Digital marketing is increasingly essential for bank marketers, as it makes up nearly half of all bank’s marketing budgets. At the same time, many small banks struggle with staying competitive in online spaces, often falling to the wayside behind national banks with much larger budgets.
While paid ads are a large part of every marketing strategy, digital marketing trends for 2019 incorporate personalization, customer experience, customer outreach, and improved audience segmentation as ways to improve advertising through quality, not just quantity.
While there are many factors to keep in mind when developing a digital marketing campaign, the following trends are among the most important to consider in 2019.
1. An Increasing Push for Competitiveness
Today, everyone is on digital. From social media to video to PPC ads across Google and Bing, nearly any bank will have a digital presence. Most banks believe they have to increase their digital marketing spend and increase efforts across platforms to increase the efficiency of their advertising. Digital advertising and marketing are also growing quickly, with 17% of organizations now committing more than 50% of the marketing budget to online media, compared to 14% in 2017. This same trend holds through for mobile marketing, where most allocate less than 40%, but the investment is on the rise.
While more competition shows the value of digital marketing, it also makes it more difficult to stand out. This means that banks must take unique approaches, highlighting customers and success stories, driving value through marketing offerings, and using non-traditional awareness campaigns rather than regular ads to drive the most engagement in a highly competitive digital world.
2. Chatbots are Primary Customer Service Contact Points
Chat is one of the fastest growing aspects of any customer support, with an increase in availability, complexity, and sophistication of options. Consumers want answers quickly and often without having to pick up the phone and dial. Chat and chatbots integrate into social media, websites, and apps, making it easy for customers to ask questions and receive the help they need with minimal effort. Here, chat is ideal for standard customer queries, checking accounts, checking services, and screening through the first tier of customer service.
While chat shouldn’t be your only line of customer service, it is extremely valuable to offer 24/7 chat services, with a sophisticated chatbot in-line. Here, you can offer services such as opening accounts, checking account status, and checking website server status to alert customers to service outages. You can also answer basic and commonly asked questions through chat rather than through a less-user-friendly knowledge base.
3. Segmenting, Targeting & Personalization
Big data allows banks to target individual consumers rather than segments as a whole, creating greater personalization and better user experience. Here, single-person segmentation relies on tracking through cookies and other tools and aggregating and collecting data across omnichannel touchpoints such as web, social media, and applications.
This increase in personalization ties into consumer desires for personalization and connection with their banks, with some 74% of all consumers expecting brands to treat them like an individual. How does this work in practice? Machine automation and AI combine with big data to allow you to offer personalized options, modular services and products, pre-approval for loans and services, and other personalized information. You can also show customers how their rates are calculated, offering discounts for paying on time or investing and otherwise taking steps to use data to automatically create a personalized experience.
4. Integrating Machine-Learning and AI
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are important aspects of integrating apps, chatbots, and single-person segmenting, but they are important on their own. Most banks have access to a plethora of data and machine learning is a great way to make use of it. For example, AI can track a user’s progress across a website, social media, and apps, take their search into account (using cookies) and create a personalized customer journey for them. AI can choose to show the customer relevant products and information, can direct them to a customer service representative if necessary, and can otherwise predict what the consumer needs based on their behavior and actions.
5. More Sophisticated Search
While organic search has remained largely the same for the better part of the last few years, new types of search are beginning to become popular. Marketing content must now be fully optimized to appear in mobile search, through voice searches, and sometimes through a combination of the two. Tailoring content marketing approaches and keywords to meet those needs, without interfering with the customer’s experience is crucial.
Here, banks must adjust content sharing strategies to offer short and succinct answers for mobile and voice search users.
6. Expanding to Omnichannel
Most consumers will experience a bank through multiple channels including social media and a website before considering walking into a branch or opening an account. Some will also download and check the app before doing so. Adjusting to this omnichannel experience means working to curate a customer journey across platforms so that customers experience the same branding and as close to a seamless experience as-is possible.
Here, you can also integrate cookies to track where customers are coming from, which can help you to tailor user experience and meet expectations.
7. A Focus on Experience and Engagement
Many digital marketing trends for banks revolve around embracing and utilizing new technologies, but customers also increasingly expect more from banks. With 24/7 service, the ability to easily change banks, and the ability to easily compare what banks are offering at a granular level, banks have to offer more. That “more” should be customer experience. Here, automation, AI, and machine learning can play an important role, offering consumers better rates, ensuring they don’t miss anything, creating added value, and otherwise working to improve the total experience of the consumer.
Digital marketing trends for banks are always changing, but many elements remain the same from year to year. For example, all banks should be focusing on offering a strong digital presence and app to meet the needs of younger consumers while offering convenience to everyone. Most should also focus on offering improved customer experience, with more personalization and more adaptable services to increase user satisfaction. Tying these elements into digital ads will also help with the increased online competition.