3 Ways Buyer Personas Help Acquire & Expand Banking Relationships

Consumers are in the driver’s seat today. They control when, where and how they want to interact more than ever. To adapt to that reality, financial marketers need to understand what makes buyers tick. Customer acquisition and expansion strategies that match people's preferences will improve the experience for them and improve results for financial institutions.

Personalization is now one of the most critical components to enhancing your financial brand and customer acquisition strategy. Now, as 70% of the buyer’s journey is conducted before ever reaching a salesperson, your current and prospective customers and members are the driver, and they’re in control of when, where, and how they want to interact. But you can’t give consumers what they want if you don’t understand who they are.

Enter buyer personas. Buyer personas are proxy representations of the target audience you are trying to attract. They help you understand your current and prospective customers better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development and services to meet the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of your target audience.

Key Marketing Tool

Personas allow you to define gaps and identify areas of opportunity to deliver memorable outreach when developing your marketing strategy. They help target the right audience – using the right message in the right channels – at the right time in the buying journey.

Personas are built on insights from qualitative and quantitative data attained from sources, such as current customers, prospects, referral relationships and/or third-party networks. The analysis of this data reveals the types of accounts people use, their financial habits and goals, as well as opportunities to serve them better. Below we dive into three ways financial institutions can utilize personas to attract new customers and members and expand current relationships.

1. Drive Deposit and Loan Growth with Personalized Messaging

Millennials are a key example of why personas and personalized messaging are essential. Millennials — who in 2021 range in age from 24 to 39 — have different financial needs based on their age and life stage.

Younger Millennials may have recently graduated from college or are starting to establish their careers. They are trying to build their credit or manage their student loan debt. Financial products and services that are likely to resonate with them are credit cards, consolidated loans and retirement accounts — very different from those of older Millennials.

Older Millennials may be more established in their careers and have a growing family. They might be looking to purchase or improve their home or want to increase their savings for emergencies, children’s education or their retirement. Financial accounts you should promote with older Millennials include home loans, IRAs, 529 college savings plans and other savings accounts.

Be Wary of Generalization

If you are treating Millennials as a broad cohort with ‘one-size-fits-all’ messaging, you are missing the opportunity to attract specific sub-segments.

Marketers who leverage personas will be able to drive deposit and loan growth by promoting the right products and financial solutions to customers based on their life stage.

2. Maximize Your Return on Investment (ROI)

Financial marketers have a variety of channels they can use to reach target audiences. Certain marketing channels are more effective than others when targeting different customer segments. Through the persona development process, you’ll uncover targeting insights and characteristics to drive engagement and conversions in the right channels by consumer segment — and maximize the return on your marketing investments.

Digital marketing is the most effective channel to leverage your personas to drive maximum return on your investment. Using the demographic and behavioral insights of your personas, you can create look-alike audiences and target those individuals who have similar characteristics and profiles to your current customer and member base.

Create distinct campaigns with personalized messaging, landing pages and calls to action to optimize your conversion rates across all persona segments. You can receive rich and immediate analytical data from these highly addressable channels to see how well your campaigns are performing and then refine the message fast.

Traditional media channels — including direct mail, radio, and billboards — leverage the value of personas through similar characteristics and broader profiles. Due to the wide reach of these tactics and the limited personalized targeting capabilities, identify similar demographic and behavioral characteristics across all your personas and use them to inform your messaging.

3. Improve Retention and Satisfaction

Once you have acquired a new customer, it’s important to continue communicating with them on a regular basis. Using the demographic and product information acquired during the account opening process and matching it with your personas, you can tailor your onboarding communications to highlight additional products and services that would be of most interest. Use the personas to emphasize online and mobile banking services that are most relevant to that person.

Develop versioned newsletters based on your personas to continue engaging and educating customers. If you don’t have the budget or resources to create different versions, you can re-sequence content based on the audience segment and their unique personas.

These ongoing communications and targeted, personalized messages demonstrate you are committed to your customers and members and want to help them succeed financially with the products and services they need to manage, save and invest their money. This will also increase customer satisfaction and retention.

Getting Started

Creating personalized buyer personas will help you better understand your current and potential customers so you can build acquisition and expansion programs that revolve around their unique preferences — improving the experience for them and streamlining the process for you.

Now that you know how to use buyer personas, how do you create them?

Use our free downloadable Buyer Persona Template to organize the information you’ve gathered about your personas and create your own. Then share these slides with the rest of your team to start targeting the right audience, with the right message, via the right channels to drive growth.

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