Clock Icon 12 min read

How Digital Marketing Can Help Banks Make the Most of Their Data

Digital marketing tips for your bank

We’re living in unprecedented financial times, with the pulse of the ever-evolving banking industry serving as a reflection of the current zeitgeist. As technology rapidly advances—and the inevitable, but uncertain specters of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and cryptocurrency loom on the horizon—bank leaders are often forced to choose between picking up the pieces and evolving, or staying the same in hopes of weathering this change.

Hyperbole aside, some say the future of banking rests in the smartphones we carry with us every day. Just a few years ago, it was reported that more people handled their weekly banking duties on mobile phones than at physical branches. Consumers aren’t just using their devices to check account balances, either. They’re applying for loans and credit cards and even turning to the cloud for financial advice.

This represents a sea change in the way that consumers interact with their finances

In a future marked by both innovation and ambiguity, one thing is for certain: both businesses and consumers have continued to focus on digital options. As consumers increasingly demand convenience and best-in-class services and products, integrating the digital and physical realms has become a top priority for many financial organizations.

As more consumers opt for online banking over waiting in a queue at physical locations, it can be argued that this has created a new opportunity for existing regional and local financial organizations to thrive. However, banks must unify their data across every touch point, channel, and product line. And they need consistent messaging across all communication channels, including emails; websites; products and apps; service, transactional, and support interactions; and sales and marketing channels.

This guide reviews trends that can help contribute to that success:

How banks can gain a competitive advantage and succeed without becoming the next big tech company.

How banks can leverage big data to provide an enhanced customer experience.

How paid search marketing provides an unprecedented level of customization and return on investment (ROI).

How forming partnerships with digital marketing agencies can help banks and other financial institutions make the most of their data.

The current banking landscape

In days past, customers were fiercely loyal to financial companies, often sticking with a bank from their first job until retirement. Not anymore. As the market becomes more specialized, and technology evolves, customer loyalty is challenged. And as more efficient payment platforms emerge, the role of traditional banking institutions is further scrutinized.

We’ve already caught a glimpse of a cashless world—one in which customers’ transactional experiences are integrated across numerous platforms. Just think of the last time you used your phone to book a hotel, catch a ride, or order food.

As online banks and digital payment processing apps create a more seamless way to make and receive payments online, the dynamic in which individuals interact with money has evolved. This doesn’t even account for blockchain and other emerging technologies. While cryptocurrency saw a staggering 80 percent plunge in 2018, a blockchain future is still a possibility. What’s more, AI is increasingly automating tasks; and the cloud continues to revolutionize data transfer.

However, of all technologies to make an impact on banking in the near-future, data is the most important, according to Deloitte. Banks that are able to make the most of their data collection strategy, and develop data-driven marketing campaigns will future-proof their organization.

Ultimately, finance is personal in a way that other consumer products aren’t. That’s why it’s essential to listen to the needs of your customers. Embracing the future means understanding how they interact with your organization—and how you can use data to bolster their experiences. Data can help banks understand how customers interact with their products, and how marketing efforts can be tailored around the financial journey.

The financial industry has the unique privilege of capturing and accessing information from numerous data points (all within regulatory confines, of course). This enables financial companies to provide customized campaigns, products, and service lines. As a growing number of consumers interact with more touchpoints, data is collected from sources such as:

  • Emails
  • Profile data
  • Social media
  • Purchase history
  • Online transactions
  • Log data

This data provides a unique view into the complex details of an individual’s lifestyle, needs, and preferences. By gaining insights into the spending patterns of their customers, banks can construct a more holistic picture of their consumers.

But first, banks must be able to make sense of their data.

While most organizations are exposed to a surplus of data, it is often inaccessible, or not seamlessly integrated across their company. At other organizations, data may be siloed between departments, or across uncommunicative legacy systems that end up hindering teams.

Financial companies must align their data collection and communication efforts across all channels. Those that do deliver personalized services based on these nuances.

Let’s review why big data matters—and how digital marketing can improve the way that banks leverage it.

Hyper-specific customization and targeting allows marketers to tailor their messaging around specific demographics.

1. Data drives demographic and income targeting

The ways in which customers search for and receive information about the financial world is changing. Today’s consumers use multiple channels and may move back and forth between them at any given time. For example, consumers may perform a Google search to find your location. They may watch YouTube videos to learn about home loans and retirement funds. And they may turn to social media to read reviews before opening a new savings account.

So, how do you stitch together data from multiple sources—both from within your own organization and across third-party companies—and market your services to your customers across various platforms?

Google, Facebook, and Twitter all allow advertisers to target around age, income, gender, and parental status. These platforms also offer a high level of control and customization. Banks can make bid adjustments for specific audiences, so that marketing spend is targeted around leads who are more likely to benefit from product lines.

Paid search advertising provides financial marketers the ability to reach targeted traffic across specific platforms—enabling them to get their message in front of the right people. For example, PPC enables banks to establish campaigns for each product and service they offer. In doing so, they can target audiences who are searching for specific products and services based on parameters like location, device, and demographics.

2. Data informs and backs up product development

Technology advancements—mostly delivered by big banks and fintechs—continue to ramp up expectations for customization and convenience. However, despite the spread of next-generation technology, national, regional, and local banks can still remain competitive. Deloitte suggests that most banks can (thankfully) ditch any grandiose plans of becoming the next big tech company, and instead, pivot their goals to meet customer needs.

