How Banks Can Win Through Creative Marketing

Banks face a significant marketing challenge. Long valued as steady, reliable institutions, they need to show consumers today that they can be innovative organizations as well. 

Ask most people what they think about banking, and they’ll say that it’s a necessary service, but one that hasn’t really changed much through the years.

That perception is slowly changing, however, thanks in part to clever marketing and advertising on behalf of financial institutions.

Let’s review two creative marketing campaigns that paint the banking industry in a different light, and see what actionable lessons can be drawn.

It’s payback time!

Ally Bank is a pioneer in the online banking sector — and it used this status to full effect in a recent ad campaign. The campaign played on classic tropes involving banking and subverted audience expectations to spark interest and engagement.

Called “It’s Payback Time,” the initiative kicked off with a TV ad that used classic bank robbery imagery and ominous music. There’s a twist, however: In this ad, the bank robbers are the banks, and the victims are their customers.

Ally’s ad points out that banks historically have earned billions in interest payments by holding consumer cash. Ally calls this robbery and provides compensation in the form of a 1% interest payment offered on all online accounts.

It’s a clever reversal of a classic bank robbery theme. Yet more than that, it draws consumer attention to the fact that banks are profiting immensely by holding their money — and charging them for the privilege.

Ally supplemented the first ad with a second, long-form video. This advertisement took a comical “man on the street” approach, with an extremely energetic interviewer handing out money and explaining the campaign to people passing by. 

He points out repeatedly that in-person service at a bank is overrated — and pales in comparison to the prospect of earning cash for your deposits, rather than paying banks to sit on your funds.

Ally knows that getting a return on their money is a major motivator for consumers — and these ads are engaging (and pointed) enough to move people into the prospect funnel.

Skip the ads and show them programs

Advertisers must always contend with an eternal truth: Most consumers don’t want to engage with their creative work. There are two ways to solve this. You can create ads that are compelling and relevant enough to grab their attention anyway, or you can disguise your ad in a more palatable form.

Renasant Bank opted for the latter approach. Instead of focusing solely on conventional ads and marketing, they choose to transform into a media production studio. The bank, which has roughly 200 locations, creates original programming distributed across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms.

This programming includes three distinct shows: “Building Us with Tera and Wes,” an HGTV-style remodeling show “Crafted,” which spotlights local small businesses, and “Bootstrappers,” which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs with products and services that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.

By offering relevant local programming (and leveraging advanced tools such as geo-fencing and real-time monitoring and tracking), Renasant is connecting with audiences on a deeper and more meaningful level.

All shows created by Renasant are short enough to sustain attention and have enough production quality to appear professional. More importantly, the concept behind each show is very on-trend (something that helps attract audiences) and ultimately can be tied back to the services offered by the bank.

Obviously, creating a mini-production studio requires committing significant resources. Yet Renasant’s efforts are paying off. The bank’s shows received nearly 10 million views in a single year and created numerous cross-promotional marketing opportunities.

The takeaway

At Bigeye, we believe that banks can update their image to show that they’re both dependable and dynamic. With the help of the right agency and the buzz produced by creative campaigns like those executed for Ally and Renasant, financial institutions can reach a larger audience and grow their customer base.

Contact us today to learn more about how we handle campaign creation and development and to get details on our full stack of marketing services.

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Top Strategies for Credit Union Marketers in 2020

While credit unions are almost universally admired, many consumers are still unclear on their benefits. Here’s what credit union marketers need to know.

Credit union marketing comes with a significant built-in advantage: Most consumers are predisposed to like and trust credit unions. This, in turn, means they are primed for smart marketing and advertising messages. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective strategies credit union marketers can use to connect with audiences.

Hammer Home the Core Credit Union Value Proposition

Credit unions are (correctly) perceived as less commercial than banks. This makes them inherently more trustworthy in the eyes of consumers. Credit unions, by virtue of their design, also offer consumers a range of benefits that most banks can’t match (cost, accessibility, etc.). This is an incredibly strong value proposition for most people. 

