In 2007, ING Belgium Retail changed its position in the mass retail market to become Belgium's first universal direct bank in a predominantly branch-based market. The fourth largest bank in the Belgian market at the time, ING Belgium Retail continued serving all banking customers with a wide range of financial products, but the bank adopted a new distribution model: 'Direct if possible, advice when needed'. Simple product sales would be migrated to direct channels as much as possible, and the branch network would be restructured to include fewer - but more efficient - branches. This would give the remaining branch staff more time for selling and providing more effective advice. Successful lift-off of the new business model hinged on transforming the Marketing department into a well-oiled machine capable of generating significant on-line traffic and providing more qualified leads to the branches. This case presents the approach taken by ING Belgium's Marketing department to build operational and analytical competency with the ambition of playing a leading role in the strategic transformation of the business. Students are invited to evaluate the bank's achievements up to the time this case was written and to discuss the issues and challenges facing this ambitious Marketing department.
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