Archive for the ‘Marketing for Financial Institutions’ Category

Target Millennials with the Right Financial Content

Posted by Mallory Green on October 8th, 2015

Financial ContentSince the Great Recession, financial institutions have experienced difficulty targeting the next generation of people entering the work force…Millennials. These young men and women have helped financial institutions see that the tides are changing from previous generations. For example, Millennials know less about investing and more about money sharing websites like PayPal™. Furthermore, studies have shown that Millennials struggle to prioritize their money outside of paying for necessities like rent. An article in the Wall Street Journal found that Millennials have a savings rate of -2.0 percent, meaning they are spending more than they are saving,1 which might attribute to the fact that financial institutions struggle to get Millennials through their doors.

In order to combat this growing trend, financial institutions are looking for ways to engage Millennials in hopes to build long lasting relationships. With the youngest of the Millennial generation just graduating college and the oldest in their early 30s, financial institutions hope that as these adults begin to accrue assets, they will turn to the financial institution with whom they built the strongest relationship.

A report published by Redshift Research stated that, “55 percent of Millennials would trust a financial institution more if they received helpful, unbiased content.”2 Make your financial institution a reliable resource for this group by providing them with helpful information based on common pain points, such as an inability to save money or a struggle with credit card debt. They might not be ready to make any solid decisions right away, but the more educated and well informed they feel, the faster and more willing they become to do business with you. The key is to plan ahead and create a content calendar that is filled with fresh, seasonal and topical content.

Fill your calendar by:

  1. Playing to your strengths: In a study conducted by Viacom Media Networks, 53 percent of Millennials don’t believe there is a difference from one financial institution to the next.3 Make it a point to show key differentiators, whether it be the financial planning services you offer, customer service, online banking, etc. Prove why your financial institution is equipped to meet the needs of this generation.
  2. Exuding confidence in your areas of expertise: Millennials want to be fully informed before they make any kind of decision. Use your content pieces to make it perfectly clear that you know what you’re talking about and have the tools to help each current and potential account holder meet his/her goals. For example, use case studies and testimonials to show success and take the opportunity to fully explain the steps you took to get your account holders where they wanted to be.
  3. Highlighting the benefits of financial literacy: Managing money is stressful on anyone regardless of your age or generation, but feeling uninformed can cause new levels of anxiety. In an article from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, only 24 percent of surveyed Millennials could answer 4 out of 5 questions correctly on a financial literacy assessment.4 Provide Millennials with the tools they need to better manage their money and combat common issues felt by many in this age group, such as debt management, credit, borrowing, etc. This is a great chance to offer them tips on how to improve their financial health and highlight the benefits of using products and services from your financial institution.

Millennials have proven to be a difficult age bracket to tackle. As they reach adulthood and the cusp of making financial decisions, some not only feel skeptical about committing to one financial institution, but also lack some basic financial knowledge to make smart and realistic choices. It’s important to create a content strategy that appeals to their needs and offer information they actually care about. This will help build a solid relationship putting your financial institution in this generation’s consideration set when he/she is ready to get serious with his/her money.




Acquisition Anyone?

Posted by Stephen Nikitas on August 18th, 2015

Let’s face it … when it comes to help with managing money, there’s a lot of competition out there, and account holders have plenty of choices. Each state has a multitude of banks or credit unions for account holders to choose from…all within driving distance of their homes. In addition, dozens of investment firms can provide account holders with alternative investment products, along with a checking account.

Unfortunately, many financial institutions rely on serendipity when it comes to account holder acquisition. They think if they have a branch location somewhere along account holders’ work or Saturday errand routes, then new account holders will come. However, you shouldn’t take a “maybe” approach to account holder acquisition. Instead, be strategic and aggressive when it comes to growing your account holder portfolio.

Promote Checking Accounts

When acquiring new account holders, you should always promote new checking accounts. Surprised? Everyone needs a checking account to manage finances. Checking accounts will likely appeal to those who are new in their careers or have recently moved into the area because of a job. They may also appeal to account holders who are generally dissatisfied with their current financial institution and seeking a new banking relationship.

What was the reason for opening a new checking account?

