Financial Marketers Must Rethink Consumer Banking Campaigns

Many consumer financial habits have been changed permanently and this will affect how marketers promote banking services to audiences in different channels. Here are tips to implement on three fronts.

In the wake of widespread digital migration during the pandemic, financial marketers have been learning to reinvent their campaigns to support that continuing shift, as well as a renewed focus on personalized financial guidance and wellness tools, and spikes in consumer spending on ecommerce.

Most importantly, they have been challenged to improve the agility of their marketing production processes and to develop martech stacks that enable quicker access to data to enable business decisions.

A New Type of Credit Card Customer Emerges

The pandemic caused consumers to rethink their relationship to credit card debt. As unemployment spiked, discretionary spending declined, and many consumers used stimulus checks to pay down credit cards. This significantly impacted the average consumer debt, with overall credit card balances down by 14% at the end of 2020 compared to 2019. This was the first time in over a decade that credit card companies had seen this type of decline.

When people did use their credit cards, the spending categories reflected more practical, more digital trends, such as greater reliance on Amazon and other ecommerce options for everyday goods. Card companies introduced new benefits and rewards to meet this change, including offering credits and accelerators on everyday purchases, digital subscriptions and delivery, and points to co-brand travel cardholders for non-travel-related purchases.

To retain customers as spending continues to evolve in 2021-22, card companies are offering more flexible benefits and rewards, such as allowing customers to redeem miles for purchases in new categories like streaming and delivery or paying themselves back in the form of statement credits. While travel benefits, rewards and partnerships are expected to return —some already have — they will likely play a smaller role in the overall value proposition of many credit cards.

Financial services marketers will need to adjust marketing campaigns to introduce new credit card features, drive customer awareness and engagement with new benefits and rewards, and clearly demonstrate the value of the credit card to consumers, especially co-branded travel cards and premium cards with higher annual fees. A few marketing tactics for successfully doing this:

Replacing “one-size-fits-all” content in marketing campaigns with messaging tailored to the customer’s behavior. Has a consumer’s card usage slowed since new benefits replaced old ones? Content explaining and reinforcing the value of these new benefits may be in order. Has another consumer already engaged with the new benefits you’re marketing? This is a great opportunity to show them the value they’ve already earned to date, further encourage future usage.

Reinforcing the card’s value throughout your marketing touchpoints. Don’t wait until a customer’s renewal anniversary to send a message quantifying the value the card delivers — earned rewards, statement credits and other perks. While commonly sent when a customer’s renewal date is approaching, such reminders should be included across the lifecycle. A monthly email with a card value summary or a persistent banner highlighting the value the customer has seen to date are great ways to do this.

Growing Relationships with Retail Banking Customers

During the pandemic Google searches for topics related to recession and debt and phrases such as “mortgage forbearance” and “can’t pay rent” skyrocketed across most of the country. Now that the economy is turning around, many banks and credit unions have focused on growing checking and savings customers by up-selling premium deposit products or turning them into multi-relationship consumers through cross-selling.

Marketers will be at the heart of this, deploying sophisticated marketing campaigns that rely on personalized offers that match an individual customer’s unique needs. Some tips:

Take customers’ needs and behaviors into account. Develop a set of automated “always-on” triggered communications that can present the most current and relevant offers to consumers across channels. For example, send a remarketing email with the latest loan offers to people who recently browsed loans on your website. Or deploy an in-app suggestion for a checking account that includes overdraft protection after a customer bounces.

Expanding “next best action” and decision engine capabilities beyond your website and into customer relationship management channels such as email and mobile. Most financial services brands leverage advanced decisioning engine technology on their websites to display recommended offers or next best actions. Consider investing in building APIs that can carry this decisioning into other channels.

Driving More Business from Digital and Mobile Power Users

Mobile banking experienced a renaissance in 2020. The number of app users is expected to rise again in 2021. More than ever, financial consumers are demanding a seamless, omnichannel experience. Now marketers are tasked with converting mobile customers into steady users, where their value as customers increases. Personalized marketing campaigns can help new banking customers set up their mobile app and onboard without needing to visit a branch or even a website.

Some ways that marketers can drive digital and mobile power users:

Encouraging regular app logins by enriching push notifications through “rich push” technology. Such notifications allow marketers to include personalized images and content within notifications, exceeding the engagement seen on standard text-only notifications.

Proactively surfacing compelling offers and reminders in-app using in-app interstitials. Banking apps contain valuable reminders of account benefits or offers available, but they’re often hidden deep within the app interface, making it hard for the customer to find. A tactful, personalized in-app interstitial highlighting this content can encourage customers to repeatedly log in to the app.

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