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Why Banks Struggle with Digital Marketing

Feb. 24, 2014


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Banks are doing their best to adapt to change. The big brands have long released mobile banking apps for tech-savvy customers. Many more are just beginning to work with key financial players on the Internet such as PayPal, mobile operators, and card issuers.

But why are brick and mortar banks still struggling with digital marketing? While it’s true that many banks recognize the need for a digital marketing strategy, developing it and putting it in place is a real challenge. Here’s more.

Personalized and User-friendly Digital Experience

American banks can learn from the findings of IT consulting company Accenture. According to the company’s research, the quality of interaction between UK and Ireland banks and customers is declining. More than 10 percent of consumers switched banks since 2010, a telltale sign of trust issues.

“This year’s survey results underscored the banking industry’s central challenge to re-engage customers, as the ‘human element’ of the relationship diminishes,” said Peter Kirk, managing director of the company’s Distribution and Marketing Services in the UK and Ireland.

Kirk further explained that banks can take at least three actions to strengthen customer relationship:

  • focus on fast and efficient service across multiple channels
  • reward customer loyalty
  • personalize digital engagement using big data and analytics

He added that only banks who take the initiative to complete these steps will thrive in the future. All of them are important but you can actually sum them up in a sentence: deliver a personalized and user-friendly banking experience.

This seems to be the missing element in most banks’ digital marketing strategies. They lack the “human touch” and fail to prioritize customers. Both digital marketers and banks should realize that banking isn’t just a financial activity but also an “experience.” Only then can they promise to deliver what customers long for.

Strategic Approach to Content Creation

In a recent survey of 204 banks by retail marketing agency John Ryan, it was revealed that a majority of banks update their communication platforms monthly or even less frequently. What’s more troubling is that over half of the banks surveyed don’t even localize messages or tailor content to particular branches. Only less than a third of these banks update on a regular basis. This problem lies at the core of digital marketing failure. The process relies heavily on fresh and relevant content. Without it, your marketing strategy fails. The solution, John Ryan explained, is in the right set of tools and techniques that affordably and “sufficiently supports the content creation process.”

Think of collaborative tools that improve the workflow of content contributors. Think of attracting a pool of writers, marketers, and other creative professionals who perfectly understand your brand and deliver your message to consumers. Gather these talents and involve them in crafting your digital marketing strategy. Many banks and financial institutions, in fact, benefit from the advice of young professionals who are savvy in social media.

Most importantly, consider all type of content assets and social platforms you can use to educate consumers. Go beyond tweeting and blogging. Offer them infographics and well-written consumer reports. Resist the temptation to exclusively sell your products and services. Help your customers and prospects make better financial decisions instead.

Banks can no longer ignore the reality that brands have become publishers in the age of information. If that’s too big a role to play, then banks should at least recognize the importance of communicating effectively online. The rules of effective communication apply equally to successful digital marketing. People simply won’t pay attention unless you offer something relevant and of value and to them.

Download: The Essential Guide to Internet Marketing


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