11 April 2017 . 6 min read

Banking Sector: Marketing tools that you can bank upon

Your money doesn’t grow on trees…But it can surely grow in financial institutions like banks! The banking sector is the backbone of our economy. Thus, the importance of banks cannot be overstated. Count the number of ATM’s or banks in your locality and you will quickly get an idea about the competition in the banking sector. In addition to the government banks, we also have private and foreign banks. All these banks are trying to get the largest share of the market. So how should you differentiate your bank? Of course, with good products and services…but if that enough? Don’t you need some strategy to attract more prospects or cultivate a stronger relationship with the existing customers?

Marketing and advertising in banking sector started relatively late. Earlier, banks used to focus only on their operations. Slowly, they realised the importance of marketing and today, it has become a necessity. Rather it’s high time banks update their marketing tools. You might have observed nowadays, that lesser people walk up to your bank than before. They prefer mobile banking or go to an ATM for things like cash withdrawal or deposits. This means you get lesser chance for face-to-face interactions. You need to find out a way to connect with them on a personal level or you will lose them to competition.

Major banks have unleashed the power of video to stay in touch with their customers. Barclays understood the need to get up close and personal with the customers quite early and introduced UK’s first face-to-face video banking service. And was that enough? Not at all! They came forward to declare the new development and its benefits.

It is 2017 already! You cannot sit back and wait for the customers to come to you. Most of them have a fast-paced lifestyle and need all the information on their fingertips. They search information online, buy things online, invest online and carry out their transactions online. So you need to meet them there itself….on the internet. No doubt you have a provision for online banking…but what about attracting, engaging and enticing them?  

Bank of America decided to be there for its customers on a platform where they love to spend their time….Facebook! That was one of its kind service until other banks followed.  We cannot stress enough about the importance of social media presence. J P Morgan also shared a discussion about the social media revolution in communication.

Do you know that since last few years, the world has got the largest youth( aged 10 to 24 years) population ever? According to Goldman Sachs, the Millennial generation( born between 1980’s to 2000) is the largest in US history. These people are a huge potential market! To deal with this tech-savvy generation, your customer touch-points has to be mobile phones and the internet, which means more focus on social media, videos, mobile apps etc.

One of the major challenges you face in the banking sector is that most of the people do not understand your products or services properly. Some of them may not even know what’s right for them. You need to assess not just their present but future needs too and inform them that you are ready with the solutions. Leading banks make it a point to help the society by imparting knowledge. This is how they gain respect in the community. For instance, Bank of America launched Better Money Habits, in partnership with the Khan Academy to provide information on a wide range of topics related to finance. They also included explainer videos like Kick start to credit, How to know if you need to file a tax return etc.

These banks are neither selling their products directly nor producing serious videos on complex topics. They are just being good friends. The above video from Barclays gives you tips on how to save money through social media because they know that social media is the king of communication and viewers are closely associated with it.

Knowing your customers is the first step to effective marketing. One size fits all approach no longer works. Design your strategy according to the market segments you are targeting. You may focus on a particular income group, age group, gender etc. Understand what is more important for them, it may be regular income, education loan, retirement benefits or something else. Tailor your promotional content according to your target audience. For instance, share testimonials videos like, a housewife talking about how your bank helps her save, a senior citizen sharing his experience with your services etc. When your audience see someone like themselves satisfied with your products/services, they feel more assured and more curious to try-out your services.

Involving in community events gives your brand more visibility and adds a personal touch to your interactions. Set up booths at trade shows, auto fests, property shows, etc. Educate people about the various options available to them and how to make wise decisions. Recently, we came across J.P. Morgan Lounge at the SXSW 2017. You can also host or sponsor some events. Take some inspiration from the internationally acclaimed tennis tournament, the BNP Paribas Open and BNP Paribas International Hackathon.


It’s time to step out of your glass cabins and meet the people, show them the human side of your bank. Whether you running a campaign for a social cause or just for fun…make sure your prospects get a chance to see what you are up to.

People trust financial institutions like yours for tips, updates, advice and insights. So publish useful and updated content on your website, Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. Do not forget to use relevant hashtags on twitter (See how Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas do it). Your customers need convenience…and, it’s your duty to offer help.

Bank of America helped its customers by providing ATMs with a teller-assist during the extended business hours. Since that was just not enough, they came up with this pleasant video to explain how Bank of America understands that each customer is different and thus, gives them the liberty to make their own choices.

Regularly update your website and apps. They should be really interesting and easy to navigate. Provide interactive tools like an EMI calculator, branch locator etc. Videos are captivating, so they make your website-visitors stay longer and also increase your bank’s google ranking. Do we need to mention that all this should be compatible for mobile viewing?

Your employees are as important for your bank as your customers. They should know your products/services thoroughly. Train them using the most effective tools i.e. videos, apps and gamification. Teach them how to be the face of the company. This way they will be better equipped to attend your customers. Happy employees are your best advocates and here is how you can take their help you draw more talent:

Your bank has to be a lot more than its products/services, employees and target audience…it is a brand! It has built its own personality with its history, values, diversity, capabilities, social initiatives etc. Use corporate films to provide an overall picture of your institution in a classy and professional manner.

Banks that embrace new technologies always stand out and Virtual reality(VR) is a promising and fascinating technology. BNP Paribas predicts that this technology will reinvent customer relations in banking. The bank also thinks that sooner or later customers would meet employee-avatars during their virtual bank visits! This technology is already in use in the banking sector, especially for marketing purpose.

Citibank uploaded a 360-degree video for adding a new dimension to the “Citi Expert Panel discussion on Treasury Centralization.” As a result, the viewers got to experience something new..they felt like they are actually sitting in the audience! Similarly, Lloyds Bank is using VR to attract talent. A couple of years back, Wells Fargo had introduced people to VR as a part of its brand awareness drive.

Since you are reading this, you definitely want to take your bank to new heights. So, come forward with the new generation of marketing tools, virtual reality(VR) and augmented reality(AR). Let’s see how you can use AR:


Standard Chartered China had introduced Breeze Living long back. Axis Bank’s Near me section also leverages AR in a similar way. AR and VR are not being used much for banking operations, rather they are being utilized for increasing the brand awareness. WAVE by BNP Paribas is a mobile app that “enables users to explore the exhibition in a playful and lyrical way by bringing the poster and photos to life on their smartphones.”

So what are you bringing for your prospects? Some education content or promotional videos? Virtual reality or augmented reality? Or something even more innovative! Marketing alone cannot guarantee success and loyal customers, you need to deliver what you promise. These brilliant marketing tools paired with good service will surely establish you as a renowned bank. All the best!

 

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