The financial industry’s spending on marketing technology has been rising in recent years. Currently, marketing technology comprises about 22% of the average bank’s budget, according to the ABA. Marketing technology enables retail banks to track the customer journey and gain insights into their ROI. Retail banks are also starting to put more marketing technology dollars behind one particularly essential consumer population: Generation Z. Ages 6 to 23 in 2018, tech-savvy Gen Z’ers are starting to graduate, manage finances, earn disposable incomes and, by 2020, will account for 1/3 of the US. Given this, it makes sense that the major retail bank marketing trends we’re seeing right now involve progressive technology tools that align with Gen Z sensibilities.
Large banks have been at the forefront of marketing technology trends, but community banks are catching up and the gap is narrowing. The Financial Brand predicts that the “intersection of data and digital marketing will continue to surge” and banks and credit unions that focus on these areas will find it easier to grow.
Here are 5 important marketing trends among today’s retail banks:
Leading financial institutions are putting more and more resources into data. Collecting the right information and knowing how to use it can be a game changer for businesses. Advanced data analytics can help optimize sales cycles for instance, by providing concrete insights e.g. which type of messaging at each stage of the process results in the most conversions. Banks are also gathering more qualitative data than ever before, discovering the benefits of tracking behavioral patterns, motivations, financial goals, emotional responses, etc. By getting a stronger idea of the personas they serve, banks can understand their customer base on a deeper level, predict behaviors, communicate more effectively, and better meet their needs.
2) Search Engine Optimization
55% of customers looking for new banking products begin by searching on Google. A strong online presence is crucial to staying competitive and banks are becoming more aware of that. SEO enables businesses to attain higher search engine rankings without paying for it. This is achieved with a formula of interesting and timely content with meta tags and keywords posted frequently on multiple platforms. Banks’ go-to-market strategies are involving a greater variety of mediums (videos, blogs, eBooks, infographics) and channels (social media, website, email).
3) Content Creation
Content creation trumps content curation. Producing compelling original content (rather than depending on outside sources) is critical in boosting your institution’s relevancy, credibility and consumer engagement. It’s also the key to getting through to that prized Gen Z demo. True children of the digital and social media age, Gen Z have high standards and short attention spans when it comes to content. Retail banks are playing more to this audience by ramping up social media presence, creating brief and dynamic content, and leveraging artificial intelligence.
4) Artificial Intelligence
Every industry is moving toward AI, banking included. AI is versatile, scalable and efficient. Chatbots are one AI tool that is upending customer service as we know it. At any time of day or night, via a variety of platforms (website, app, social media), customers can be assisted with their needs—even specific requests like checking account balances or paying bills. Such sophisticated technology saves banks time and resources and satisfies Gen Z’s expectation of fast, high-quality information. It’s predicted that by 2020, 85% of consumers’ interactions with businesses will not involve a human.
5) Hiring & Partnering
Big data, SEO, content creation and AI are not simple areas of focus. Thus, bank hiring has been evolving. Banks are seeking new talent (copywriters, content strategists, digital storytellers, engineers, data experts) with the skillsets to pull off these complex marketing technology strategies effectively. In addition to staffing up, it’s also becoming more common for banks to partner with a specialized third party that has already developed sophisticated marketing tools that bank partners can use without having to recreate in-house.
Learn how to take the first steps in creating a financial digital strategy for 2018 with The Ultimate Guide to Financial Digital Marketing.