An Eastern Kentucky Community Bank’s Marketing Practice and Effort during the COVID-19 Pandemic Effort
Community banks have always been the backbone and the most important business partners of small businesses in rural areas. With the severe impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, they are in a good position to provide relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support and revive small businesses. Two CRM marketing principles, customer relationship management and cause-related marketing, have been popularly adopted by various types of agencies to earn the trust of their clients and stakeholders while shaping the organizational image. This case study examined how a small community bank in Eastern Kentucky served its clients and employees by reflecting the CRM principles. The project goals addressed: (1) the bank’s approach in protecting the safety and benefits of its employees and customers during the pandemic, and (2) the bank’s response in diversifying its business service and hiring practices due to the rising awareness in social justice and racial concerns. According to the interview responses of the bank’s Vice President, the bank presented comprehensive strategies to ensure the safety of the client and employees. On the other hand, the lack of development in dealing with diversity hiring and targeting minority clients suggested its inadequate compliance in the caused-related marketing concept.