Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Channels to Engage with Bank & Credit Union Clients

Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Channels to Engage with Bank & Credit Union Clients

From in-branch to digital: financial institution marketers need to adjust their digital marketing channels to engage with bank and credit union clients

The move from a brick and mortar engagement to a digital marketing channel strategy is not new to anyone. Pre-COVID 19 it had been driven primarily due to changes in regulatory requirements and compliance.  The pace at which banks and credit unions are being forced to act in 2020, however, is unprecedented. In a few short months, the way in which consumers complete financial tasks has fundamentally changed.  As a financial institution marketer, your job has just become more challenging. You now need to adjust the way you bring your solutions to the market: a shift from in-branch to digital, all without reducing leads and usually with a lower budget.

The expectation of your clients is evolving as well – consumers expect easy, simple, contextual assistance from their service providers that makes sense for them.  As a marketer and with empathy for other marketers, I’ve created my list of the top three things to consider for the coming quarters to ensure you’re getting your channel mix right: 

  1. Refine your client and prospect’s digital journeys based on their buyer personas
  2. Build out your tech stack to evaluate and then drive digital channel performance
  3. Use the top of your demand funnel to drive awareness and education

Refine your digital marketing channels based on buyer personas

Financial institution marketers need to understand their funnel in order to optimize it – do you know how many meetings each branch is making with your Financial Advisors? How are those clients being reminded of upcoming appointments? How can your prospects easily get more information about the services you offer through a video call? How can you speed up the path from email to a new credit card being opened?

You’ll need to review and redesign your client and prospect’s digital journey to one that truly provides them with a differentiated banking experience – UX design and consistent messaging, regardless of channel, ensures a higher engagement and a better experience. But it’s not just about the branded, slick wrapping around the journey – the actual tasks and steps that your customers and staff must take in order to complete that journey must hold up as well. 

For example, review how a prospect would find information on opening up a new business account on your website – what do the steps look like compared to what the experience is within your mobile app? How’s about at a branch? What about if they were to call into your contact centre? Consider if this is a solution that can be primarily supported via digital channels, instead of in person – how simple is it to do the required action online

And finally, how do you capture the behaviour and analytics of these journeys to determine which digital marketing channels are driving the activities that end with services being sold? At the end of the day, everything a marketer does should help with either controlling costs, increasing revenue or both.

Build a tech stack to help digital marketing channel performance

The traditional heavy focus on in-branch experience, and the marketing initiatives to support those journeys, has been cranked down while the shift to digital has grown literally overnight. A McKinsey report states that “the correlation between branch scale and deposit growth has weakened since 2007” with the top 25 US banks experiencing a 210% increase in deposits since 2008, while concurrently reducing branches by 15%. A key reason behind this divergence is that customers are becoming increasingly comfortable in interacting with their banks and credit unions from afar using their mobile device or online. 

Which actually is a good thing for banks and credit unions: digital sales are typically cheaper – lower overhead, quicker scaling and easier tracking of the buyer journey. The issue is that a healthy portion of customers (40-50% of consumers in North America) aren’t yet comfortable with the idea of banking online. That means that a combined effort from marketing, sales and customer service is needed to help these averse clients become more comfortable with the future of banking. Especially now, due to COVID19. Guidelines and public health requirements have forced every financial institution to determine how they can support ‘distance banking’, while still meeting their revenue goals. 

The good news is that tracking the success of marketing campaigns digitally is becoming easier and easier – with tools like Hubspot, Google Analytics and leveraging data from resources such as Coconut Software, marketers can see each step the client and prospect takes through their financial buying journey. Each of these engagements captures the behaviour of the individual which can then be shared across your organization’s business units to get a better picture of how that individual wants to bank, and where you can assist. 

Build your top of funnel to educate your bank and credit union prospects and clients

When we think about a demand funnel, the top is generally the brand awareness and education part. Financial institution marketers would be well served to use this part of the buyer journey to educate your prospects and clients on what services you provide – Coconut recently sponsored a report with Future Branches that found that:

  • Nearly 60% of consumers feel they know all of the services their bank or credit union offers
  • But 41% don’t know what their financial institution can help them with

It’s clear that banks and credit unions need to do a better job educating their clients and prospects on the value that they bring, especially when compared to the other options available to them. By showcasing how simple and frankly enjoyable doing business with your financial institution can be (for example with a mobile app that shares contextual ads based on purchasing history, or providing online appointment booking or online queuing), you’re able to capture engagement quickly and funnel it to the right next steps. 

Proactive campaigns on financial literacy or new regulations based on pandemic programs launched to highly segmented audiences means that you are positioning your institution as a thought leader partner, an engaged value provider, and a business that understands individual’s needs. The perfect combination for higher retention and better revenues.


With the quick change in sales mix from primarily in-branch to digital, marketers need to prove their value, and why their marketing budgets shouldn’t be cut as part of larger cost savings measures. By demonstrating refining digital marketing channel strategy based on buyer personas, creating a tech stack to help measure performance and educating your bank and credit union clients and prospects, you’ll help capture engagement and drive business goals. 

If you don’t already, I’d recommend following Future Branches for their conferences and Financial Brands for their thought leadership. Registering for their ongoing webinars and downloading the “State of Financial Marketers Report” for other perspectives on how we as marketers need to adjust to the appointment economy we now find ourselves and our target audience in. Finally, consider investing in a solution like Coconut Software to help engage with your clients and prospects – quickly book appointments, streamline your lobby and visitor management, and equip your contact centre associates with the tool they need to drive revenue driving meetings. Contact us for more information.

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