Four Key Factors Impacting Bank Marketing Strategy

Bank marketing strategy is increasingly focused on digital channels, including social media, video, search and connected TV. As bank and credit union marketers strive to promote brand awareness, they need a new way to assess channel ROI and more accurate data to enable personalized offers. Add to that the growing importance of purpose-driven marketing.

The relentless pace of digitization is disrupting not only the established order in banking, but bank marketing strategies. Marketers at both traditional institutions and digital disruptors are feeling the pressure.

Just as bank marketers begin to master one channel, consumers move to another. Many now toggle between devices on a seemingly infinite number of platforms, making it harder than ever for marketers to pin down the right consumers at the right time in the right place.

As a result of the constantly-changing attitudes, behavior and channels, having an agile and adaptable marketing strategy is more important than ever, observes Jamie Moldafsky, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Nielsen.

Nielsen’s 2022 global marketing survey found that while marketers want to put money into channels to deliver immediate ROI, they need to let data and agility lead the way.

“Agility has never been more paramount,” says Moldafsky. “We continue to hear from marketers that an adaptive mindset is the most important attribute to have in business today.”

Major Shifts in Marketing Spend Underway

Despite the challenges of the pandemic years, brands have rebalanced their marketing efforts and resuming spend. In 2021, U.S. brands overall spent more than $74 billion on network, cable and spot advertising in 2021, well above the $57.4 billion spent in 2020. Additionally, WPP’s GroupM forecasts global growth of 9.7% in overall ad spending with as much as 53% growth in some digital channels.

Expected marketing budget changes by channel

However, while spending and opportunities are growing on digital channels, bank marketers often struggle to measure their performance and understand their ROI.

Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar told The Financial Brand that new technologies are making traditional marketing irrelevant, putting more pressure on marketers to better understand and utilize new channels. “Marketing as it worked in the past is not going to work tomorrow or even today,” said Rajamannar. “You need to reinvent marketing. You need to reimagine marketing,”

Here are four keys for making the most of bank and credit union marketing strategies in 2022:

1. Double Down on Brand Awareness in New Channels

Marketers across all industries, including banking, say brand awareness is their top objective. Yet as sources of brand equity evolve and media options become more fragmented, bank marketers must now use a growing array of channels to reach the widest audience they can.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the pace of digital adoption has only grown, leading many banks and credit unions to look less to traditional channels and more to things like social media and video.

Brand Value Driver:

Nielsen found that marketing now accounts for between 10% to 35% of a brand’s equity, with a growing portion of this now happening in digital.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents say social media is the most effective paid channel, leading them to boost their social media budgets more than any other over the next year.

Read More: The Top 10 Most Valuable U.S. Banking Brands in 2022

As a result, many bank marketers are now setting their targets on social media platforms. TikTok and Instagram are currently dominating social media spending, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, outlets like traditional TV are declining as YouTube has become a primary channel.YouTube reached 135 million views in December 2021, and in January 2022, Americans streamed more than 177 billion minutes of video on the platform.

While 61% of respondents say they are confident of the impact of brand building, their planned limited increase in ad spending across traditional mass-reach channels highlights a possible misalignment between top business goals and marketing tactics.

The report recommends marketers align their strategy with KPIs that can be achieved through established tactics. Financial brands should also stay top-of-mind with customers across the platforms and channels where they spend their time. Additionally, they should lean into the mass-reach capabilities of digital media, as next-gen channels like online video and connected TV are increasingly growing in their ability to engage vast audiences.

Dig Deeper: The Top 100 Banks and Credit Unions Using Social Media in 2022

2. Solve the Measurement Confidence Issue

Nielsen’s report found many marketers struggle to measure performance on new and emerging channels. While the technology to measure, optimize and prove ROI can help, marketers should focus not just on channel-specific insights but on strategies that provide holistic views of consumers.

Marketers are most confident in measuring ROI from social media, yet global measurement confidence in that channel is still only 64% (and even lower, 59%, in North America). They remain least confident in the ROI from podcasts and native advertising. And while they are somewhat confident in their ROI management across select channels, only 54% have confidence in full-funnel ROI measurement.

“The lack of ROI confidence in these preferred channels suggests an opportunity for martech providers to help brands improve their execution and results,” the report states. “Perhaps more important is the lack of confidence that global marketers have in measuring ROI across other paid and traditional channels.”

Confidence in measuring ROI of paid media channels

Better measurement is particularly important given the growth in digital channels. However, even as they lack visibility and confidence, marketers overall spent more than half of their budgets on digital media in 2021 and are planning a significant increase over the next year.

For example, while nearly half of the Nielsen survey respondents plan to increase spending on podcasts over the next year, only 44% are confident in measuring the ROI of their investment. Nevertheless, the opportunities in these platforms may be so abundant that investments are still worth it. The research firm’s data shows that host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%. Additionally, more than 70% of U.S. marketers believe that new formats like podcasts, brand integrations, and sponsorships are important marketing strategies.

3. Adopt More Personalized Bank Marketing Strategies

Data is more critical than ever for bank brands to understand engagement and ensure they’re reaching the right audience. Individual marketing campaigns typically don’t have a single KPI but instead have an array of them, making it difficult to process. The idea that no two audiences are the same is especially true in next-gen channels like connected TV and podcasting. In the U.S. alone, consumers streamed almost 15 million years’ worth of video content in 2021.

While there is widespread agreement that robust audience data is essential, many marketers lack confidence in their own data. Only 30% of marketers in North America say they are fully confident in their audience data. Globally, just over a third (36%) say data access, identity resolution and deriving actionable insights from data is difficult.

Level of difficulty with various marketing data strategies

To deliver more personalized and relevant experiences, bank marketers should combine contextual and behavioral data for targeting. They also need to focus on data privacy as consumers are already starting to block cookies. Of help will be solutions that identify which touchpoints lead to desired outcomes, such as purchases and opt-ins, the report states.

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4. Adopt Purpose-Driven Initiatives

Consumers have become increasingly discerning about who they buy from. This applies not only to consumer goods companies but financial institutions. Data from Nielsen Scarborough research found more than half (52%) of consumers purchase from brands that support issues they care about. Additionally, 36% of consumers now expect brands to support social causes.

Marketers worldwide have recognized this fundamental shift. Solid majorities of marketers are considering both diversity and corporate social responsibility issues in many of their marketing efforts.

The importance of diversity and ESG in marketing efforts

Things like sustainability, social responsibility, and ESG (environmental, social, governance) can no longer be icing on the cake but must be integrated into bank missions and bank marketing strategies. Nielsen notes the growing power of influencer marketing can also play a role in consumers’ perception of a brand’s commitment.

As banks and credit unions focus on what they stand for and use that as a springboard for their own marketing initiatives, they must also be aware of the context in which their ads are viewed. Additionally, they need to pay greater attention to what opinions lie adjacent to their advertisements.

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