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In the quaint town of Effingham, in the southern part of central Illinois, lies the headquarters for the fourth largest bank in the state. Midland States Bank has been practicing financial services for more than 130 years and has grown into a regional 70 branch powerhouse with offerings in both Missouri and Illinois.

From its humble one-branch start, Midland today serves consumer, business and corporate clients with a full range of services. As part of their growth, they have acquired other community banks and attracted the attention of competitors in their primary markets of southwest Chicago, Rockford and St. Louis.

As a way to ease apprehension of newly acquired customers and fend off attacks from other banks during the transitional period when assimilating a new bank, Midland realized they needed to have a presence that communicated their values and services in the marketplace. They came to 97 Degrees West for help in elevating their strategic brand position and media targeting with a campaign to drive awareness.

Key Results

Increase in new users.

Increase in pageviews.

Decrease in bounce rate.
Midland States Bank.jpg

Project components


Brand Creative Campaign

Media Strategy and Plan

Campaign Optimization

"We've been in a period of growth, and with the addition of multiple branches throughout our footprint, we needed a partner who could develop messaging that reassured existing and new customers. 97 Degrees West not only did that, but provided insights and strategies to maximize our outreach and customer journey in a simple, easy to understand format. We're proud to have them be our AOR."

John Dietrich, Director of Marketing Midland States Bank


The key objectives of this program were to:

  1. Define the brand position within the market. The current brand position was no longer resonating with the community and could not be defined easily.
  2. Develop an impactful brand creative campaign relevant to the target audience and ensure consistency within the message and creative elements when out in the market.
  3. Increase brand awareness of the 70-branch footprint in the Missouri and Illinois DMAs.
  4. Drive substantial traffic to the online properties: Social Media and Website.

Target Audience

We targeted visitors to luxury dealerships on Sundays, Mondays, Fridays, and Tuesdays between July 1st through August 5th. These visitors fit the following criteria:

  • Visited a competitor's dealership a maximum of two times
  • HHI of $75K+
  • Age 45+
  • Zip code verification

Leveraging patented “Data of Intent” technology, we were able to identify people further down the purchasing funnel. These were broken into categories based on the days targeted:

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays: Active shoppers in the market
  • Sundays: Interested shoppers, but wanting to avoid sales personnel


Our strategy was to communicate to our existing, acquired and potential customers the brand promise of Midland States Bank. The recent acquisition of a regional bank and lack of consistent messaging created an ‘uncertainty’ mindset within the community. We wanted to communicate that although there had been some changes within the bank, Midland States Bank would continue to uphold their community roots, deliver on personalized customer service and offer a more diverse product portfolio. 

The Midwest is the heartland of the United States. How access to home mortgages, personal loans, and consistent and great customer service intertwines with their daily lives led the positioning effort. Midland States Bank, while the 4th largest bank in the state, understands that people’s lives are real. They aren’t just a number. Hence the “Banking For Real Life” positioning.

Our next endeavor was to incorporate the positioning into a creative campaign that would connect with our target audience and communicate that we ‘get them.’ 

Tactically, we developed a media plan that included OOH, TV and print in target markets based on value of audience reach that each effort provided. Tracking the success of the campaign was paramount to the media effort, therefore metrics and tracking mechanisms were implemented at the start of the campaign. Landing pages served as the ‘payoff’ for the click-through to ensure a seamless experience for the user.  The user then had the option of clicking through to the main site to explore who Midland States Bank is and the services they offer.

Our media strategy included digital channels such as: Facebook, Google PPC/Display, Device ID and Pandora to specific zip codes. Connected TV, print and OOH were additionally part of the media mix in select markets. The campaign ran for an 8-week period over October and November 2018.

Midland states bank was a huge success, but it’s just business as usual at 97 Degrees West.


If we work together, the strategy and deliverables may differ, but our goal will be the same: become an extension of your team and deliver outstanding business results you can measure. No fluff. No excuses.


Fill out the short form and you’ll hear from:

Vera-Fischer.png Vera K. Fisher
CEO and President
97 Degrees West.


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