Here’s the truth: COVID-19 is never going away. Not with a cure or vaccine. Not after we can move freely around the world. And not after we can give our loved ones of all heath and ages the hugs that are both long awaited and long overdue.
What we’re seeing is a fundamental change in what people value and what they expect. It’s a seismic shift in societal norms that will reshape our collective future. Forever.
For marketers, it’s a change in consumer DNA. Behaviors that were already increasing are now skyrocketing. Screen time, search volume, streaming services, social media and messaging, mobile apps — you name it. If it’s digital, usage is up drastically, across the board.
Business will continue. Banking will continue. But there’s no going back.
Welcome to Banking 2020. It’s a bold new world.
You already know in-branch traffic is down. What you don’t know is when (or to what degree) it will return. For July 2020, 39% of people said they still wouldn’t feel comfortable walking into a branch.1
The good news is, consumers still plan to bank. In fact, according to Harris Poll research, 22% of planned to open a savings account during that very same month of July alone — while another 10% planned to consolidate their debt or credit cards.2
The demand for banking services on the whole remains steady. It’s the how, when, and where that’s changing each day.
Year-over-year changes, by the numbers:
2.4x more monthly Google searches for “open a bank account online” (April 2020)3
1.6x more monthly searches for “personal loan refi” and “auto loan refi” (March 2020)3
+35% increase in digital account applications (July 2020) 2
If you want to compete, you have to evolve — as both a marketer and a financial institution. You need to expand your responsibilities to capitalize on the trends that are here to stay.
Implementing these five strategies today can help you navigate whatever tomorrow holds.
Strategy 1: Take a multi-channel approach to engagement.
Consumers don’t rely on one single channel to make purchase decisions. In fact, 70% of consumers use three or more channels when researching a purchase.
Your marketing mix needs to meet consumers where they are. A multi-channel approach means a better chance of reaching your intended target and gives your message more chances to resonate.
Reliable channels to reach consumers in 2020:
Social media — 79% of people in the US use social media.4
Email (it’s far from dead) — 76% of US adults use email.5
Direct mail — 42.2% of recipients either read or scan their mail.6
Streaming audio or video — 89% of people use an on-demand streaming service.7
Paid search — Paid search visitors are 50% more likely to purchase than organic visitors.8
Today more than ever, consumers live online. Digital marketing engagement is only accelerating since the onset of COVID-19. Over the first half of 2020, we’ve seen a categorical rise in engagement across digital channels:
33% increase in clicks on display ads.9
71% increase in social media clicks.9
28% increase in paid search clicks.9
Of course, getting in front of your audience is only half the battle. You need a timely and relevant message to convert eyeballs into customers.
Right now, for many financial institutions, that message is one of reassurance — letting your community know you’re open for business, that you’re here for them, and that they can still reach you for any issues, questions, or concerns they may have.
Reassurance marketing across paid search, digital display, and social can not only keep your institution top of mind in tough times, but drive actual account openings.
Strategy 2: Transform your branch experience into a digital one.
It’s no surprise that online banking is surging at a time when nearly 40% of people still don’t feel comfortable walking into a branch. But how much do consumers really value the digital experience at your bank or credit union?
Well, when you ask them, here’s the answer: a lot.
For 79% of consumers polled, a complete digital experience is the expectation.10 And the younger the audience you want to attract, the more the capabilities of your digital experience matters. That means everything from finding personalized answers to opening accounts and banking services, all available via your online and mobile channels.
Creating a seamless digital experience all the way through account opening will pay off in your marketing, too — powering your calls to action to drive end-to-end results.
Strategy 3: Measure your success. At every point in the customer lifecycle.
Hitting your monthly or annual goals is great. But the only way to sustain success is to know WHY you got those numbers. Can you attribute each new account your institution opens back to your marketing efforts — and can you do it with confidence?
It’s important to measure beyond the basic impressions and clicks that give you a snapshot of your channel-level performance. We need to understand the entire consumer purchase journey. Did those impressions and clicks lead to an account being opened?
To give proper credit where credit is due (and to double down on your marketing that moves needle), you need an attribution model you can trust.
