It's a new year—which means finance marketing professionals have new things to tackle to effectively reach their end consumers. But when it comes to keeping customers or members interested in what you have to offer, there are a few things that we predict will ring true in 2019.
Take a peek at our rundown of some key points every bank or credit union marketer should know heading into 2019.
The Tipping Point Might Seem Small
It's hard to pinpoint, at times, the exact reasoning behind a consumer decision—why did they end up selecting a competing bank or credit union, or why did a particular customer or member leave us after six months? The tipping point for selecting or leaving your bank or credit union may be a seemingly ineffectual factor. The truth is, customer experience has become one of the key criteria for consumer decision-making. Things as simple as an underwhelming online banking portal, restrictive customer service hours or a mobile app that lacks functionality beyond the bare basic minimums can now be enough to call it quits or never strike up a relationship in the first place.
Pay attention to the low-hanging fruit among your user-experience demerits and remedy them pronto.
Your Expertise Still Matters
In an era in which consumers have access to mountains of information and advice at the their fingertips on managing their money, it can start to feel like the expertise of banks and credit unions is rendered less and less useful in a customer's mind. But that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, consumers still rely heavily on the expertise of pros in the field—they are still more likely to trust the advice of a professional banker than their own on-demand research. The only thing that's changed are the avenues through which you need to lend this expertise. Rather than simply waiting in a brick-and-mortar location for a phone call that might never come, engage with your consumers in new ways in 2019. Display your thought leadership by putting your most engaging of team members in front of a camera to interact with your end consumers—regularly go live on your social channels to talk about a given subject (i.e., first steps for starting a business or best practices for setting up college loans for your kids) and field questions in the moment.
The conversations are still sought—the methods of delivery have simply changed.
Yes, You Have to Care About Gen-Z
Remember when cracking the very difficult nut that is millennials was your No. 1 priority? Feeling like you may have finally figured it out? Well, there's a new generation to tackle, so your work isn't over. While your millennial marketing pushes are still hugely important for building a future base of clientele, Generation Z is starting to come of age. Which means now is a prime opportunity to start catering a portion of your marketing to this new crop of potential customers or members. Your bank or credit union will need to keep in mind that this generation differs from the one before it in that they are a little bit tighter-fisted with their money and more so resemble Generation X than they do millennials. They grew up in a post-9/11 world, so their worldviews are very different than those who were born in the 20th Century. Though authenticity is still very important to Gen-Z, they are more likely to be cautious about spending and more sensible about major financial choices (i.e., homebuying or vehicle purchases).
Ensure there's a section of your marketing dollars being spent on cultivating this new era of banked consumers.
Turnover Will Threaten Your Bottom Line
As digital media has made it easier for bank and credit union marketers to push conversions to the hilt, this intense focus on the final step of the customer journey (i.e., "Decision Stage") has made finance marketers inclined to sacrifice important steps in the lead-nurturing and customer-nurturing process. Without catering to the lead-up and lead-out to a sale, banks and credit unions will miss out on opportunities for conversions that would have otherwise happened with a bit more handholding during the awareness and consideration stages. And it also risks issues with retention if marketers ignore ongoing relationship-building with their converted consumers. Make sure your messaging strategy includes no-strings-attached content marketing opportunities for those consumers still shopping around (who may not be ready to take a major action just yet) and ongoing automated content marketing for existing customers to keep you in their good graces for the long-term.
After all, it's much more expensive to onboard a new member of customer than to continue upselling existing ones.