Credit union marketing campaigns should therefore place a strong emphasis on the distinction between banks and credit unions and the many advantages consumers receive by opting for the latter.

Help Consumers Break Free from Inertia

Marketers should also consider the reasons why people don’t automatically opt for a credit union, even given the benefits involved. In many cases, the answer is simple inertia. 

Let’s be frank: Inertia and procrastination are powerful forces. Most of us have to power through our natural inclination to put things off, or maintain the status quo. Bank consumers are no different — and that’s why smart credit union marketers design campaigns with this in mind.

Think about how you can incentivize bank consumers to make the switch, whether it’s by using special limited time offers or creating an easier way to sign up.

Don’t Let Banks Win on Technology

Credit unions own roughly 14% of the Baby Boomer demographic and are doing almost as well with Generation X.  However, credit unions are lagging with millennials and members of Gen Z.

Why? Part of it is attributable to technology. Banks are farther ahead on the digitalization curve, and younger consumers demand digital-first solutions. In order to stay competitive, credit unions need to target younger consumers. 

This means staying competitive in terms of technology, and using credit union marketing and advertising campaigns to raise awareness of these efforts.

Credit unions are largely viewed as trustworthy and a good deal for consumers, yet they are also sometimes perceived as less than cutting edge. Marketers need to do their part to counteract this perception of stodginess and slow innovation.

Segment Your Audience and Reach Them with Targeted Messages

We just covered younger consumers and technology — now it’s time to talk about older consumers and their desires. By using market research, demographic profiling, and programmatic advertising tools, credit union marketers can segment their audiences and reach them with highly targeted and relevant messages.

In the case of the credit union’s most loyal consumer category (Baby Boomers), these messages should be calibrated to focus on the aspects of the credit union model that most appeal to them: Namely, cost and accessibility.

Studies have shown that older credit union members visit their branches much more frequently than bank consumers do. In an era where banks are relentlessly automating and scaling back the human touch, credit union marketers can draw a powerful distinction between that approach and their own more accessible, community-minded model.

The Takeaway

Credit unions have a powerful value proposition that banks can’t match. Yet they also have their own challenges, particularly with younger consumers. By following the strategies outlined above, credit union marketers can create well-executed strategies that help convince consumers to make a change, or become even more loyal.

At BIGEYE, we specialize in forward-thinking, tech-enabled credit union marketing campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about what our marketing strategies can do for your credit union.

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How Can Small Banks Compete Against Large Banks? Supercharged SEO

Supercharge your SEO services and launch your community bank into the future with these key digital marketing strategies and concepts.

The banking industry has been consolidating for 30 years, dropping from 14,000 banks in 1985 to fewer than 5,000 today. With smaller players being swallowed by industry heavyweights, it’s natural for community banks to wonder how well they can compete against national lenders. Fortunately, there’s one simple tactic that can help even the playing field: Well-executed SEO services grounded in a deep understanding of local buyers.

How community banks can gain an SEO edge

Community banks are, at their core, local businesses. While they might not be capitalized at the level of the big banks, they can instead compete on responsiveness and understanding of the local market.

A local SEO strategy also pays dividends. Banks should give each of their local branches a dedicated web page rather than having each branch listed through a simple location finder. These pages should include information about each branch and its neighborhood and should be optimized for SEO. This means taking commonly searched phrases relating to banking in that area and incorporating them into the body and metadata of branch pages.

The power of the public’s endorsement

Adding customer reviews for each local branch to individual pages is also a smart tactic. Reviews play a critical role in establishing credibility and are a key cog in the conversion process.

This also extends to external entities such as Yelp! and other directories. Establishing a presence on these outside sites does more than allowing you to bump your online review count. Sites such as Yelp! validate your bank’s address, phone number, and name with Google’s search algorithm, giving your site a rankings boost. Linking with high authority publishers is also key. Inbound links coming from high authority publishers is perhaps the most consistently effective tactic in the SEO playbook.

