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How Financial Services Marketers can Engage the Digital Banking Consumer

How Financial Services Marketers can Engage the Digital Banking Consumer

Financial services marketing used to be about brochures and direct mail. A customer would enter their banking institution, make a transaction, and get some information about new products and services. While many consumers continue to use traditional channels when engaging with their bank or credit union, an increasingly large percentage of today’s financial consumers have gone digital.

According to the Accenture Study, Banking Customer 2020, “Some consumers have completely gone digital —20 percent of bank customers are digital-only users, preferring to prospect and purchase online.” With this trend only expected to increase, especially with millennial consumers preferring to use digital and online channels, the financial services industry needs to get digitally savvy.

There is certainly not a lack of opportunity to earn customer loyalty and maximize profitability. The Accenture survey reported that “customers are buying more products and services from financial companies – but not necessarily from their current providers. Consumers cite competitive pricing (39 percent), high quality customer service (34 percent), and good value for their money (32 percent) as the key drivers behind switching to another financial institution.”

As in all industries, digital has been a disrupter that companies must learn to quickly adjust to. More than half (58%) of banking customers in 2015 used mobile devices when interacting their financial institution.  Out of the average 17 interactions per month made by a customer with its main bank, seven are through online banking and three are through mobile/tablet. Engaging consumers across multiple channels – traditional as well as digital – is no longer an option to remain competitive.

Here are three tips to boost your engagement with digital consumers.

1. Integrate Online and Offline Insights

Digital consumers may prefer to engage through online channels, but there are huge amounts of offline data available that should be integrated into the customer profile. And consumers expect companies to use this information to deliver personalized and connected experiences.

Financial marketers have massive amount of consumer data, such as contact data, account information, call centers, and data from a CRM or MCIF. This 1st party data can be enhanced with additional 3rd party demographics, such as household income, presence of children, lifestyles, and hobbies. With a richly integrated consumer profile, marketers can ensure they are sending rich right time contact across channels that will best resonate with customers and prospects.

Customer data can also be matched to email addresses for digitized direct-mail outreach, connected to site-optimization systems to customize web pages based on offline purchases, or dumped into DSPs and ad-targeting systems to aim digital ads at customers.

Relying purely on online signals to inform marketing efforts is a very incomplete picture without the addition of additional data elements.

2. Online Customer Service

With 34% of consumers stating that they have switched financial institutions for better customer service, banks and credit unions need to make sure their customer service is up to par. Of the consumers who switched to another provider due to poor service, more than 80% said they could have been retained, mainly if their issue had been resolved on their first contact with the bank.

Providing customers with a positive customer experience and good service begins with knowing who your customers are and providing personalized experiences targeted to their individual needs. It also means overhauling traditional engagement methods to include service across a broader range of digital channels. 61% of banking customers who use digital channels expect to have access to more online interactions. Financial institutions have done well in this area, continually innovating in the types of online tools that are offered – mobile deposits, digital wallets, banking apps, and of course the list goes on and on.

However, just as important to providing good customer experiences and great customer service is the personal touch. Respond to inquiries on social media, interact with consumers on your Facebook page, and provide plenty of online content such as tips to managing your money or financial planning podcasts. Good customer service means catering to a customer’s needs, when and where they need assistance or information.

3. Enhance Your Mobile Capabilities

60% of all Internet use is now via mobile devices, according to InMobi. Financial institutions must deliver a single site optimized for mobile using responsive solutions. If sites are not optimized, consumers won’t stick around very long before heading off to the next site that is mobile friendly. The ultimate goal of financial marketers is to deliver a seamless experience to users, whether the consumers are logged in or out of the institution site.

Financial institutions can reach consumers on mobile through text messages (SMS), multimedia messages (MMS), push notifications, geolocation marketing and more mobile-centric tactics. Consumers can also be targeted on their smartphones and tablets with banking account updates, transaction alerts, exclusive offers, new products and more timely, personalized information.

Mobile marketing is also a cost-effective solution to reach younger consumers. According to a research study by Gemalto, “Banking via smartphone or tablets is also gaining traction, with 62% using them at least once a month. In fact, a quarter of all Millennials already believe mobile banking has become an “essential part” of managing their finances. 35.9% think banking via mobile devices helps them maintain better control over their finances, and one in six say their generation as a whole will be more financially responsible than others as a result of having such immediate and regular access to their accounts.”

Although these are examples of just a few effective digital strategies, this year and the future will offer plenty of online marketing tactics for financial institutions to implement. Most importantly, the consumer must remain the focal point of every digital strategy. That means making meaningful connections at every touchpoint of the customer journey from offline activities to web-based interactions between consumer and brand.

To learn how financial services are targeting banking prospects at the right time with the right content, download this free guide on Right Time Marketing.

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