This month I’m coming to you from 35,000 feet. One of my loyal team members, also known as Delta Airlines, carried me to a far away place where I was able to talk to some truly awesome community financial institution leaders. The best part of my job is interacting with people who strive to serve their communities with great products.
During my ongoing conversations with these leaders, it’s clear that Kasasa services are under serious pressure to perform. In my last post, we talked about how reaching your community with better tools is a crucial strategy for community financial institutions. Consumers choose how they want to engage with us, not the other way around. And because of this, our choices will make a big impact on our businesses.
Find your consumers before someone else does
There are two things we need to embrace:
1. All consumers are not equal.
What if we knew that some consumers were 3.5 times more likely to buy certain types of products from us or more likely to stay with our institution longer? We would all want to know who those consumers are and start interacting with them more frequently.
2. If we don’t make the effort to engage these consumers, someone else is going to.
Actually, someone else already is. Pick your least favorite megabank and insert their marketing budget here.
This increase in competition is not due to the number of financial institutions (that number has decreased over the last 10 years), but rather changes in consumer behavior. It’s easy to blame budgets and say that larger institutions have the money to invest in more marketing, but that doesn’t tell the full story. They do invest more in marketing, but it’s their commitment to consumer engagement that matters.
So how can community financial institutions strike back?
There are a number of steps we can all take to not only compete, but excel at engaging consumers:
- Leverage data to identify the types of consumers we have the best opportunity to attract.
- Use that same data to understand the behaviors of those consumers once they open accounts so we can serve them better (and maybe make some money at the same time).
- Invest in products for consumers, but also in technology that allows us to engage consumers on their terms. Marketing technology is required for success going forward.
Using the right marketing tools
Tomorrow’s success will be built on a stack of technology and data. Technology to further our understanding of our consumers is non-negotiable. We’ll also need to invest in data because without the proper understanding of our communities at an individual level, our marketing will be less effective.
After identifying the individuals we want to reach, we need to find them and talk to them in the media channel they prefer. It’s not very effective to talk to Millennials in your local newspaper (they don’t read them) or to a baby boomer on Twitter (because to them a Twitter is part of a speaker…get it? Woofer…Tweeter/twitter).
If you’ve done your research on these consumers, the next step is to create compelling marketing that makes people sit up and take notice (or at least keeps them aware of your existence).
Tap into your network
If you can’t do everything above on your own, ask your team for help. Get their best advice, reach out to partners, or learn from vendors. Take whatever steps you have to take to understand and engage individuals in your community in ways that will encourage them to seek you out.
In the next post, we’ll talk about specific segments of consumers and how different we all are (yep, it’s true). Residents in Chicago suburbs are actually different than those in Macon, Georgia. No one is better or worse than the next, but knowing how to engage them will determine your ROI on marketing investments.