By Griffin McGahey
EEffective bank marketing is no longer done solely through discounts and promotions on the web, social media, TV and radio ads. The real marketing experience is in the customer journey across the branch, including account sign-up, digital and in-branch engagement, and print and digital materials. The transition to all-digital banking is a permanent change in behavior.
An often overlooked area of opportunity for investing in digital transformations is the delivery of statements and opinions. Statements and notices are one of the few remaining physical channels where bankers can take advantage of direct communication.
Statements improve marketing ability
TotalExpert’s 2021 State of Financial Marketing report found that 64% of bankers said outdated or disconnected data was the biggest barrier to improving the customer experience. However, bankers are already building their statements using customer data that can provide the most meaningful insights for marketing.
Salesforce’s 2021 State of Marketing Report found that the five most popular sources of data insights (ranked by all marketers) were:
- Known digital identities
- Transactional data
- Declared interests and preferences
- Second party data
- Inferred interests and preferences.
These sources reflect the growing pressure on marketers to collect as much first-party data as possible. Regulatory changes and the inability to use third-party cookies on many consumer browsers have increased this pressure.
Declarations are already drawing much of this data. They include transactional data containing the account balance and type. They also include other important data, such as location. Banking CRMs can pull preferences and credentials offline.
This data also facilitates personalization and targeting, which is one of the most effective ways to improve marketing messages. Bank marketers should use these tools in campaigns to track cross-selling and up-selling efforts. Digital statements also offer the advantage of allowing bankers to run multiple campaigns per statement cycle. The ability to easily create A/B tests and track readership, open rates, and actions can help banks collect more of the data they need to refine their offerings and customer journey.
Improved digital statement infrastructure
There are key ways bankers can ensure success when striving to convert their customers to digital statements and notices.
Bankers can place the links to register at the forefront of the website and mobile app to make it easier for customers. The digital registration process should be simple. Make it easy and clear which digital statements customers can sign up for and ensure emails and confirmation messages contain the necessary links to manage online statements.
Bank marketers also need to ensure that digital statements appear consistent with printed statements. Refer to statement redesign design best practices to better communicate critical notifications to your customers. Electronic statements on the digital platform that look unsophisticated and lack consistency in design leave a bad impression on customers.
For customers who prefer to continue to receive paper statements, help them bridge the digital divide. QR codes can be used to direct customers to special promotions and invoice scanning technology can enable electronic payments. These and other creative options provide a way to bridge print and digital channels and deliver a strong customer experience with traditional communication channels.
Provide an innovative reporting experience
Digital statements and notices provide a great opportunity to take advantage of the dynamic possibilities of online interactions. Digital statements and notices may contain links, use color for clear captions, and include more space for additional tables and charts.
Color is one of the best ways to draw attention to key marketing messages and reinforce a brand. Research has found that consumers react strongly to “color suitability”. The right color highlights your brand personality, but should be used strategically so as not to overwhelm the customer. Colors should complement and reinforce existing branding, such as your logo. Contrasting colors can be used to draw attention to important parts of the statement.
Digital statements should also clearly identify customer touch points. The temptation is to see the unlimited “paper space” of a digital statement and fill it as much as possible. Even in a digital world, customers will respond to clean design and proper use of white space.
When designing statements, keep the three most important factors in mind:
- The statement must be useful. Does it make it quick and easy to find the information you need?
- The statement must be clear. Does it look attractive?
- The statement must demonstrate care. Does it let customers know that the bank knows them, has their best financial interests at heart, and can offer advice on how to achieve those goals?
Digital statements should reflect the fact that customers prefer single-line details for transactional data. This allows the bank to communicate all the necessary information in less space, thus improving the user experience.
Statements are often an overlooked facet of a marketing program. However, Xerox data shows that 95% of customers open and scan their printed statements. Our information shows that 52% of digital statements are opened and viewed. Banks would be well advised to assess how they can best utilize these critical and necessary communications to improve marketing and customer experience.
As more customers move their financial experiences entirely online, banks also have a great opportunity to transition more customers to e-statements. This will not only save money on printing, but will also help the bank communicate better with its customers by maximizing the inherent benefits of digital communications: data, tracking and design.
Griffin McGahey is president of HC3, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company that manages complex data to help financial institutions communicate with their customers. He can also be reached on LinkedIn.