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Don’t Ignore the Power of In-App Mobile Marketing

With in-app marketing, banks and credit unions can create personalized messages that focus on the needs of customers and members at the best time of contact.

Subscribe TodayIn-app marketing delivers highly personalized product or service-related content and messaging directly to a consumer’s device within the mobile banking application. When using this model, financial marketers can leverage the vast amounts of insight already collected on the customer to deliver highly targeted offers and then closely monitor customer interactions to gain insights and feedback for future communication. The power of this form of marketing is the ability to offer the right product, at the best time, within a mobile banking application already heavily accessed.

Despite the potential power of this marketing strategy, many financial services organizations fall short – either by not using this channel at all, or by making in-app marketing an obtrusive selling tool that can limit the uptake of additional features and services, frustrate customers and lead to less than stellar product experiences. To be successful, in-app marketing must leverage customer insights to make any communication personalized, contextual and easy to consider and buy.

Existing mobile banking customers who are active users are open to well-timed, well-executed communications, and can help increase share-of-wallet and revenue when they purchase related offerings. According to research from Cognizant, organizations can effectively reach out to current customers via complementary products or services the following ways:

  • Introducing a mobile-ready promotional video illustrating product benefits
  • Including a special offer/free trial exclusively for existing mobile banking customers
  • Launching an A/B test campaign to determine the effectiveness of messaging and conversions
Raddon | Strategic Guidance for Accelerated Growth

The Power of Existing Mobile Banking Users

The value of current mobile banking customers is the foundation for the effectiveness of in-app marketing. Not only are mobile banking customers more engaged than the rest of a bank or credit union’s customers, they are also demographically stronger and heavier users of financial services. Mobile banking customers tend to be younger, more affluent and more likely to be influenced by effective targeting within their mobile banking application.



Additional benefits of using in-app mobile banking marketing include:

  • Ease of sale: It is a well accepted belief among financial marketers that it is easier (and less costly) to up-sell and cross-sell current customers than to acquire a new customer. A current customer has the trust level and comfort with your organization that takes time to build with a completely new prospect. Moreover, well established marketing statistics tell us that the probability of selling a product to these customers is 70% – considerably higher than the 20% chance of selling to prospects.
  • Undivided attention: Today’s digital consumer is a multi-tasker, with a relatively short attention span and a low tolerance for outbound sales messages. Demonstrating an ancillary product that has been specifically selected based on current insights while the customer is using the mobile banking application keeps them engaged and interested. Done well, the consumer can quickly see the benefits of the promoted product, can overcome misunderstandings about the product or can decide to engage at a later time.
  • Instant gratification: A well designed sales messaging platform will allow the customer to open a new account or apply for a new service with a minimal number of steps. Since all of the details of the existing customer/member are known, there is no need to ask the same questions again. The best-in-class in-app selling process can allow for the expansion of a relationship with as few as 1-3 taps on the phone. Even more involved sales processes can be initiated with an instant live sales agent follow-up.
  • WOMM potential: Within the in-app mobile banking buying process, an organization can encourage existing customers to make referrals from their mobile address book or via social media (Word of Mouth Marketing). The ability to ‘share’ positive experiences can bring added benefits and revenues.

All of the benefits mentioned above will only come to fruition if the in-app sales process is personalized, simple and seamless. Similar to ‘selling’ via an ATM, the power of in-app marketing is maximized if the message resonates with the user and mobile banking interruption is minimized.

The Framework for In-App Mobile Marketing

Using the Cognizant in-product marketing framework as a guide, an in-app mobile banking marketing framework can be built that communicates features, promotions and up-sell/cross-sell opportunities that are both personalized and contextual. The benefits of using this type of framework include:well sales 2

  • Improved targeting: Not only can a bank or credit union target and personalize products and offers based on internal and external data/analytics, the placement of these messages can differ within the mobile banking application based on specific use of mobile banking by individual customers.
  • Prioritization, agility and flexibility: In-app marketing campaigns can be adjusted ‘on the fly’ based on results and mobile engagement. Since the customer’s mobile journey can be monitored, offers can be changed, placement can be adjusted and alternative media (email, online marketing, call center) can be added as desired to supplement in-app marketing to improve results. Similarly, in-app mobile banking marketing can be adjusted in real-time, to reflect transactions that have occurred or the location of the consumer (loan offers to consumers that have requested a credit bureau, are in a car dealership or visiting an online or offline retailer of high ticket items.
  • Monitor results: The mobile banking application analytics engine can be used to deepen insights by verifying click-through rates, impressions, units sold and revenue generated.