While Deloitte recently claimed that modernizing core infrastructure, embracing AI, and migrating to cloud should be key initiatives, they also contend that banks should make the most of their current investments. By focusing on building trust and leveraging data to sustain this proliferation of technology, organizations can bolster their initiatives. To stay competitive, it’s important for financial institutions to highlight their current products and technology.

When leveraged by product and development teams, data can serve as a baseline for ongoing iteration and improvement. While it’s true that sales and marketing may have different KPIs than product teams, because marketing sits on a goldmine of customer data, it’s important that departments communicate with each other.

Data can help banks understand which customers engage with specific products. The product life cycle of most banking products can be broken into four broad categories: development, growth, maturity, and decline. Marketing can help refine these product lifecycle stages by using profile and transactional data. Additionally, qualitative customer information gathered by sales and marketing teams—such as the types of demographic research uncovered by paid media campaigns—can inform future market research and determine the business value of products.

Investing in digital marketing efforts can facilitate cross-departmental data collection and analysis. Paid search marketing helps align consumer lifestyles and life cycles. Analyzing how frequently customers interact with different products throughout life cycle stages generally helps banks gauge which products are successful and which may need improvements.

3. Data provides new levels of personalization

Regaining trust with customers can be a challenge for small banks, especially amongst the emerging generation that grew up with the 2008 financial crisis and student loans looming over their heads. Because only 30 percent of people say they place a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in banks, the way that brands portray themselves matters.

Modern customers are used to receiving a personal touch from other consumer markets. For example, the sharing economy—the economic model popularized by companies like Uber and Airbnb— includes an inherent level of customization. The most successful companies have disrupted the marketplace by developing proprietary platforms that center on the user. Consumers are in charge of their interactions, and control when and how they use products.

Behind the sharing economy, however, is big data. Many of these companies rely on data and algorithms to provide services. Generally, these companies are simply facilitators between technology and users.

As discussed above, data segmentation enables marketing teams to see how and when customers are interacting with products and what issues resonate most with specific audiences. Knowing where customers are in their life cycle can influence which types of communications and campaigns to utilize. This can help teams refine their marketing messaging—which, when executed properly, can help create loyal and happy customers.

Data can help marketers decide which products to market to specific segments. Personalized marketing messaging can further improve customer engagement.

Ultimately, creating customer profiles can help drive actionable insights, which leads to better marketing campaigns, improved customer service, and more closed sales. And advanced analytics leads to more customized experiences and better marketing messaging.

Benefits of a digital marketing partnership

By now, it’s clear that data matters in the financial sector. Sometimes, the data you should be tracking is right in front of you. It’s not always the availability of data that poses problems for organizations; instead, the challenge often rests in knowing what data to use for specific objectives—and how to translate it into great customer experiences.

Ask yourself the following:

Who’s abandoning our website—and why? How are prospective customers finding our company?

Who’s filling out applications and where are they coming from?

How are customers engaging with our products?

Are we using goal tracking properly?

If any of these were difficult to answer, you may be struggling with making the most of your data. Now may be the time to consider paid digital marketing, which can help bridge the gap between your unique challenges and your ambitious goals. Below are three situations in which paid search marketing can help financial institutions.

1. Expanding into new markets

Are you opening a new branch? Expanding into a new geographic territory? Paid advertising is a great way to penetrate new markets. PPC has the capacity to precisely target consumers in hyper-specific geographic areas. This not only ensures you’re reaching a specific type of consumer, it means you’re getting the most mileage from your marketing budget.

2. Managing a merger or acquisition

Navigating a merger or acquisition is a common occurrence in the current financial landscape. And often, this process is a win-win for both parties involved. For the acquirer, it means diversified revenue and expanded market share. For the acquired, it means benefiting from the brand recognition of a competitor or larger company.

Because data often influences growth markets and services, however, successful integration generally requires teams to understand their current brand awareness. Leveraging paid search can help teams measure the demand for their products and services, and help them determine budgets and other channel investment costs before going into a merger.

See an example of a successful bank merger campaign and put the ideas to work for you.

3. Cross-sell an additional product or service to existing customers

Cross-selling occurs when banks sell additional products to customers who will benefit from an additional service. For example, a credit card may be cross-sold to people who are registering for a savings account; or, a personal line of credit may be sold to a customer with a home mortgage.

While most banks have extensive customer lists, it can be tough to harness their strength. Paid search marketing—and the inherent demographic data that comes with it—provides that clarity. From creating targeted lists of existing customers, to remarketing specific buyers, PPC marketing helps ensure that cross- selling ads are placed in front of the right people.

PPC provides financial institutions the opportunity to separate campaigns based on products and services. By creating distinctive ads for each product or service, companies can increase the likelihood that ads generate a click-through. In doing so, marketers can also write specific content that will most likely resonate with a target audience.

How can Workshop Digital help you attract new customers?

Paid digital marketing and advertising helps your team make data-driven business decisions about how you can market in an increasingly competitive environment. By strategically leveraging customer data, paid search advertising can provide you with an overview of existing customers and help reach new ones. These initiatives can provide more insight into your efforts, and ensure that campaigns are resonating with your intended audience.

Serving as an extension of your team, Workshop Digital provides you with resources you may not have and strategies you may not have considered. Whether you’re trying to enter new markets, navigate a complex merger, or simply improve your marketing ROI, partnering with digital marketing experts is a cost-effective way to make the most of your data—so you can focus on other important initiatives.

Workshop Digital W icon