While bank marketing has largely remained traditional, standard bank advertising is boring for both marketers and their consumers. Thinking outside the box and looking at alternative advertising ideas for banks will help you to develop creative campaigns, benefiting your bank, consumer engagement, and likely the success of the actual marketing campaigns as well.

Most consumers see banking as a mundane necessity, something they’d rather avoid if they could. Taking a creative approach to marketing might change that, especially if you integrate fun ideas like gamification, automation, chatbots, and rewards so that consumers are motivated to use your services.

Here are 7 creative marketing ideas for your bank:

1. Location Based Advertising

No matter what the size of your bank, your physical location is an important element of your marketing and advertising. While options will change depending on your budget, technological capabilities, and audience, you can do a lot with your simple, physical presence.

For example, in 2008, HSBC launched a campaign to build awareness for personal banking services in Australia. At the time, most locals were unaware of HSBC either as a brand or as a personal bank. HSBC used a creative advertising idea in the form of printing origami folding instructions on receipts. The result got people talking and it drove engagement for the bank.


Bank Marketing Guidebook

To stay relevant and competitive in this new economy, your financial institution must be part of the digital conversation, but where do you start?


You can also use other creative advertising to drive interest and engagement on-location. For example, offering on-location consultations and information. Banks like Virgin Money in the UK are introducing lounges where anyone can come in and relax to draw in customers and drive engagement. Taking simple steps to shift focus away from tellers and towards digital-self-service through smarter ATMs and computers is also important, and will enable you to reduce the cost of a physical presence, reduce the size of bank branches, and therefore offer more locations and more value. Banks like JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America are already taking these steps, resulting in higher bank engagement because consumers don’t have to wait for a teller.

2. Take Advantage Of Gamification in Fintech

Today’s consumers expect and even demand apps and digital experiences, creating the perfect opportunity for fun marketing. Gamification is an easy and creative way to engage consumers, where you apply gaming principles and mechanics to engage and motivate consumers.

Most banks are integrating gamification to promote desired behavior such as saving and budgeting. Gamification examples in financial services are everywhere. Wells Fargo uses the Daily Change application as part of their banking to promote money-saving choices like making lunch at home. Once users take part in a challenge, they rack up savings, which are then transferred directly into a savings account. PNC’s Virtual Wallet uses a similar concept, integrating pop-ups to promote customers to direct money towards goal-targeted accounts such as savings. Emirates NBD used a different form of gamification with the intent of increasing deposits. The company launched a Fitness Account which synchronized with fitness trackers like Fitbit and rewards customers for tracking a certain number of steps per day. At 12,000 steps per day, users can earn up to 2% interest per annum on savings accounts – creating a hefty motivation to deposit more.

3. How to Improve Customer Service in Banks? Make it Fun!

Most customer service queries relate to simple questions such as how to use features, requests about money, or information on opening accounts or new services. Integrating more engaging alternatives to customer service can help you to increase customer attention and to get people talking. For example, AI chatbots can offer the same help and information to basic customer queries as any customer service while providing an additional layer of interest. Similarly, introducing fun digital learning portals for users to learn the platform, their finances, and other forms of financial education adds a new and engaging layer to customer service.

4. Highlight Success Stories

The older your bank, the more likely it is that you have a wealth of success stories to pull from as part of your marketing campaigns. Most importantly, you should. Whenever you loan money, give a mortgage, or establish CDs or other savings and bonds structures, they should be with the intent of benefiting the customer. Taking those stories and highlighting them as part of a marketing campaign works to promote your bank, to build trust, and to show that you actually care about consumers. Allstate’s “Worth Telling” campaign highlighted individual customer success stories, sharing interviews, customer stories, and other information about real people who had made it because of loans or assistance from their bank.

5. Create a Social Media Personality

Social media is here to stay and you likely already have a strong presence on it. However, most banks use social media in relatively traditional and even “boring” ways in that they remain traditional. At the same time, other types of big business are leveraging strong social media personalities to drive consumer engagement and build customer loyalty. For example, Denny’s, the chain restaurant, has one of the most popular social media platforms out there, based on a simple strategy of engaging people in a real way. While your bank’s social media personality doesn’t have to be quite so “out there”, it is a good idea to create a real personality, have fun with social, and offer consistent customer service and interaction through the platform. If customers know that you’re primarily there to entertain and engage rather than simply to push products, they will be much more likely to follow your page or channel.


Bank Marketing Guidebook

To stay relevant and competitive in this new economy, your financial institution must be part of the digital conversation, but where do you start?

6. Develop Partnerships and Leverage Them

Whether with universities and colleges, real estate agencies, or car dealerships, developing partnerships and leveraging them to offer value to the partner and to the customer will help you to drive value. For example, you can partner with educational institutions to offer financial education and courses, driving financial literacy for students of all ages. Similarly, you could partner with car dealerships or real estate agencies to allow customers to very quickly and easily get loan approval so that customers can start an application through the dealership, with the information you need on the car.

Partnerships allow you to increase exposure in places where customers actually need help, whether that help is information or actual service. However, you do have to ensure that any partnership you offer benefits to all parties involved.

7. Reward Users for Engagement

Whether online, in person and at events, or in bank branches, engagement is a crucial part of keeping consumers interested and aware of your bank. Taking the time to build reward programs for continuous engagement will help you to continue to drive that engagement. For example, you can reward users for checking into your bank on Facebook or Foursquare, you can create a reward program for handling digital banking and budgeting on a daily or weekly basis, and you can create rewards programs to promote adoption of new programs. For example, if you’re launching a new mobile app, you can reward people who adopt it and use it consistently.

Rewards can range from randomized double deposits or paying for purchases to a point system but should always be tangible and large enough to promote actual changes in behavior. Most importantly, you won’t necessarily have to invest a lot to reward behavior. Customers switching to using primarily digital banking rather than tellers could save you millions each year – using that money to promote adoption in the first few years would pay off in the long-run.

Bank marketing and advertising can be fun, engaging, and every bit as interesting for the customer as any luxury product. Simply taking a creative approach, keeping the customer’s experience in mind, and building your campaigns around the customer will help you develop better and more engaging marketing campaigns.