ABA Bank Marketing 2018 Key Takeaways

Last week, some of the country’s leading bank marketers gathered in Baltimore, Maryland for the ABA Bank Marketing Conference to share how technology is being leveraged to innovate the banking experience to deepen customer relationships, position themselves for the future by creating customers for life and expand wallet-share in an increasingly fast-paced, competitive environment. With ABA Bank Marketing 2018 now in the rearview mirror, we wanted to look back at the overarching themes of the conference.

Customers Come First

Banks are still marketing and communicating to their customers one-dimensionally and often from a product-first position versus a customer-first position. This means they’re frequently falling into the trap of delivering the same customer experience across their entire customer base, which is often generic and sporadic, leaving customers wondering, “Yes, but what’s in it for me?” 

As consumer expectations continue to rise, banks must do more to personalize their experience across the entire customer journey. Consumers want to hear from their favorite brands (like you), but only if they can offer up meaningful, authentic content that can educate them, make them feel heard or offer them a new product or service in line with their current financial situation. 

The future of marketing is no longer just about earning a customer, it’s about keeping them – for life.

Data Is Big

Delivering the right message at the right time to the right person on the right channel is the holy grail for modern bank marketers. Unsurprisingly, the multi-channel, multi-device path consumers travel can hinder your ability to track their every interaction with your organization’s brand, making it more difficult to deliver deeply personal experiences across the customer journey. 

Bank marketers are increasingly looking to their software solutions to unite growing volumes of data across systems and serve up actionable insights to effectively bridge the gaps along the customer journey and enhance the customer experience through segmentation.  

In addition to mapping out the customer journey built off baseline data, industry leaders are deploying intelligent automation to engage, educate and cross-sell to prospects and existing customers. 

Speed and Collaboration  

The banking industry is at a crossroads. The pace of change is accelerating – technology, consumer expectations, consumer behavior – and what worked before will not work in the years ahead. Technology can help you keep pace with it all – but it’s critical to define your brand’s story and find a technology partner you can count on to innovate around the unique needs of the financial services industry.  

Strong Brands Always Win 

In the current bank marketing landscape, the commoditization of retail banking products and servicescontinues, consumers lack trust in financial institutions and new players are edging in on the market, promising to upend the status quo and deliver where traditional players have failed.  

But perception isn’t just half the battle – in many cases, it’s the whole battle. Your brand is more important than any one product you offer. Don’t spend another day competing on product pricing. In one of our favorite sessions, the former vice president of branding at Under Armour, Steve Battista, spoke about connecting with your consumers on an emotional level, delivering authentic messages and protecting your brand.  

During the closing session, Roy Spence of The Purpose Institute shared one resounding message that all banks and financial organizations must remember: You’re not in the banking business, you’re in the American dream business.