Bank Marketers Re-think Communication
Many bank marketers are re-evaluating the best way to communicate with customers, according to a recent survey by the Chief Marketing Officer Council.
With continuing media and regulatory scrutiny, respondents admit there is a need for greater customer reassurance. They recognize the need to use new digital media to engage, educate and inform in real-time, according to the CMO Council’s “Delivering Positive Impressions During Market Depressions.”
The survey showed that bank marketers recognize that customers need "both personal and virtual reassurance in times of uncertainty, and digital media offers real benefits in this regard," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. "However, almost half do not have formal strategies or programs in place for using digital media and mobile channels for real-time interaction and content delivery despite the unpredictable state of global financial markets."
Bank marketers need to study the competition, listen to customers and then make a business case for where and how they should embrace social, mobile, Web, eMedia and digital signage channels to be more agile, effective, personal and responsive in how they communicate with customers and prospects, Neale-May tells Marketing Daily.
The year-end survey of 120 marketers reveals that 87% report the current financial market turmoil is creating a difficult environment that is challenging them to reassure and more effectively communicate with their customers.
Adding to the pressure is less public trust and more skepticism as well as greater customer demand for information and contact. The majority of bank marketers surveyed (89%) say that customers have moderate, growing or high levels of anxiety about the state of their finances based on insights gleaned from customer behavior studies and engagement channels.
Only 19% of bank marketers believe they are doing a good job of leveraging the timeliness and value of digital media in their customer engagement programs. However, 82% expect to increase the adoption and use of new channels of content delivery, community, conversation and interaction.
They view digital media as offering lower production costs, quicker turnaround, better measurement and tracking, greater adaptability and versatility and more engaging and compelling content delivery.
Despite their insight to the contrary, less than half of bank marketers have formal strategies and contingency programs for handling customer concerns and increased information demands during times of financial market disruption and uncertainty.
Forty-nine percent either don’t have a program, or are scrambling to put it into place. In most cases, bank marketers are either allocating additional resources or adding new capabilities to deal with stepped up communications demands. Thirty-two percent say they have already done so, while 20% expect they will, according to the survey.
Human interaction still remains the preferred choice for bank customers when they have inquiries or concerns. Marketers say account relationship managers (54%), call centers (52%), and branch office visits (48%) are the most common way for bank customers to field requests or handle queries. Web sites (29%) and email (22%) are growing sources of inquiry and interaction, however, while mobile messaging (2%) is still in its infant stages in the U.S. market, according to the survey.
Bank marketers foresee a shift from print to digital media channels. And custom magazines, once a staple of customer relationship marketing, are being eclipsed by more cost-effective, sustainable and interactive rich media options.
Preferred ways of delivering brand marketing content today include Internet Web sites (76%), social media network pages and postings (47%), online or mobile video segments (41%), print magazines (39%) and online communities and affinity groups (31%), according to the survey.