The primary objective of in-app mobile banking marketing is to communicate directly with highly engaged mobile banking customers, helping to solve a consumer’s current need(s) or help them with projected needs based on their profile, behavior, product use, etc. As with all direct and digital marketing by financial organizations, the power of this strategy is directly correlated with the ability to leverage advanced analytics to personalize marketing communication. Unlike other channels, the need for speed and ease of fulfillment is paramount for success.


Digital Banking Report | Challenger Bank Battlefield

In-App Mobile Banking Marketing Success Factors

Done well, in-app mobile banking marketing can become the most successful channel from an ROI perspective, with customers appreciating the proactivity of their financial institution. Done poorly, mobile banking satisfaction scores can plummet and customers may even stop using their mobile app.

The key success factors for in-app mobile banking marketing are:

  • Advanced analytics: Use analytics to determine the right offers to make and the best timing of these offers. This should take into account the demographics of the customer, past product purchase histories and an analysis of customer journeys. When fine-tuned, a deeper analysis will provide answers as to multi-channel effectiveness and attribution models.
  • Offer development: Determination of the best offers to use to drive action and the best way to present these offers to the consumer. Should short-form videos be used? Should the objective be a sale or a referral? What is the best timing for the offer and sequence of offers to drive action?
  • Messaging: Should the messaging goals be a sales or the recognition of interest by the mobile banking customer? How can the customer take action? How can they opt out?
  • Ease of sale: Since the targeted audience is already a customer or member, how can you make the initiation of a sale as easy as possible? Since the platform is a mobile device, the ability to take action must be close to instantaneous. Requiring the movement to another channel (online, branch) is the pathway to failure.


Even if a mobile banking consumer is onboarded and engaged with their mobile banking app, the majority of banks still drop the ball with regard to using the mobile platform for selling additional services. Less than 25% of leading financial organizations globally perform sales and marketing within the mobile banking app, with the ability to apply for services within the mobile app limited to less than 50%.

This lack of in-app cross-selling is surprising given the opportunity available from combining internal insights on product use with insights on mobile transaction and locational data. With this combination, banks and credit unions have a great opportunity to provide extremely targeted and personalized offers to consumers in real-time through mobile devices.

Using the in-app mobile messaging, product offers and engagement services can be cost-effectively communicated to the right customers, at the right time, driving organic growth, customer retention, customer satisfaction – and ultimately increasing revenue. Beyond sales messages, the in-app messaging can provide educational tools, such as short-form videos as well as customer service messages around account security, establishing mobile alerts, etc. The combination of sales and service messages, if correctly targeted and delivered can ultimately be an unprecedented opportunity for growth.

Jim MarousJim Marous is co-publisher of The Financial Brand and publisher of the Digital Banking Report, a subscription-based publication that provides deep insights into the digitization of banking, with over 150 reports in the digital archive available to subscribers. You can follow Jim on Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit his professional website.

All content © 2017 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

Digital Banking Report | Challenger Bank Battlefield


  1. Herbert Leonelli says:

    Thanks for the article Jim,

    we have found this to be very true, the good news is the feedback we have been receiving from our clients who have embraced and adopted the full digital offering. On average these are the benefits we are seeing:

    – develop new customer offerings 3 times faster
    – achieved an increase in transaction volumes by 20% in the first year
    – Increased the number of customers by 15% in 4 months from launch
    – Growth in mobile and online customer base by 300% in four years

    Early adopters typically tend to benefit more, and if you weight the above returns against the initial perceived risks, I believe the higher risk to banks is inaction.

  2. There are many ways to target a customer. Using an in-app framework is a must after having setup a robust email communication platform. Just think if the ways you can use this framework to directly impact revenue growth or decrease operating expenses. Here are three basic ideas:

    1) Increased debit card usage to generate more interchange income
    2) E-statement enrollment reminders to decrease recurring statement related costs.
    3) Educate customers on the value of automated saving. As the average savings balances increase, the transfer price benefit to profitability can become significant

    Another benefit of an in-app marketing platform is if you combine it with an in-app loan acquisition platform like the CUneXus platform. Read my Financial Brand article about CUneXus here:

    The center of financial services is app based. We are well beyond the point of basic online and mobile services. As an industry, we need to be deploying sophisticated mobile capabilities and make sure our online capabilities keep pace with our mobile platforms. If marketing is not directly impacting the bottom line with its budget, than marketing is not doing its job.

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