Staying on top of local search terms

It’s also critical to give extensive thought to the kind of questions prospective customers are searching for in your region — everything from “how to open a checking account” to “nearest bank to me.”

These are the kind of questions for which community banks want to rank, so it’s important that they are addressed somewhere within your online presence. You can address them both on your sites and within the content you publish.

Stressing your competitive advantages

Community banks should play to their strengths when marketing. Larger banks tend to be viewed as faceless monoliths who treat their customers like a number on a spreadsheet. Community banks, on the other hand, are in a position to establish personal relationships by properly utilizing SEO services.

This may not affect whether a customer qualifies for a loan, but it does impact how customers feel about their experience. Community banks should underline the closer, more responsive nature of their relationships with customers in their marketing messages.

The takeaway

Small banks can neutralize the advantages of larger competitors by highlighting the benefits of a more personal approach and pursuing a smart SEO strategy. If you’d like to hear more about the impact of high-level SEO services, reach out to our banking experts today.

How to Build Trust Through Community Bank Marketing

Leverage the unique opportunities of a small bank to drive effective community bank marketing strategies that will turn your small branch into big business.

Many agencies and marketers like to think that finance is a big mystery—an animal all its own with completely different rules. In some ways it is, but in most ways, it isn’t. Effective branding gains attention and keeps it; just like it does in every other industry. Community bank marketing is very similar to small business marketing, it just calls for a more sophisticated twist.
Here are 3 key concepts for building trust in small banks:

1. Get personal, to an extent

Small banks have the unique opportunity to build strong interpersonal relationships. To not just become a brand or company name, but to become Sammy, the helpful man at the front desk, who can help you get what you need. He knows your name and asks about your son’s baseball games.

Let empathy drive your services so that your consumers feel valued. Show them directly how your customer relations can brighten their day while your services exceed every expectation. Leveraging expertise and friendly service, you can turn your brand into a mentor for each and every customer.

Find an agency that understands the delicate differentiators’ in voice and branding to craft the perfect balance for your community. Drive real results with community bank marketing that cares just the right amount.

2. Leverage digital effectively

Digital is invaluable to community bank marketing because it’s a great way to establish one-on-one interaction and build strong relationships. Digital marketing for banks works a lot like digital marketing for anyone else but should be held to a higher standard. For example, a clothing company or salon should have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts; while banks should be on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but never Instagram. It’s just too casual.

The right digital strategy in banking is all about finding your line of sophistication and building that ever-important trust. Use digital in conjunction with strong branding to build effective consumer relationships. Post community views and common local phrases to evoke nostalgia and build understanding. Using effective bank marketing strategies, your brand can become a community pillar.

Represent your brand as a member of the community and follow through. Post photos and short videos of the front office team to build a connection before a customer even sets foot through your doors. Show the management team doing community service and attending local events, embody your brand through human interaction. Demonstrate a neighborly connection to develop a real personality.

3. Embrace ever-evolving technology

Maneuverability is a great advantage that small banks have over large institutions. Every day enhanced technology is being developed in all aspects of every industry—including banking. Due to the security necessary throughout the banking process, it can take years to implement any one new process across an entire large bank. For a community bank, that same process can take just a few months.

Incorporate cutting edge technologies into your services to provide convenience as well as modernity for your customers. Leverage your agility and technological know-how in your brand’s bank marketing ideas. This will draw in young consumers looking for a better way to the bank as well as the older markets that simply enjoy the advantages offered by new technologies.

More than a novelty, technology can cut your company’s operational costs while allowing for more personal service. Incorporating a one-on-one, on-demand experience for consumers to interact with your brand without having to walk in. Utilize effective customer service in combination with technology to add value to your services. Remember, it’s nice to like your bankers but your bottom-line is built on trust, experience, and results.

The takeaway

Small banks have a lot more going for them than meets the eye. Make sure your brand’s target audience understands all that your company brings to the table through genuine connection built the right way, digital that effectively reaches consumers and furthers that connection, and unique offerings that only smaller institutions can accomplish.

