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Bank Of America: I&D Markets

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Competition and business can never be separated. Various organizations are frequenting the market day in day out in search of clientele. In a competitive marketing environment, it is not enough to win customers for your products. Marketers are required to be awake at all times, devising and implementing strategies not only to attract more customers but also to cultivate the loyalty of those who they already have in the basket. The bank of America, which is a leading financial / banking institution in America, is in the same marketing predicaments. Operating in a highly competitive and saturated financial market, the scramble for the ‘few” customers is a common practice for them. To solidify their position in the seemingly competitive financial sector, the institution has the intention of correcting the bad image created by the American banking sector, characterized by typically low profile customer servicing. It is thus inevitable for their marketing department in collaboration with R&D department to be highly innovative: a prerequisite for coming up market oriented products.  To achieve this, a strategic step to use pilot I&D markets, to develop, test and then apply the successful programs, is indeed a remarkable idea.

The bank of America started what they refereed to as I & D market centers by allocating 20 out of the 200 branches in Atlanta, few miles away from the banks headquarter. After one year of operation and success in the project, the top management increases the number of branches to 25 and makes a proposal for an addition of ten more branches. The idea to accept the offer on additional I&D market center branches culminates in a debate, with both the proponents and opponents to the idea citing various reasons for their stands. In my view however, Butler and Brady should accept the ten additional branches. In the first instance, the two have succeeded in the management of the project in the last one year, according to the precepts of the case. Since they are not failures, it is doubtable that their potential of even achieving better results has been reached within the first year. In fact, they are equally capable of handling even the additional branches, since they are certainly of value to the project.

According to the case, the number of experiments that the current I&D market centers are supposed to handle is exceeding the branches capacity; effect of which is detrimental to the project’s achievement. The customers are soaring day in day out thus initiating for a need to expand the centers capacity. More importantly, all the current centers are located in Atlanta. Banks customers in Atlanta are assumed to be representative of the entire American market which is a wrong footing according to me. It is not only important therefore to accept the addition of extra branches but testing and experimentations centers should be diversified in order to be  representative of the whole market.

Basing on the success of the project in the first one year, it can be assumed that I&D market center can be managed to be independent from the banks budget; that is to be self sustaining. The budgetary constraints in running the branches can therefore be neutralized and in my view, it should not be a hindrance to Brady and butler buying the idea of having additional branches. In addition, I would recommend that all the other branches of the bank of America perform the experimentation similar to that done in the I&D market branches. However, this will have to be undertaken in smaller scale since they have to carry on with the normal operations of the bank. In line with the above, the I&D centers which excels should be promoted to normal branches, while other dismally performing branches should be converted to I&D market centers.

In conclusion, the strategy employed by the bank of America to enhance innovations is a very effective one. The current 25 branches are insufficient to adequately achieve the projects results.  It would therefore be a good move for Brady and butler to accept management’s offer for additional branches. This will not only increase the capacity of the project to handle the large number of experiments and reduce time but will also enhance diversifications.

Work Cited

Stefan T (2002) Bank of America(A) case: Harvard business school. Rev October 25 2002

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