The Explosive World of Financial Services Marketing

Let’s talk about the thrilling world of marketing for Financial Institutions! I used that ridiculous title to get your attention AND because I do find some of this thrilling. I know.

Having experience inside a Financial Institutions for over twenty years (almost sixty, if you count our whole firm), we have a unique perspective on what moves account holders and profitability. With that in mind, we’re sharing our thoughts on the future of financial services marketing.

Make Things Personal – Customization and Customer-Centricity

Enterprise or branch level promotions that change routinely based on internal requirements (loans vs. deposits) or consumer demand (higher yields or lower fees) are a great place to start.

Using assets in the branch and in your advertising strategy that reinforces your seasonal offers; even better.

Blanketing every 4-digit carrier route in the zone around your branches with that same offer; dumb.

Account holders want personalized experiences, and let’s be real honest; they deserve it.

In many cases, your account holders have agreed to provide you with personal information to make decisions or monitor their financial health. Your institution likely spends a lot of time, energy, and resources managing this data and keeping it safe for them.

Community Banks and Credit Unions are focused on turning liabilities in to assets. Protecting customer information is key, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage it to ensure you are putting the best offers in front of the right account holder.

Use that data to predict their next likely product engagement and, please, for the love of God, personalize the interaction. Whether in email, direct mail, or right in the online banking portal.

Make. It. Personal.

Start Truly Harnessing the Power of Digital Transformation

Before the Pandemic, there was still a chance that some institutions could muddle through their existence without a complete digital transformation. Today, it’s not even an option.

Of course, you have an amazing website and mobile offering.

Of course, it’s “just enough” for your account holders and they’re “used to it” with all its bugs and quirks.

Of course, the biggest threat to your institution is how easy it is for people to switch to another provider…

Yep, that’s right, “provider”. Not exclusive to “Bank” or “Credit Union” anymore; the endless options in the fintech/non-bank world are encroaching fast. Take a look at some of the most advanced financial platforms out there, look critically at their features, and push your institution to match them.

Is the mobile deposit offering legit, or was it an afterthought because it offends the branches?

Do commercial customers have the same level of mobile features and online access as consumer customers, and vice versa?

Can account holders, with lots of history with you, apply for loans with the click of a button?

If you can’t at least start the conversation about fixing these things, you’ve got a serious problem. I don’t just mean “we don’t have the tech resources to fix that” (which totally sucks), more likely the “our <INSERT EXECUTIVE LEADER TITLE HERE> doesn’t think anyone wants that”. 

The worst part is; while you’re trying to take your 18th century business model and move it into the 21st century digital world, these fintechs (that you are only just now starting to compete with), were born in it.

Good luck with that.

Content Marketing - Say Something that has Value

If you are in a marketing role at a financial institution, one thing will always be true. Opportunities abound for you to create incredible, engaging content, by simply reflecting the work you do on the daily.

Here’s a great example; Credit Unions spend a considerable amount of time in their community. Providing sponsorship dollars, seminars, or encouraging their employees to take a “service day” and volunteer with a local non-profit. If you are not capturing something at these events – photos, videos, testimonials – you are losing out on the return from your investment in the community.

“Doesn’t that interfere with the altruistic nature of giving?”

Not just no, but heck no.

Every interaction with the community should generate at least one piece of content that shows your involvement, level of engagement, and (more importantly) how your account holders can get involved. There’s seems to be a weird cultural hurdle in Community Banking that this might feel “braggy” or that creating a blog post or social media post about the banks generosity is somehow prideful or lacks humility.

Do not listen to people who tell you that.

This is just one aspect of a great content strategy and can be a recurring and very valuable cornerstone.

When you combine the community engagement content with some financial education and awareness, suddenly your account holders feel like you are there for them. This is a strategy that Credit Unions have always embraced, but Community Banks sometimes fall short. 

I get it, that inherent guilt of being owned by shareholders and not your account holders. Get over it! Make them feel like they are part of your bank’s community with engaging and valuable content.

At the Very Least, Secure your Handle on Instagram

There are few things worse to a social media marketer than finding out “ABC Bank” on Facebook never  bothered to click the two buttons required to create an Instagram account and now on Instagram they have to be “_ABCWaukesha_Bank” and try to explain to the executive team how their teenagers can find it.

We routinely explain to clients that are Gen X or older (born between Eisenhower and Carter) that “yes, you do have to be on Instagram”.

Lately, we’re telling them “you should at least secure an account on TikTok, even if you’re not going to engage”. It’s true; social media has become a necessity for a myriad of reasons.

Ok, so your institution has all these social identities, are you using them to your advantage?

Let me just leave you with this thought; you would never dream of avoiding Facebook now that most of your account holders are there.

Why would you ignore the younger audiences on the other platforms?

What’s cooler than sharing financial advice through a witty meme or a snarky tweet?

Seriously.

I’m asking.

There are content creators lamenting the fact that financial education wasn’t taught in their school and how were they supposed to understand what a credit score is?!?! There is a very organic content gap that Community Banks and Credit Unions can fill IMMEDIATLEY.

Start small; “how do I write a check”. 

Or don’t. 

Don’t teach Gen Z that there are alternatives to PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo. 

It’s fine. 

Come on! 

This one is easy…

Millennials and Gen Z  are the future of your institution and if you don’t educate them, they will think PayPal is a fine proxy for a community institution. 

Go right now and secure your Instagram handle, Threads account, and create a TikTok account. Why wouldn’t you? It’s literally free access to existing and potential account holders.

So, what do I do?

Ok, so here’s how we can help. Current Marketing Solutions provides an array of marketing services to firms of all sizes and industries.

Luckily, for those of you in the Financial Services and Insurance game, we come from your world. Few things are harder to package, monetize, and sell than intangible financial and insurance products. We know. We’ve done it. It makes everything else (like SaaS products, or cat food, or sanitation supplies seem, well, easy.

Our Fractional Marketing Department is turnkey and easy to start. We can literally start helping you within days. You can grow your marketing strength and operations overnight with a couple of Zoom calls and some system access. We become part of your team and interact with your existing marketing staff to add bench strength to your initiatives.

Also, and I can’t stress this enough, we are amazing to work with. You will get insight, advice, and encouragement from people who have been inside a Community Bank or Credit Union. We get it, because we’ve been there.

Once we’re in, you’ll see how Current can help you execute a digital strategy, better understand your existing customers, and find new revenue opportunities. We provide electricity to supercharge your business and create real growth.