It can be a lot to manage yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an advertising agency that understands the demands, opportunities, and limitations that your company faces. When you’re ready to market your bank on the next level, get in touch with our community bank marketing professionals.

How to Effectively Optimize Your Credit Union Marketing

Similar to that of banks and financing in general, the key to credit union marketing is to always be human and treat your consumers the same.

Anyone looking to craft an effective credit union marketing plan first needs to understand the institutions themselves. So, let’s go over what sets credit unions apart from banks. Every person with an account at a credit union is, in part, an owner. This helps to ensure that each decision and investment is made in the best interest of the customers and not some third-party stakeholder.
Leveraging the internal strengths of a credit union, your branding can empower consumers and employees alike. Ultimately turning them into brand advocates. Let’s take a look at some of the unique aspects that effective credit union marketing should emphasize.

1. People-focused

Credit unions are inherently user-focused, as explained. This creates a huge opportunity for creating strong consumer relationships. Humanize your credit union from the inside out by bringing current users together. Plan appreciation events or giveaways to give consumers something to bond over and tell others about. Credit union marketing is about making every participant happy. Loyalty comes from the little things.

2. Lead the charge

Everyone likes to be a part of something. As a credit union, you’re already part of a team, but you need to become the leader. Start the conversation on financing and credit score tips, saving money, or something newsworthy to inform and help out your target market as well as existing customers.

Get active in the shared community, current events, and social movements to get connected to your audience in the genuine, personal way that only credit unions can.

3. Show reinvestment

Credit unions are by the people, for the people. One person’s deposit becomes the next person’s loan, make that known. Your credit union marketing agency should make every part-owner understand the part they play in helping each other. This will build loyalty and a feeling of being part of something bigger. This mentality is a huge draw for Millennial, Gen Z, and Gen X audiences. It can also turn current members into strong brand advocates.

With the more friendly and casual nature of a credit union, you already have a great foundation for building strong consumer relationships. The lack of stakeholders provides a unique opportunity for personalized interaction as well as incredibly low rates. Effective marketing for credit unions build your brand with a relatable personality.

4. Stand for something

Unlike big banks, credit unions are just as the name suggests—a union. This allows you to take a stand, putting your voice proudly behind a local cause. Get the community activated around a mutual concern to show that you’re more than just talk.

Every member is an owner, show them what that sort of power can look like, and the difference each person can make. Effective credit union marketing should address an issue that matters to your target market. This helps to humanize your brand and strengthen the team that makes up your business.

5. Get grass-roots

Capitalize on the audience you have to get your brand making headlines. Big community events and pay-it-forward initiatives engage your audience in fun, effective ways that make a big splash. More than brand recognition and awareness, done right, these events make your target market wish they could be a part of your brand so that they could participate too. Getting the community energized, showcasing your brand, and driving headlines focused on initiatives can make a huge difference.

6. Give them what they want

Convenience. While credit unions aren’t run like banks, baking technology can be incredibly effective. Let your consumers manage their accounts on mobile and offer free downloadable tools such as tip calculators, budgeting apps, and loan calculators to make each member feel taken care of. While credit union management is made up of customers, every part-owner should still feel like a customer.

The takeaway

When it comes to credit union marketing, it’s all about being human inside and out. Focus on showing off internal strengths through people-focused communications, establishing your brand as a community leader, and being transparent with the credit union business model.

Then take full advantage of external opportunities by taking a social stand, engaging with the community on a personal level, and providing convenient banking technologies to really set your company apart. When you’re ready to step up your credit union marketing, reach out to our banking professionals.

5 Things Consumers Are Looking for in Banking Services

Want people to bank with you? Appeal to your audience by teaming up with a financial services marketing agency that understands the banking world.

