Industry Era 10 Best CMOs of 2020 | Lead Bank

Dec 11, 2020

Written by the Industry Era Team.

“Connecting the Dots & Building Stronger Teams”

According to Melissa Beltrame, CMO of Lead Bank, Chief Marketing Officers that have upfront knowledge, information and idea-exchange are in a better position to develop more imaginative and effective marketing solutions – and to aid in building a more compassionate workplace culture.“Many organizations view marketing as the last stop, tactical piece of a project, which doesn’t benefit the marketing department or the organization as a whole. It’s too late at that point to rewind and create a more cohesive and holistic approach,” she explains. “That’s why it’s essential for marketing to have a seat at the table and to be part of those initial strategic conversations as well as to stay engaged and involved in those dialogues.”

“Lead Bank is where expertise, experience and technology unite. We take pride in working side by side with real people to achieve financial success. We’ve always been a bank that leads the way, not follows the herd. In 2010, we rolled out our new name and since then have taken the one word mission of being a true financial leader very seriously. Our current goal is to become a national community bank for the digital first community. We recognize that it is our fundamental duty to help people; and it is particularly our responsibility to innovate to help real people achieve financial security and financial success for themselves. We accelerate advocacy for inclusiveness and believe in equity for all people. We also refuse to accept geographic constraints and focus on offering fair, transparent and ethical banking solutions to all communities. Lead Bank is committed to being Your Bank for Good.”

A key quality of Melissa, which has made her a successful leader, is looking for imaginative, unique ways to answer questions and to solve problems. “Many community banks and small businesses don’t have large marketing budgets, so it’s important to think outside of the box for how to gather and deliver information,” she states. “For example, we might not have enough budget to embark on a sizeable customer segment research project, so how can we get creative and find different ways to obtain directional information to answer some of our questions?” She has been a pioneer for executing a variety of projects and valuing the details. She is always trying to synthesize information and connect the dots across departments, teams and even industries. “The high-level planning is important but an equal amount of time should be spent in the execution of a solid plan and then analyzing those detailed results.”

“Any good marketer will tell you how important it is to put the client first and remind you that it costs an organization more to acquire new clients than to keep current clients,” says Melissa. “Lead Bank’s technology solutions are designed based on several key questions that we ask ourselves: First, what makes the client’s experience easier and better? Secondly, what makes the client more engaged and the relationship stickier? The responses to those questions guide our decisions to implement products that allow our clients to bank ‘however they want, wherever they want’.” The primary challenge Lead Bank addresses for its clients is a similar challenge many businesses are addressing today—Is your organization flexible and nimble enough to adapt to its clients’ needs and the world around us in a timely manner? “Technology changes client’s expectations on a daily basis. For instance, if I have a great interaction with a retail-focused app, my perception changes and my expectations are elevated. Consequently, I come to expect that same great experience from my bank,” explains Melissa. “Also, clients’ needs shift based on what is happening in the world. The pandemic is a macro example of that challenge. Our goal is ultimately to build a culture and instill a mindset that allows Lead Bank to adapt to the evolving needs of our clients. That’s why one of our four core values is being nimble!”

Alongside, Lead Bank is actively supporting other innovators through their capital. They are the lead donor of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City's (EDCKC) initiative to establish a minority-focused start-up incubator.. The EDCKC has partnered with Atlanta-based Opportunity Hub (OHUB) to provide inclusive access to tech, start-up, in-demand technology education, training, and early-stage capital to support minority entrepreneurs. Lead Bank is also a significant donor to the KC Region Small Business Relief + Recovery Fund, which aids small, local businesses combatting the pandemic.

Lead Bank is a community-minded, independent commercial bank, recognized for its innovative approach to community banking and unique banking solutions that allows real people, real businesses, and their communities to thrive. Serving communities with treasury management and lending services, consumer client products, digital consumer banking, and innovative financial technology services, Lead Bank is the first choice for those looking for a future banking partner. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, yet serving clients digitally throughout the United States, Lead Bank is known for being a small business advocate, having outstanding client service, and creating financial pathways to those, who in the past, have been unbankable. 


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