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Session Recap: Digital Marketing Channels for Your Bank

Julia Wild

Julia Wild

Director of Strategic Initiatives
  • Last Updated: December 14, 2023

In This Article

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In this article

We’ve pulled some of the highlights from our discussion and shared them for easy reading below.

Thanks to all who attended last week’s digital marketing session at the Pennsylvania Bankers Association Digital Banking Conference. We’re also thankful to our friends Larissa Murphy, Digital Channel and Content Marketing Specialist at First Commonwealth Bank, and Anthony Costanzo, Director of New Business Development (Banking) at QuinStreet, for sharing their insights and strategies for growth via digital.

If you have any questions about digital marketing strategy or performance marketing for your bank, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!

Getting to know our audience

At the start of the session, attendees responded to questions about their current and future digital marketing plans, which helped set the stage for the session’s topics.

What do you want your digital marketing to achieve?

  • Attract new customers


  • Cross-sell existing customers


  • Improve bank efficiencies


  • Improve customer service


  • Increase deposits


What’s holding you back from investing more in digital?

  • Budget/investment involved


  • Resources


  • Complex legacy IT


  • Organizational resistance to change


  • We investing our optimal amount of funding


What big changes have you seen with bank customers since COVID19?

Larissa has seen an uptick in customer usage of First Commonwealth Bank’s web platform and app, both for transactions and new account openings. In addition to digital channels, her bank also implemented a lobby-by-appointment model that’s accelerated drive-up activity. “Our sales team have needed to learn how to create positive customer experiences at the drive up,” she observed. “Our marketing team also needed to come up with new ways to get our message out since customers weren’t coming into our lobbies nearly as much.”

Alana adds that support in the era of social-distancing has also become a priority for customers. “With so many customer service teams backed up lately, the banks that were accessible for customer support were [the ones] that were getting ahead,” she said of Fintel Connect’s bank partners.

Anthony saw an influx of consumers looking for safe places to store their money, and a rise in customer interest for certificates of deposits (CDs) over traditional savings accounts. Because the rates environment has fluctuated considerably over 2020, CDs with one to two year terms have now become comparable to savings accounts.

How has the digital banking landscape evolved, and what should we keep on our radar?

Anthony is seeing fintech banks shaking up the market by positioning themselves on the values of convenience and online-first. “They’re really focused on serving the underbanked communities,” he notes. “[They] might not have looked like competitor, but they are building platforms in order to compete with community banks […] by creating online experiences that are a ‘one-stop-shop’ for consumers.”

For banks looking to embark upon digital marketing and campaigns, Alana emphasizes that they first need to ensure their digital customer experiences are seamless, positive and optimized for converting incoming traffic.

Alana also assures that banks that excel in customer service and direct relationship-building can accomplish this online, too. “It’s about making sure you understand what their needs are,” she says, “to help them get done what they need to get done.”

“Get in the game. Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough.”
– Anthony Costanza, Director of Marketing, Quinstreet

Where are your digital efforts focused currently?

“People are relationship-driven,” Larissa notes. As such, First Commonwealth Bank focuses its mission on two distinct goals: 1) improving the lives of customers and 2) fostering opportunities for cross-promotional sales of products that meet customer needs. She also advises that although digital is a big undertaking, customer messages can still be effectively conveyed through smaller touchpoints over social or email.

Anthony recommends focusing on online accounting openings and analytics: streamlining the user journey from acquisition to relationship-management, and measuring a customer’s worth. “That’s what’s going to allow us to be better partners to you […] and what that lifetime value is, that’s going to allow us to find the right kind of customers for you and bring them to your door.”

Alana agrees that your ecosystem’s tracking and analytics — for potential and existing customers — is vital to your digital marketing foundation. “Being hip-to-hip with your analytics team is so important […] in understanding your customers at an end-to-end level,” she says.

Alana also recommends beta-testing your products with customers and not fearing that an evolving product will hurt your brand image. She explains that as long as you provide context about its development stage and its intention to improve service, customers will be empathetic and provide you with useful feedback.

“Always think customer first before the bank’s need. I really think that’s the way to win.”
– Larissa Murphy, Digital Channel, Marketing Specialist, First Commonwealth Bank

What percentage of your budget goes to digital marketing channels currently?

  • 0-10%


  • 10-20%


  • 20-40%


  • 40%+


What digital channel currently drives the greatest impact to your bank?

  • SEO / Organic Search


  • Paid search / Google Ads


  • Email marketing


  • Performance (affiliate) marketing


  • Social media advertising


What digital channels are you using for your bank?

Larissa shares the components of her digital marketing plan, the channels involved and how she strategically uses digital for bottom-of-funnel customer tactics. The follow channels are in her current mix:

  • Paid SEM (Google Ads)
  • Paid social (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
  • Native advertising
  • Digital display ads and video
  • Direct mail, integrated with digital:
    • Geotargeted mailers synced with the location of Facebook target audience
    • Display ads targeted to mailer recipients by IP address

Next year, Larissa’s goal is to build an attribution model to understand the average number of touchpoints — and which touchpoints across the above channels – effectively lead to net new acquisition.

As a performance marketer in the financial services space, how do you work with banks?

As a marketer, Anthony seeks guaranteed outcomes, particularly when it comes to ROI. He explains that affiliate marketing is one of the few digital channels that can provide guarantees for banks looking to drive new customers to their products. “We have 20 million+ consumers coming to our website per month who are searching for terms like ‘best savings accounts,’” he says. “We serve you up to these consumers who’ve raised their hands […] like a vertical search engine.”

Alana adds further to the value of performance marketing partnerships by sharing their strength and value from an SEO standpoint. By partnering with influencers and publishers in the space, it helps alleviate pressure on the bank to invest in resources to boost organic search and content marketing for lead generation.

Final Note on Digital Marketing for Your Bank

Larissa and Anthony both agree about the value of testing and learning. “Digital marketing is fun,” says Larissa. “If you have the budget to try new channels, why not? Experiment with new channels and partner with the right folks to make sure your goal is matched for that channel.”

Anthony also recommends getting in the game and not waiting for perfection. “We don’t have a perfect view of customer lifetime value,” he says, “but the truth of the matter is few do, even the largest banks.” He emphasizes that even if your analytics aren’t perfect, focus on providing enough data and analytics to get started because once you start, that’s where you can test, learn and grow.

These principles are key to ensuring you reach your banks goals and it continues in its growth journey. We’re excited for banks to incorporate some of these tips into your banking strategies for 2021. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Larissa, Anthony or Alana, please send us an email – Happy marketing!

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