Financial organizations often struggle with differentiating themselves from competitors, who often use similar tactics, market to the same demographics, and offer similar or even the same rates and services. Using different marketing strategies for your bank can help you to differentiate yourself from competitors and move past them by offering new technologies, offering the same services in different ways, or otherwise targeting new people in new ways.
These 8 bank marketing strategies will get you started:
1. Target Different Demographics
Most bank marketing strategies target general audiences or wide audiences such as millennials and baby boomers. Your bank may have more success if you target local, specific, and smaller demographics. For example, if you can identify that your bank offers services specifically valuable to Gen Z students graduating high school and moving into university and college, you could create a strong marketing campaign geared at them. Similarly, if your services are better for middle-income baby boomers looking to start a savings program for retirement, you could create a strong marketing campaign. Even targeting a local audience will help you create more specific offerings and marketing so that you can more easily differentiate yourself from competitors.
2. Adopt New Technologies
Not every new technology will benefit your bank but staying on top of technology trends and curves will help you to stay competitive. For example, big banks are integrating automation and AI to create 24/7 customer service, automated approval for loans and mortgages, and even custom and personalized services. You should, at the least, offer strong digital banking and an app to cater to millennial and Generation Z audiences. However, if you do choose to adopt the technology, you should ensure that what you are offering is high quality.
Can chatbots and similar technologies actually help? If you look at your chatbot as something of an interactive FAQ, they’re often much more helpful than an exhaustive FAQ, simply because customers can find answers more quickly and can ask questions in more intuitive ways.
3. Push Digital Apps and Services
Today, an estimated 77% of the U.S. population has an active social media account. The same percentage of Americans also own smartphones. Many individuals are moving away from in-person banking and towards digital banking, which is convenient, easy to use, and often significantly faster. If you have a quality digital app or web portal and ideally both, you should push it and market it to your entire audience. You can do so by creating marketing campaigns and social media campaigns, but also by offering training, safety information, and tutorials geared towards older users who might not be as tech-savvy as younger generations.
Why is this a great bank marketing strategy? Americans are becoming less and less interested in going to physical banks and by telling them you have digital services, you tell them they don’t have to.
4. Return Value to Customers
Most customers are bringing you a great deal in value, it’s important that you return the favor. This may mean reviewing and revamping your services, cutting old products that are no longer delivering for customers, and streamlining your processes and services to improve what you offer to the customer.
For example, what actual benefits do your customers get by using your products over those of your competitors? If there are none, your best marketing strategy may be to approach your product offerings and redesign them into something more relevant to now and then rebrand your bank and services accordingly. For example, while many banks have traditionally offered standard packages for loans, bank accounts, savings accounts, and other services, most modern consumers benefit from flexible and modular packages where they can simply add on or remove services at-will, especially if they can do so online with limited time till approval.
5. Focus on Customer Outreach
Customer outreach is increasingly important as a marketing strategy, simply because many banks are focusing on digital and social media marketing. Connecting with consumers on a one-to-one basis and actually making human connections can do significantly more for customer relationships than any amount of online marketing. However, you will have to add real value to customer outreach. For example, you can choose to offer courses and workshops on financial literacy, online security, or even mobile banking. You can also choose to give quick one-on-one consultations, offer insight into investment portfolios, or whatever else suits your bank’s brand and customer demographic.
It’s also important that your representatives at outreach events have the training to offer warm, friendly, and most importantly, helpful advice and assistance without selling your products and services. Outreach should always be about building relationships, not about making sales.
6. Integrate Personalization with Big Data
Most banks have more data then they know what to do with. Yours is no exception. Making big data part of your bank’s marketing strategy is an important consideration because you can use it to offer better, more tailored, and more personalized products and services. For example, you can use simple automation algorithms to recommend products and services to customers based on the previous usage. You can auto-approve individuals for loans and mortgages, so they can see what they qualify for and their interest rates before they ever shop with a competitor. You can also use big data to recommend account upgrades and changes at key moments, such as when individuals are graduating from college, buying their first home, or purchasing a car. You already have the data, you just have to use it.
7. Get Smart with Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are one of the oldest bank marketing strategies out there, but they don’t have to be about collecting points through a credit card (although this is still a viable tactic). Good loyalty programs reward customers for actively engaging with and using the bank and should typically focus on incentivizing the customer to stay with your bank.
For example, Wells Fargo offers customer discounts in the form of free ATM usage, reduced loan and mortgage interest rates, and even slightly increased interest rates on CDs and savings accounts. Customers have to enroll in specific programs like auto-pay to qualify and have to be in the most active customers. Why does this work more than points? It costs you the same to produce but provides every customer with a real and tangible value they will see and compare to the rates offered by other banks.
8. Put Customer Experience First
Modern marketing and consumerism are all about the experience. If you can’t offer customers a quality experience, from your digital platform and app to your physical bank branches to calling customer service, you won’t succeed. Focusing on creating a positive, helpful, and quality experience for each customer, every time they interact with your bank is possibly the most important thing you can do. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to exceed expectations or delight the customer, it only means that you have to offer strong, stable, and quality solutions, should consistently offer value to the customer and should focus on being there for the customer first.
Your bank’s marketing strategies will define how you approach your customers, how customers see you, and even who you market towards. However, adopting the right strategies will put you on track to getting ahead of the competition.