Finance is not boring. Complex maybe, but useful and all-encompassing. To get through to your consumers in this saturated market there’s a lot that banks can do to stand out. Some are merging and others offer incentives, but how much does a one-time deal or big banking matter to customers?
As a financial services marketing agency, we’ve narrowed down the 5 things today’s consumers look for in a bank, so let’s dive in.

1. Security

So, this one’s pretty obvious. Everyone wants their money to be safe. But as technology evolves, so does the definition of secure. It’s no longer enough to have a big impressive vault—you need big impressive coding, too.

In a recent study by the Global Web Index, it was found that 34% of millennials and 36% of gen X believe that biometrics make transactions more secure. Coincidentally, you should be marketing to millennials for financial services as they are the generation that is most likely to switch banks within the next year.

These details matter, and when it comes to the marketing of financial services, adding something simple like a fingerprint scanner can make all the difference.

2. Clarity

It should come as no big shock to you that consumers today put a high premium on transparency. But that’s not all that today’s adults want. Your customers aren’t looking for you to just be open—they want you to be clear, understandable. Cut the jargon out of your communications while providing the educational tools for your customers to learn those terms anyway.

Explain to them what they should do, then give them the tools to come to that same conclusion themselves. The more your financial marketing company can add value to your services with things like financial advice, online financial glossaries, and even courses and webinars, the more your consumers will value your services. Providing substantive tools and insightful advice in clear, easily digestible segments will set your bank apart.

Teaching your consumers how to figure it out themselves next time does even more. Learning tools build trust, keeping your customers happy while enticing some new ones to come on in and see what all the fuss is about.

3. Technology

You may think we’re just telling you that your consumers like new, shiny things, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Today’s consumers expect instant gratification and thrive on the power to make every change at their fingertips. Give your consumers intuitive apps, online tools, and easy-to-understand interfaces that deliver what they want—convenience. It may seem counterintuitive, but the less your consumers have to see you, the more they’ll like you.

Your financial services marketing agency should know that everything in today’s world is instant, digital, and busy. Your customers don’t want to have to walk in or find an ATM to get to their funds—they want it available whenever and wherever they are. Your customers already work hard to earn their money, don’t make them work harder to use it.

4. Future planning

Here’s where things get a bit deeper. A lot of millennials and gen X have never taken courses in budgeting or balancing a checkbook. Making your services easy to use only gets them halfway there. They want to budget for their future, to save up for personal goals and your app should help them get there.

There are a handful of apps available that help consumers plan and take charge of their budget, but there is a unique opportunity in offering this service as their bank. You already have their trust and the expertise they are looking for. Building on that, by providing budgeting tools you add value to your services, building brand loyalty and increasing customer satisfaction.

5. Integration

Here’s where it all comes together. Now that you’ve got all those tools, biometric locks, financial learning, cutting edge technology, and budgeting capabilities, your consumers will want to be able to use it all together. Paying for the things they want through your secure servers with their biometric approval right from the app. Receiving notifications on budget categories that are nearing their spending caps. Gaining virtual gold stars or actual awards for reaching goals set through earning and planning features within the app.

By adding all these assets to your services, and letting them meld and cross-reference seamlessly you show your consumers what you can do for them. Combining your expertise with their daily lifestyle, you build relationships and loyalty that will pay for itself 10-fold.

When you boil it down, today’s consumers don’t care how big your bank is or how many ATMs you’ve got globally. As a financial services marketing agency, you should let your consumers know what you can do for them conveniently, quickly, and reliably. By offering the most secure, cutting edge services along with easily understandable communications, learning tools, and seamless integration, you can make yourself the most useful bank without needing to be the biggest.

Recently, SunTrust and BB&T announced their merger. While that strengthens their standing and allows them more resources to devote to service, it will also be hard to manage all that comes with being the sixth-largest US bank. Only time will tell how this move will play out. In the meantime, the changes suggested above will strengthen your brand standing and help your bank stand out.

The takeaway

As a financial services marketing agency, BIGEYE believes your services are what should shine, no matter your size. If you want to learn more about how our services will help build your consumer base without breaking the bank, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.