*Synergistics Research Corporation, Checking Account Acquisition and Retention Survey, 2015

A checking account provides approximately $268 a year in revenue to a financial institution.1 It also opens the door to that new account holder acquiring more products and services as his/her relationship grows with the primary financial institution.

Take the time to target account holders with whom you have a likelihood of establishing strong relationships through cross sell opportunities to gain strong share of wallet. Financial institutions have a wealth of account holder data at their fingertips that can be used to profile existing checking account holders. They should use that information to target “lookalikes” in their market footprint.

Ensure that you reach young account holders opening new checking accounts through mediums and messaging that resonates with them to build strong awareness of your financial institution and its products.

Make Doing Business Convenient

Branch locations still play a large role in the banking relationship. Be sure to include messaging about the convenience of banking with you – whether it is access through a branch, ATM or digital banking options.
How likely are you to obtain another checking account in the next year?

*Synergistics Research Corporation, Checking Account Acquisition and Retention Survey, 2015

Which features were most important in choosing a financial institution when you recently opened a checking account?


*Synergistics Research Corporation, Checking Account Acquisition and Retention Survey, 2015

A consistent, multichannel approach works best when marketing to prospective account holders. Nearly a third of prospects cite direct mail and digital ads as the strongest vehicles a financial institution can use in order to make them aware of a product opportunity.

*AOL/Oliver Wyman, 2014

Don’t Forget the Offer

Finally, don’t forget to make an attractive offer when promoting a checking account. Many financial institutions are actively targeting new checking account holders.2 In some cases, the offers are rich (as high as $500). Don’t let this intimidate you.

*The Financial Brand

The “Davids” of the banking world can go up against the “Goliaths” by relying on offers that will get noticed, even $50 to $100. Community roots, consistent communications and targeting will help ensure your marketing dollars are spent as effectively and efficiently as possible.


1. Moebs Services (2011).

2. The Financial Brand, 2015 State of Bank & Credit Union Marketing, February 3, 2015.


What Can Data Do For Your Financial Institution?

Posted by Kavita Jaswal on July 31st, 2015

DataOne of the biggest topics surrounding financial institutions and digital marketing professionals is data. There are countless articles, blog posts and white papers on data — how to use it, how to understand it and how it can impact the way financial institutions market to potential and current account holders. So what happens with collected data and how can it be used to make the most impact? Online behavior, transactions and social appending are three ways data can be collected and utilized by marketing professionals to improve the account holder experience.

Online behavior gives financial institutions the ability to track purchasing data that shows web browsing habits, consumer trends and insight into audience interests. With the ability to see which sites account holders connect with the most, financial institutions can zero in on common points of interest and send targeted promotions, reducing acquisition costs and allowing more targeted sales efforts.

Capturing real-time transactional information lets financial institutions understand individual account holder preferences, buying patterns and budgeting goals. Understanding what an account holder is purchasing and when they are purchasing it, gives financial institutions insight into account holder needs, providing the opportunity to offer specials or credit card promotions. Transactional information also provides insight into how an account holder is interacting with the financial institution, offering a better understanding of how the relationship is viewed. Transactions also let financial institutions track account holder behavior, enhancing fraud prevention by raising a red flag if an unusual transaction has occurred.

By using data captured from social sites, financial institutions can understand account holders’ perceptions of products and services and, in turn, prevent or reduce account holder churn. By collecting information on how audiences are talking about their specific services, competitors and related topics that influence purchasing behavior, financial institutions can reach a segmented audience that is defined by common attitudes and behaviors. This enables financial institutions to craft targeted messages based on those specifications. Social appending also gives financial institutions a way to identify potential clients from their current account holders’ social media contacts.

Financial institutions can use gathered online behavioral information to find new account holders, offer additional products to current ones and learn how account holders interact with their service offerings. Transactional data gives financial institutions the ability to understand that online behavior in real-time and strategize targeted messaging based on that information. Social appending helps financial institutions understand their account holders on an emotional level and use that information to improve account holder perceptions and gain additional customers. While these are only a few ways data can be collected and used, they can have a significant impact for any financial institution.


