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Proven Ways to Attract, Activate, and Grow Banking Relationships [Webinar Recap]

Cayla Wedemeyer

Cayla Wedemeyer

Senior Marketing Coordinator
  • Last Updated: October 22, 2023

In This Article

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In this article

We’ve recapped some of the key takeaways from our recent webinar where winning strategies were shared by experts from all corners of financial services.

A big thanks to everyone who attended our webinar: The Proven Way to Attract, Activate, and Grow Banking Relationships. Special thanks to the team at Digital Onboarding for hosting an event where learnings could be shared by experts from all corners of financial services:

Our experts discussed their common pain points in wrestling to build primary banking relationships, and solutions that financial institutions (FIs) can employ at the top, middle, and bottom of the marketing funnel.

In case you missed the live chat, here’s a replay and recap of all the major takeaways.

Banks and credit unions might not be spending enough on digital marketing

Jen reported that the average bank and credit union spend about 12% of their overall marketing budget on digital marketing – lagging far behind other industries that spend 29% on marketing technology (martech) software alone. Having said that, she also noted that some digitally forward FIs are spending approximately 20% or more of their budget on digital marketing.

There’s no “golden ratio” for how FIs are allocating their marketing budget

When it comes to how those budgets are allocated between brand and product marketing, Alana often hears divergent answers from banks. “[I’ve heard] one banker say they spend 10% on product and 90% on brand, while another admitted to spending 90% on product and 10% on brand,” she said. “It’s interesting to hear them explain it and determine what the ‘golden ratio’ is.”

Data-driven proof is key to winning bigger marketing budgets

John said that if you’re looking to raise your digital spending, executive buy-in is essential: “You have to be able to prove how digital marketing is a meaningful investment and not just a cost center.” Jen agreed that it’s important to identify how marketing tactics will drive growth, noting that it starts with clearly articulating its value to leadership.

“It’s super important for marketers to have a seat at the table,” she emphasized, noting that it’s imperative for marketing leaders to be present when management and executives are determining business strategies.

Once you have their attention, Alana notes that the data-oriented around new customers is one of the most powerful pieces in your arsenal. “It’s about how much it’s actually resulting in real customers,” she explains. “[Make sure] you can measure across every stage of the customer journey and connect the dots. That’s how you make your marketing team a profit center.”

It’s not just about customers: consider how digital marketing affects your broader team

Aside from executive buy-in, you might face pushback from other departments who are wary of what it means for them in their own roles.

Alana observed that those fears are sometimes rooted in uncertainty: they’re unsure of how to replicate their successful in-person relationships into digital channels. Her recommendation to address that uncertainty: establish control centers that determine standards and processes around digital to bring together the rest of the company.

Jen pointed out how important it is for the internal teams to be well-versed in digital tools so they can take advantage of the ROI they provide. “With the right digital understanding, you can prevent them from falling back to traditional marketing tactics that [may have lesser] results,” she observed.

Prioritize marketing channels that have a measurable impact

The group agreed that measurable, bottom-line impact is key for effective marketing strategies, and Alana noted that some channels are easier to measure than others.

She explained that affiliate marketing is one channel where it’s clear-cut that marketing spend directly results in new customers. Rather than paying for impressions or clicks, FIs pay only for new customers driven by publishers and influencer partners.

In that sense, the risk of spending is low while the opportunity to experiment and glean new customer insights (through influencer partners) is high. “If you can allocate even just 10% of your digital budget,” she said, “it’s a great channel to test and learn.”

Other takeaways from the discussion

Here are a few more takeaways from the discussion that were noteworthy:

  • Marketers must focus on meaningful metrics to demonstrate the highest level of value to their leaders.
  • Traditional tactics might feel safer and more familiar, but it’s important to prioritize new tactics that feed into long-term ROI.
  • Focus on the product: ensure you don’t have a leaky bucket. Once the conversion engine is strong, fill it up with marketing dollars that can win you new relationships.
  • Personalization should be part of your winning strategy – and that can’t be possible without the right tools and data.
  • Go beyond the first transaction: ask your customers open-ended questions. You might be surprised by what you hear and what could end up pivoting your strategies.
  • If it’s difficult to measure ROI, invest in solving that problem first.

Finally, when it comes to ROI Alana notes the importance of getting to the root of in an issue before your marketing can grow. “You can’t solve a problem that you haven’t really defined,” Alana explained. “Once you identify the issues with marketing] intelligence within your organization, then you can address it with a plan so that you can keep your marketing efforts growing.”

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