pokémon), it upsets this consistency. Pokémon is driving consumers towards their company and providing opportunities for change in the paper click world and advertising.

“Pokémon isn’t a new change in technology - it is regressive”. There is no need to go out and buy accessories, you just need a phone.

Pokémon Go happened in two ways: existing technology that brought consumers something to help with the outside world, and they has an existing brand era already before 2016, that is already understood.

Citizens Bank of Edmond Strategy

Ann Chen, Senior VP of Marketing shared some of the bank’s strategic process, which further reinforce why Citizens was poised for success:
➢ First out the gate in their community
➢ Incorporated visual branding
➢ Related with their audience
➢ Omni-channel experience by embracing other social networks
➢ Proactive media strategy and incorporated it into Heard on Hurd

They Started a Trend

Citizens Bank of Edmond has their own Pokestop where they provide food and water for all visitors as a rest stop. They even put signs outside their bank to advertise the event and draw people into their lobby.

Seek to Create Engagement

They posted messages of encouragement like “Post a picture of yourself outside the bank and win a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop.” These created engagement on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks.

Provide Opportunities for Branding

They did a good job using their efforts for bank-branding. Local community members are taking pictures and talking about Pokémon Go, and Citizens is part of these conversations. Knowing someone of the generation who knows the game is definitely an advantage to being trusted and legitimate in Pokémon Go (or any network that you want to expand into). Other businesses and organizations that pretend to be apart of the conversation, but do not actually know much about the topic, provide false enhancement of conversation.

Educate Your Staff On Social

What is the difference between liking, sharing and retweeting? What is a Pokestop, lure, or trainer? Provide staff with Pokémon and social media training so they understand what is being posted on social media and engaging in the conversation with knowledge.

Let us Lend a Hand

If your bank, business or organization needs some help building a strategy that takes into consideration the “big picture” and is prepared to take advantage of the next opportunity that comes along, let us know. We’d love to help you develop a strategy that fits (or maybe enhances) your culture, objectives and engages the your customers and the communities you serve.


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