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James Robert:
Greetings and hello. I am James Robert Lay, and welcome to the third episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the Buy The Book series where I share insights from my book, Banking on Digital Growth, the Strategic Marketing Manifesto to Transform Financial Brands.

James Robert:
Does the world need another book? Does the world really need another marketing book right now for that matter in a post COVID-19 world? I really had to think long and hard about these two questions over the past few weeks, because you see, I wrote a strategic marketing manifesto for financial brand marketing teams, sales teams, leadership teams, all to help them generate 10 times more loans and deposits. The problem was right as we were preparing to launch the book, the COVID-19 crisis exploded around the world, so we hit the pause button. It just didn't feel right to launch and promote a book when at the time there was so much confusion and chaos happening all around us.

James Robert:
To be very honest and even a little bit vulnerable, I shared with my publishing team that, like I'm sharing with you right now, I was really concerned that the last 12 months of my life just went down the drain, but I've seen something happen. I've talked to dozens of different financial brand leaders, I've talked to different peers, to different colleagues, and I've watched almost every single business have to quickly transform into a digital first growth model because of the COVID-19 health crisis. Restaurants, retail, education, and yes, even financial brands. It has become clear to me that if I hold off on launching this book, I might be doing more harm than good, because that's why I wrote this book in the first place. That's why I wrote Banking on Digital Growth because I needed a way to transfer as much knowledge out of my head, which is framed around a strategic marketing manifesto and a blueprint that I've spent the last eight years developing and optimizing, I needed a way to transfer this information out of my head and into the hearts and minds of financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams.

James Robert:
I wrote this book for you to help to guide you and really to guide you now more than ever before in a post COVID-19 world to the coming months, and really even the next few years, I wrote this book to give you hope that yes, even in the midst of all of this chaos, this crisis, this confusion, that better days are ahead for all of us. We're just going to have to work a little bit harder to get there. We're just going to have to think a little bit differently to get there. We're going to have to do a little bit differently to get there.

James Robert:
So, does the world need another book? There's that question again. This question has actually plagued me since 2012, which I will unpack that backstory on a future podcast and what inspired me to go down this path and this journey in the first place. But since 2012, I thought about this question, does the world need another book? Does the world need another marketing book almost every single day? Because before I committed to writing Banking on Digital Growth, I had to be 100% confident that it would be something to help you, something to help your team gain clarity and a path forward for how you could maximize your own financial brand's digital growth potential, which might even be more so now in this post COVID-19 world. So that's why we are going to be launching Banking on Digital Growth on May 19th, 2020.

James Robert:
Now money's more stressful than ever before, and the way that consumers shop and buy financial products and services will never go back to the way things were before. Even in this time of chaos, of crisis, of confusion, people are looking for someone that they can trust to guide them beyond their financial stress towards a bigger, a better, a brighter future. They're looking for you, they're looking for your financial brand, but the question to think about is, how will you be able to help them most in a post COVID-19 digital first, mobile first world? If you are part of a financial brand marketing team, a sales team, a leadership team, you already know that the entire industry was already in the midst of exponential change fueled by new technologies, new competitors.

James Robert:
But now we're seeing exponential change being fueled by the environment or the COVID-19 crisis. And the way that consumers shop for and buy financial services will also change. We're not going back to the way things were before because consumers were already making purchase decisions about financial products long before they walked into a physical branch location, if they walked into a branch location at all. Question now, is will they ever walk into a branch location again?

James Robert:
But on the flip side, mobile banks, digital lenders, fintechs were already transforming their growth models that traditionally have been rooted for financial brands in branch sales strategies and legacy marketing strategies. Up to this point, it's highly likely that you and your financial brand have only dabbled in digital, particularly from a digital growth perspective. We know that because around 85% of financial brands do not have a defined digital growth strategy. I talked about that in extreme detail in episode one of what digital growth is in the first place and why it's important to define that and have a unified definition of digital growth across the entire organization from top to bottom and bottom to top.

James Robert:
But maybe you've recently built a new website, it's mobile responsive, hopefully it's ADA compliant, maybe you've been launching some digital ad campaigns, you're sending more and more emails, perhaps you're posting more and more content on social media, but there's a problem, you feel frustrated and you feel frustrated because you're not getting the results that you had hoped for. You're also feeling a little confused about what you should do next and now more than ever before in this post COVID-19 world. You're overwhelmed with everything going on around you. I get it. I really do. COVID-19 has thrown all of us into what I write about in the book called the circle of chaos.

James Robert:
Here's the good news, you don't have to stay stuck there. You can choose to escape the circle of chaos. You can choose to break free from what I write about in the book called the wall of fear. Break through the wall of fear and really commit to a journey of digital growth. That's why I wrote Banking on Digital Growth because I wanted to unlock the secrets of digital growth framed around a strategic marketing manifesto, a call to action, to transform financial brands. I want to provide you, your team with clarity into the future growth opportunities that I see that others have already achieved and gained and captured with a strategic blueprint that is framed around 12 key areas of focus that we'll talk about on future podcasts. Each one of these 12 key areas of focus will help you to gain knowledge, to gain insights, to educate yourself, educate your team, empower you to [inaudible 00:11:30] generate 10 times more loans and deposits while at the same time, finally proving the value of marketing as a strategic growth leader within your financial brand, not just a cost center.

James Robert:
The way you will do this is by committing first as an individual, then as a team, and then as an organization to use digital, to use technology, to guide people in the communities that you serve beyond their financial stress, towards a bigger, better brighter future. Because I truly do believe that even in this time of chaos and this time of crisis and this time of confusion, better days are ahead for us all. We're just going to have to work a little bit harder, we're going to have to think a little bit differently, we're going to have to do a little bit differently to get there.

James Robert:
So I look forward to sharing more insights from Banking on Digital Growth and future episodes of the Buy The Book series to guide you, your team, your financial brand, along your digital growth journey. Until next time, be well, do good and wash your hands.

Brief Summary of Episode #3

In 2010, Google calculated the number of books ever published to be an impressive 130M.

So, the question is: Does the world really need another book?

Specifically, does it need another marketing book?

It’s a question I grappled with while writing my upcoming book “Banking on Digital Growth,” way back in 2019 and long before COVID-19 was on our mind.

Ultimately, I realized I needed to write it to help financial brands unlock the secrets of digital growth.

Before the crisis, consumers were already making purchase decisions long before stepping into a branch, while digital was already disrupting traditional growth models.

Financial brands — many of whom had only dabbled — already needed guidance on their digital growth journeys.

So, I needed to publish.

In a post-COVID-19 world, it’s even more important.

Now we wonder if people will ever step foot in a branch again, while necessity has earned digital scores of new converts.

The crisis only accelerated the change that was already happening.

I truly believe better days are ahead for all of us. But we need to think and do things a little bit differently to get there.

That’s why I’m still releasing my book on May 19th via Amazon, to help guide you along your digital growth journey.

Key Insights and Takeaways


  • What's the problem confronting financial brands
  • The greatest opportunities ahead for banks and credit unions
  • How to transform marketing and sales teams

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