Banking used to be a primarily relationship-based model. Consumers would stay with the same bank for the duration of their lives and may have even worked with the same branch that their parents used. Why? Because it was familiar to them, it met their needs (both convenience and otherwise) and they had a trusted relationship with the bank.
Today, financial brands are walking a fine line to attract new customers or members – all while remaining true to their brand. Marketing to up-and-coming generations adds an additional dimension to this challenge given certain personas may not be fully fleshed out yet.
Hear from Total Expert Product Marketing Manager Matt Noyes and Data Propria President Matt Oczkowski as they discuss the best ways for you to attract new audiences and showcase what your financial brand has to offer.
Matt Noyes: So, Matt, when we were at the Financial Brand Forum earlier in the year, we spoke with a lot of marketers, branch managers, all sorts of folks from various financial services orgs. A lot of them shared their goals for the business and the challenges they were trying to solve.
Matt Noyes: One example that came to my mind was a conversation I had with a couple of marketers who made up their bank’s entire marketing team, a regional bank here in the Midwest. They talked to me about how branch traffic was declining and that their customer base in this mostly rural community was aging and that they knew that they needed to attract some new customers, because they knew if they didn’t start attracting new customers from outside of their general branch traffic that they weren’t going to have customers for that much longer.
Matt Noyes: The problem for them was that they just didn’t know where to start. They didn’t know these potential new customers because they didn’t see them in the branch. They didn’t know how to get in front of them because they didn’t know where they might be coming from or where they “spent their time”, digitally or otherwise, and they didn’t know what they wanted from the bank.
Matt Noyes: They didn’t know where customers were going for their current needs and why they weren’t coming into the branch. As we think about this, to really help our listeners better build their audience and address their customer’s needs, I think it’s worthwhile for us to run through a few of these bigger challenges facing financial services orgs because these challenges pose a significant barrier to taking this meaningful action we’re talking about.
Matt Noyes: Let’s maybe talk through what you and your team at Data Propria are seeing out there regarding the challenges facing these financial brands. Let’s just talk through a couple of these: aging demographics, catering to those changing demographics as well, whether that’s growing younger in the customer base or otherwise. Let’s talk through a few of these and get your thoughts on what you guys are seeing.
Matt Oczkowski: I mentioned the term self-fulfilling prophecy before, and I think that’s something that’s very prudent in understanding changing and aging demographics. If you’re only using knowledgeinside of your institution and only relying on data of what your current customers look like, you’re going to be building models and forecasts on audiences about where you are today in that aging demographic but not necessarily where you’re going tomorrow, and I think to focus on the future of the financial customer.
Matt Oczkowski: There are some ways you can do this in a very lean, cost-effective way that doesn’t necessarily have to be a massive market research program or something like that. It’s the idea of getting outside of your comfort zone and starting to understand different data resources, but also authenticity. Where authenticity meets new data is really the focus when you’re talking about aging demographics. I see far too many financial customers say, oh, young people are using things like Venmo and the Cash App, so I have to mimic that approach.
Matt Oczkowski: No, don’t do that, because that’s not authentic to who you are as a brand and what you’re trying to do. Be real to your customer. Certainly, embrace new technologies, but yes, what are the underlying elements in why people like those organizations? Is it convenience? Is it user experience? Is it functionality? Is it customer service? Whatever it may be, learn from those elements and use those authentically to who you are and what you do, but then again you also have to understand who that audience is.
Matt Oczkowski: I think there’s far too much of an inclination to read a publication on Adweek and say, oh, young people are using Snapchat, so I’ve got to be on Snapchat. Well maybe, but how do you know that? Is Snapchat the right vehicle, is that the right media preference for the customer that you’re trying to go to? Could you be doing better just with customer segments between 35 and 50 rather than trying to go down to 18 to 25? Is that efficient? Is that effective? How do you test that? Being able to find other data resources outside your organization, maybe leveraging some commercial data sets that exist in the marketplace.
Matt Oczkowski: But maybe conducting some market research to your existing customers, asking them what they like and don’t like about your brand, going out and doing some small testing. There’s a lot of online survey tools today within tools like Google and Facebook that you could use that are still very helpful directionally that might not be the end all be all of a large scale quantitative research experiment, but that could help you learn about the customer base and what they want. Once you start to build that information it’s going to help point you in the right direction, not only of persona and audience development but also productization and how do you point your organization in the right direction.