The banking industry is in the middle of a massive change, shifting away from traditional face-to-face services and towards real-time and mobile offerings. These generational and technological changes are forcing a shift in every aspect of customer-facing merchandising, including the marketing of banking products. Social media, mobile apps, real-time, big-data, and changing consumer expectations each impact how customers expect to receive marketing.
Today’s customers aren’t just looking for quality products and services. They want added value and benefits. This forces banks to identify consumer needs and switch the focus of marketing banking products from sales to redesigning and tailoring what’s available to meet customer needs. Here are 5 ways banks can use data and automation to adapt to these needs when marketing banking products.
Develop Real-Time Touchpoints with Automation
Today, 73% of millennials use mobile banking, giving you valuable insight into banking and money usage habits. More importantly, with mobile and other digital banking solutions, the marketing of banking products can be automated, with tools like AI algorithms. For example, banks are increasingly leaning on AI programs with chatbots and self-service, allowing consumers to solve their problems in real-time, with no waiting period when possible. AI bots like Cleo, IBM Watson, Erica, and Penny increase user engagement – allowing Ai to direct consumers to complete solutions – and to quickly solve problems and receive better customer service without ever contacting a human agent.
Using the Sales Cycle
A quick look at any sales cycle will tell you that most customers need the same things at the same time of the year. People tend to start retirement and savings plans in January, open credit lines to save on taxes in April, build and buy new things in June through August, travel or take a vacation in July and August, and take out student loans in August. While these services are valid year-round, they peak at these points, simply because they map to real-world occurrences pushing a demand for the services. Taking an approach of using need-based marketing, pushing products when they are highest in their sales cycle and focusing on solving problems rather than marketing to a specific generation, moves you beyond simply creating a sales ad for a target group and towards actually helping customers with valid and relevant products.
Offering Information First
Most people have the same problems with money. No matter the generation, people spend in the same way, need the same resources for buying a car or a home, and often invest in similar ways. Taking an approach of informing consumers first and making a sale second puts you in the position of a valued and trusted resource before the consumer ever becomes a customer. Many banks achieve this with blogs, webinars, podcasts, and social media tools, or AI algorithms offering savings and loan advice, information on getting out of debt, and specific information related to products and offerings. By tailoring your offerings around how people are using your products and giving people the information they need to succeed, you directly market not just your specific product but also your brand.
Building Customer Loyalty
Just over 62% of the global population has a bank account. With a limited number of people purchasing and using banking services, marketing banking products are hotly competitive. Building customer loyalty is a key step in combatting this problem, and a key to marketing products. In fact, repeat customers, or loyal customers, are also more likely and more willing to make a purchase, reducing your total marketing budget customer acquisition.
Today’s customer-service experience is omnichannel, giving you valuable insight into how customers use your services and platforms and why. One consumer will connect with your bank via social media, website, mobile application, and face-to-face, often before ever becoming a consumer. This gives you the opportunity to connect and reinforce your brand image to drive customer loyalty across multiple channels.
- Offer good customer service. 40% of customers currently leave banks because of customer service problems.
- Use apps and social media to collect consumer information and offer tailored services and offerings.
- Focus on building continuous touchpoints throughout the year, so that consumers can get answers and help they need without visiting a branch
- Maintain connection with customers through channels like social media – but don’t just advertise. Connect, teach, and inform.d
- Offer customer service on social media
- Educate and train customers in maximizing their usage of your services
Developing Personalized Service
Banking is a service-oriented industry and as consumer perception shifts to expect personal service, even through an app, it is becoming increasingly necessary as an element of product marketing. But, this necessity is equally an opportunity, allowing banks to use smart-algorithms and real-time data to create hyper-relevant product offerings, modular services that precisely meet individual customer needs, and flexible pricing to draw in even the most price-savvy consumer. Consumers also demand value-added services. If you can offer more convenience, value, quality, service, etc., many will pay a premium for it.
Most banks own massive amounts of historical structured data – which can be used to develop targeted campaigns based on historical behavior, user patterns, and responses to advertising and solutions. For example, AI can craft targeted campaigns and product offerings based on user behavior compared to a matrix of personality and behavior profiles. Apps collect relevant information to redirect customers to the right channel or customer service, offer real-time answers, and give instant approval for loans and accounts – before the customer knows they need them.
Any potential customer is reviewing more than one bank for your service. Your customers are shopping around. The only way to win the sale is to either have developed a long-running relationship with the consumer or to offer more (better features, better service, a better reputation). You can achieve this by connecting with consumers in their channels such as through social media and apps, offering personalization through automation and data, and targeting products based on user needs with the goal of solving a problem.
With increased competition and new startups revolutionizing the banking industry, customers expect more from their banks. Delivering on those expectations by offering value, connecting with customers, and create personalized offerings will help you to market your banking products.
Learn how to take the first steps in creating a financial digital strategy for 2018 with The Ultimate Guide to Financial Digital Marketing.