Banking needs multi-channel marketing to match service innovation


The Finance DNA report shows that banking is entering an era of innovation in terms of personalised products and customer experience. In order to stay competitive, brands in the sector should focus on targeted, cross-channel marketing solutions that maximise the impact of these new services.

Despite economic headwinds, the 2020s will prove to be a decade of innovation and renewal for banking services and customer relationships.

These future trends are detailed in the Finance DNA report, created in partnership with Foresight Factory. But to capitalise to the maximum, it's vital that organisations in the banking and finance sectors align their media and creative strategies behind the evolution in products and services.

Put simply, brands in the sector will need to embrace agile multi-channel communications models. They will need to break down traditional media models and reduce internal organisational siloes to introduce marketing systems and practices that exploit fully the personalised and real-time nature of their emerging customer experiences.

Making multi-channel marketing and data-driven digital campaigns is essential in reaching both business and consumer audiences effectively at a moment and location of their choosing. This is important especially at a time when customers are price sensitive and seeking cost savings.

A shift to personalisation

The main feature of this new communications model is an emphasis on personalised, targeted, media that provides the opportunity for a new approach to creative execution. A new way that will appeal to all customers, but especially the bedrock of future banking - Generation Z.

It's an emerging model that will supplement traditional activity such as brand advertising, call centres, direct mail and email marketing. New kids on the block include programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH), Connected TV and interactive video on emerging social media channels. All are worth exploring, but the most critical point is that they connect each to the other, and ensure they are relevant to the overall customer experience.

Out-of-Home has a heritage as one of the most effective channels for capturing audience attention but technology is helping it to push forward through data-driven creativity and the powerful targeting capabilities of programmatic technology.

There's also compelling evidence that DOOH appeals specifically to younger, Generation Z consumers due to the ability to activate screens in relevant locations such as shopping centres, bars, theatres, quick service restaurants and gyms.

This provides the potential for banking brands to reach consumers with targeted product and service messages at multiple locations, at different times of the day. Also offering the opportunity to run different creative based on audience type, behaviour and location.

For example, Stake, a digital financial brokerage in Australia, launched a cross-channel marketing campaign with an emphasis on DOOH to raise awareness of its service offering easy access to the US stock market. Using encrypted CRM data, the activity targeted suburban areas and the main business district to understand consumer patterns and only activate DOOH screens when and where the target audience was most likely to be.

Moving to mobile channels, the importance of social media as a communications tool, tied to customer experience, is clear already to the majority of marketers.

However, this is expected to rise over the coming years. Not least because, according to the Finance DNA report: "Consumers will become more open to sharing personal details of their financial lives, and many will turn to social media for answers, putting pressure on banks to offer more accessible advice. Already popular with a niche audience, financial influencers will become more mainstream due to their ability to identify with consumer issues and provide practical solutions."

Interactive video on social media can play a supporting role here, and is also a powerful tool for selling products, particularly to younger people. For instance, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland ran a recent campaign on TikTok targeting students within their personalised "For You" feed. Ads appeared natively alongside user-generated content and provided a short call to action. The activity generated 7 million impressions and an engagement rate of close to 6%.

Optimising media and data with AI

Banking brands are also grasping the potential offered by emerging AI technology to optimise their media spend through analytics tools and intelligent learning networks that continuously target the most relevant audiences across channels and reduce waste.

But the application of AI goes far beyond efficiency. Banks are utilising the technology to update their chatbots, not only to improve the customer experience but also the flow of marketing data into their organisations.

For example, Israeli digital bank One Zero has deployed new "Generative AI technology" (known as "genAI Chat")  to generate immediate replies to free-flowing customer queries. The bank has been able to replace the traditional conversation menu system that can only answer specific customer questions with AI that analyses customer requests, together with their intentions, to provide specific responses regarding their accounts.

The potential of this type of AI application is exciting in terms of empowering customers and boosting the value of the personalised experience. Together with a targeted, multi-channel, approach to communications it holds the key to a better financial future. Both for banks, and their consumers.

Explore our Finance DNA report for deeper insights.