Retaining Your Account Holders When Rates Rise

Posted by Doug Roman on July 28th, 2015

There is an ongoing and active topic within the financial services industry about rising interest rates and how that’s going to impact banks and credit unions. The Federal Reserve hints that interest rates will increase, which can be viewed as a sign of an improving economy, as well as an increase in lending spreads among banks. This shift could potentially benefit account holders, because they will have the ability to realize higher yields on their deposit balances. But while the increased rates is a positive for account holders, it can be viewed as a disadvantage to financial institutions that are trying to retain deposit balances and generate long-term relationships.

Today, technology is making it easier for account holders to rapidly take advantage of the best rate deals. In a recent American Banker article, Marianne Lake, CFO of JPMorgan Chase, mentioned that account holders adopting mobile banking have made it easier “to move money to chase rates,” which creates challenges for banks and credit unions trying to retain those deposit balances.1

To help keep account holders’ accounts and balances, it’s critical for financial institutions to have an ongoing communication strategy to enhance account holder relationships, increase retention rates and improve overall satisfaction. A solid onboarding and ongoing communication strategy will help establish and maintain timely contacts with your account holders. It’s critical to welcome new account holders and thank existing account holders for opening new accounts. When done correctly, this type of communication strategy helps to “kickstart” the new account holder relationship and paves the way for productive cross-selling, and improved loyalty and satisfaction.

Communicating quickly after any new account is opened improves satisfaction and enhances the overall experience. According to the JD Power & Associates’ 2015 US Retail Banking Satisfaction study, satisfaction increases the faster a new account holder is contacted and is contacted by the same banking representative who opened the account.2



JD Power & Associates research also consistently shows that customer satisfaction and cross-sell effectiveness improves with the increased number of contacts.3



Onboarding should focus on those engagement services like direct deposit, bill pay, electronic statements, debit card, mobile and online banking. This type of communication helps to build the foundation of account engagement and loyalty before focusing on tailored cross-sell contacts.

Start early by building a consistent communication strategy targeting both new and existing account holders in order to create improved loyalty, satisfaction and retention especially those highly important deposit balances.


1. American Banker, (14, July 2015)

2. JD Power & Associates, US Retail Banking Satisfaction, (2015)

3. JD Power & Associates, US Retail Banking Satisfaction, (2015)


Venus And Mars Both Bank

Posted by Mara Friedman on June 25th, 2015

Gender BankingMany experts have weighed in on the differences between how the genders tend to approach financial issues. Everything I’ve read suggests men have more debt and more savings, partially because of higher incomes. Yet when marketing banking services, best practices tend to skew communications toward the female who generally handles the family’s banking and sorts the household mail. However, as communications become more targeted and are delivered to individuals rather than households (thanks in large part to individual email addresses), marketing might be well-served by acknowledging different approaches to money management and spending based on both gender and age.

After decades in financial marketing, I just ran across a new term for the first time — money snacking or those smaller purchases that can really add up, just like those insidious calories that accumulate the pounds after mindless munching. I admit I fit embarrassingly well into the stereotype of the typical female money snacker… baulking at any high ticket purchase, while thinking nothing of acquiring yet another pair of black shoes, something most men can’t fathom.

Of course, these are just generalizations. There are men with black belts in shopping and women sitting in homes furnished with little other than high-end stereo equipment, but recognizing valid archetypes can help marketers tip the odds in their favor. This doesn’t mean simply swapping out the gender of the person in a photo; it’s about customizing the message to tightly align with the financial inclinations of the reader. The industry buzz is to target Millennials with positioning designed to meet their needs, but doesn’t that principle apply to all account holders? Don’t adult males also have financial needs that banks and credits unions can profitably meet? As technology and communications advance, so does our ability to target messages to be as relevant as possible.

For the first time since the government began tracking these stats in 1976, more than half of people in the United States are single.1 That clearly suggests that not every prospect household financial institutions are targeting for new checking accounts has a woman at the helm managing the family’s finances. Younger adults and males are taking charge of their banking and investment decisions, and our ability to use targeted digital communications to reach them has never been better. Now let’s ensure the messages we send through those channels are equality relevant.


1. CityLab/the Martin Prosperity Institute