It’s a complex process, where cutting corners can lead to missteps. The simplest approach marketers use is last-touch attribution — crediting the channel that pushes the conversion over the finish line as the reason for success. However, this common model can paint an incomplete picture and lead you down the road to short-sighted or less-informed marketing decisions.
Let’s take paid search. It gets a lot of credit (and rightfully so) for driving conversions. When someone searches for your products, they land on your site — then click, boom, congrats — account opened! It’s a nice, neat, linear story.
It’s just not the full story. Searching for your products is an active action. What influenced their search? What made them identify their needs and recognize you as a solution?
Did they see your ad on Hulu? Had they been in your branch? Have they been following your posts and sending likes your way?
A best-in-class attribution model can:
Account for all multi-channel marketing touchpoints.
Track and attribute anonymous digital consumer data throughout the entire consumer journey.
Realize the true return on marketing investment, so you can optimize smarter going forward.
At the end of the funnel, you should see the holistic customer journey, step-by-step. Only then can you truly understand both your marketing performance and your customers.
Strategy 4: Leverage consumer data.
Data is what lets you target new consumers with the right message, for the right product, at the right time. It’s also how you predict the right message and product for your existing customers based on what you already know about them.
Unfortunately, data is an area where smaller institutions have the least confidence in their abilities to keep up. Nearly 78% of institutions with assets over $50 billion report that they’re “adept” or at least “moderately adept” at recommending the next best actions for marketing to consumers and prospects. For institutions with less than $500 million in assets, that number is all the way down to 16%. And more than 50% of organizations of $1 billion or less in assets consider data analytics a major challenge.11
At Kasasa, we’re trying to close this gap.
Using data to reach existing customers:
We use transactional data analysis and predictive analytics based on more than two million accounts that help you:
Centralize your data.
Segment your consumers by common attributes.
Predict the best product offer for each individual consumer you have.
Instead of marketing every product to every account holder, you can be more strategic and deliberate in your messaging. The response rate per message goes up because you aren’t wasting resources on someone who isn’t likely to respond anyway.
Acquiring new customers with data:
To find new account holders, we start with our proprietary customer segmentation, which we then layer onto your local market. The scale of our customer segmentation modeling lets us:
Drill down to the household level.
Segment consumers by life stage and income.
Determine which products customers are more likely to buy.
As a result, we can find potential consumers who are up to 3x more likely to open an account. Plus, we can identify the consumers with the most potential to be more profitable account holders for an institution, too.
Then we implement a custom marketing program on the channels we know they’re more likely to respond to. When you start with the data, the marketing itself comes easy.
Strategy 5: Optimize for better results. And never stop optimizing.
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned in 2020, it’s that the world can change quickly. What works today could look totally different than what worked last week.
The goal isn’t perfection. It’s tireless optimization. Iterating and improving your marketing to get higher click-throughs, conversion rates, rankings, and the metrics that matter most to your business.
It means reacting quickly to news stories, regulation changes, algorithm updates, and search fluctuations. Taking advantage of new types of ad units and A.I.-enabled assistance to create more variants to test. Maybe rethinking your old, handy landing page templates and giving a new set of challengers the traffic to shine.
Sure, the 2020 headlines may read like an “end of days” script. But for marketers, and financial marketers in particular, it’s the dawn of a new era — where consumer data, digital performance, and results-based decision making can propel your financial institution to new heights.
1 Source: Kasasa Analytics, 3/22-6/5
2 Source: Kasasa survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among 1,045 U.S. adults ages 18+, July 2020. For more info on the survey, please contact email@example.com.
3 Source: Google trends, June-July 2020
5 Source: email (https://99firms.com/blog/how-many-email-users-are-there/#gref)
6 Source: direct mail (https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/direct-mail-statistics/#gref)
7 Source: streaming (https://musically.com/2019/09/24/music-listening-2019-ifpi-report/)
8 Source: PPC (https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/pay-per-click-statistics/)
9 Source: Kasasa Analytics, Q1 – Q2 2020
10 Kasasa survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among 1,045 U.S. adults ages 18+, March 2020. For more info on the survey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
11 Source: Digital Banking Report Research, July 2020, The Financial Brand (https://thefinancialbrand.com/98826/digital-banking-report-financial-marketing-ai-trends)