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2019 survey: digital marketing strategy for banks & credit unions


Following an April Fools’ joke full of fake digital marketing tips, we’re delighted to deliver the real thing.

We tapped a handful of our partners on the shoulder to get inside perspectives on the past, present and future of digital marketing for financials. A big thank you to these experts!

(And in case you missed the answers of our first client survey, check out these trends and challenges for financials in 2019.)

What were some of the biggest digital marketing trends for banks and credit unions in 2018?

“We’ve noticed that most of the smaller community banks seem to be catching up in their website improvements, with responsive websites and larger visuals and interactive features.”

“Banks are beginning to embrace non-traditional channels of communication and advertising more than ever before. We’re realizing it’s no longer good enough to just have a website or Facebook page or Twitter account. We actually have to make these channels function effectively.”

“Marketing trends focused much on meeting and serving customers outside of the traditional in-branch experience. Community banks strive to communicate to current and perspective customers so that they can compete with the speed and efficiency the big banks offer through digital services.”

“Advertising your FI’s latest and greatest online and mobile banking features seems to (still be) be the biggest trend across the industry.”

“Unfortunately, banking in general tends to be a bit behind the technology curve, and we’re seeing more and more financials realize they can’t continue down that road if they want to be competitive.”

“Security is a major focus — features like turning your debit card on and off was advertised by big banks…all the way down to the smaller banks and credit unions.”

What do you anticipate will be the digital marketing trends for 2019?

“Digital marketing trends for 2019 will continue to focus on just that…the digital experience. The rapid adoption of technology has shifted many consumers away from the in-branch interactions and into the on-screen experience. The more community banks can digitally market their ability to compete and keep up in the online marketplace, the more consumer satisfaction

for consumers who rely on those digital services. Yet, that does not make the person-to-person interactions a customer would receive in-branch irrelevant.”

“In general among financial institutions, there is a push to offer greater service and communication to customers through digital channels (websites, apps, chat, social media).”

“An area we focused on in 2018 and will continue to this year is the gathering and placement of product-focused online reviews on our website and in our digital ads. Member reviews are just as important in search. For potential customers searching your business online, word of mouth (in the form of Google reviews) is crucial. Setting up an efficient feedback process to help garner more favorable reviews online can boost SEO and help your FI stand out amongst the crowded field.”

“We will see banks and core processors strive to blend a unified customer service through omni-channel banking, where the level of service is the same on any platform. CX and UX aren’t just catchy terms, but a concentrated approach to measure and improve the customer or user experience in the digital environment.”

“I see banks wanting to make the digital experience more personalized. If we promise a personalized approach in the branch, then we need to deliver that online as well. That means using remarketing strategies to deliver the information that fits a customer’s needs. It also means using a data-driven approach to marketing. When we have the ability to see how a customer navigates around our site or the way customers respond to specific ads, why aren’t we using that information to enhance the customer experience?”

What is the low-hanging fruit for banks and credit unions in 2019?

“I think it is always to best improve service to customers we already have, finding the right product or service for their needs.”

“Take a look at what your analytics are telling you. Sometimes making small changes can make a big difference to the customer.”

“I recommend Google Optimize — a free A/B and multivariable testing platform that’s extremely simple to use. Connecting to Google Analytics, it’s an accurate way to get the most out of high traffic pages on your site.”

“Quick wins are still found in great customer service for community banks. Digital experiences are efficient and convenient and can still be considered a good customer service because consumers expect their bank to offer that. So we should still have marketing efforts focused on that. However, if customers have a problem that cannot be resolved through an online banking or mobile interaction, they still want a face and a name to talk to. That is what leaves a good impression with the customer and leads to referrals.”

Are there any facets or facts about digital marketing that might surprise bank/credit union marketers?

“The ability to measure and improve the marketing investment is always surprisingly rewarding, especially when looking back at past traditional marketing efforts, which has less measurability.”

“Not all consumers prefer digital services. The person-to-person experience (in branch) still matters even if statistics show digital services growth. Consumers like to have a variety of options.”

“We’re a heavily regulated industry. But don’t let that scare you from using digital channels and marketing to enhance your customer’s lives or meet their needs. There’s still a lot you can do within the guidelines we’ve been given.”

“Marketing digital services in a digital landscape is easy to do, but what might be more challenging is invoking a personal feeling through digital marketing — that is, communicating that your bank is still here for the consumer when they need that in-person interaction.

Want some help activating your digital marketing strategy? Give us a shout!

Learn more about our bank marketing services.

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