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The pivotal role of technology in retail bank marketing communications

Posted by Sheera Eby on May 29, 2013

Mobile communications have become an essential element in our everyday lives. And bill and banking transactions being conducted via mobile devices have increased exponentially.


According to Aite Group, bills paid via mobile have increased 377% over the last 24 to 36 months. As retail banks continue to compete aggressively for their share of the consumer market, products such as mobile and online bill pay play a critical role in deepening that all-important relationship.

So how we can apply mobile and online trends in banking to the marketing communications mix?


Marketing programs should be optimized to consider the key interaction points across the total customer experience. Consideration needs to be given to all key behavioral touch points. These behavioral touchpoints that occur via online and mobile create opportunities that can help deepen customer relationships. Communications are now supplementing many of the lost touch points that occur as a result of fewer branch visits.


Here are a few key considerations that can shape how financial institutions evolve their marketing communication activities.


Make mobile a priority in your marketing communications mix.
Retail banking marketers need to treat mobile development as a point of entry and integrate it into to every step of their marketing communications campaigns. Remember, if it’s important to how your customers are interacting with your products, it is likely critical to the communications mix.

Today, 74% of mobile users rely on mobile devices to check email, and that percentage is steadily increasing. Businesses can no longer afford not to create the best experience possible for this large customer population. We’ve all suffered the frustration of trying to resize an email or web page on our phone to make it readable and workable. In fact, according to Google, 48% of mobile users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they visit a site that’s not mobile-friendly.1


One key question is, how will a mobile customer with a less than optimal experience impact your results? It is uncertain to what degree, but both logic and emotion suggest you will see a reduction in click-through rates for emails and conversions for landing pages. Check out our mobile ROI calculator to better understand potential foregone revenue.


Behaviorally marketing can help shape the best interaction points.
Banking marketers are migrating to rethinking about the best times to interact with their customers. In the past, there has been emphasis on focusing on vertical campaigns or lifestage marketing. “We’re going to promote online statements during this time period.” Now marketers are moving toward more of a customer-centric behaviorally driven marketing framework. Behaviorally marketing helps provide an optimal framework for delivering timely messages to banking customers when they are in the right mindset to receive these messages.


An example would be promoting a product to customers that have opened an email and abandoned a landing page. We know that these communications peaked the recipients’ interest enough to drive them to open an email, click through and visit a landing page. Like many decisions, it wasn’t something the customers were comfortable making a split-second decision on, so they abandoned. Following up with communications that are relevant and help overcome potential barriers is leveraging behavior to deliver meaningful and relevant communications.


Validation and personalization deliver credibility and relevancy.
Tech in retail #1Security is one the primary concerns customers have about their bank account. Marketing communications should follow that lead. J&C has found that by using simple techniques such as mentioning the financial institution name in the subject line of email, in addition to the friendly from, can increase the open rate significantly.

Personalization is another important factor in financially related communications. Customers are constantly paranoid about phishing scams and other erroneous emails getting into their inbox. It’s critical to consider how to ensure your communications are perceived as authentic and credible by the recipient. Additionally, it is getting more difficult to break through the clutter. It’s critical to think about ways to increase the relevancy of messaging, and not push out general mass communications.


Multichannel and measurement are here to stay.
Online and offline marketing communications, such as email, direct mail and landing pages, work better together than as stand-alone tactics. Retail banking consumers and businesses want to be sure they are making a sound decision, and understand the fine print. Trust and credibility become an important part of decision making. Fear, doubt and uncertainty play a critical role in moving decision makers to action. Once a user gets engaged they want to have an avenue to get to their answers questioned. Ensure landing pages, or personalized urls are provided to allow users a vehicle to get specific information without having to comb through all the content on a website.


According to BAI, Chase and Bank of America are now offering support services through twitter, but with an eye to better understanding the investment of social media. A recent study also showed that Bank of America had a 1:1 ratio between positive and negative comments.

Social media is becoming an important part of the marketing communications mix for financial institutions. We believe the next trend in social media is to leveraging it for better integration with other communications elements and begin to dissect its effectiveness from an ROI perspective. Social CRM will be the next generation.


Retail banking customer relationships are evolving with technology. Marketers have an opportunity to migrate their communications mix to deliver meaningful touch points that deepen the customer relationship delivering increased loyalty and revenue to the organization.



Topics: Digital Marketing

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