Last week I was in Nashville with Vya’s Kandi O’Connor and Tracy McIntosh attending the ABA Bank Marketing Conference 2016 – a terrific event for bank marketers to zero in on the latest trends in digital marketing, branding and customer engagement.
Speaker Kimberly Capps, COO of Southern Bank, perfectly captured the overall spirit of the event when she shared this quote by Jeff Yabuki: “The only thing moving faster than technology is customer expectations.”
More than ever, bank marketers are challenged to keep pace with technology and customers. Our team came away from the event with plenty to consider—for Vya and our bank marketing clients. Here are some of our top takeaways from Nashville.
Millennials are an attractive segment – learn how to connect with them.
Though some claim that Millennials don’t have any money, speaker Dave DeFazio of StrategyCorps said that’s just not true. Instead of writing off this market segment, it’s advisable to take a closer look at how they are engaging with banks and fintech. DeFazio pointed out that while only 10% of consumers switch their primary checking account, among Millennials, the percentage jumps to 18%, and technology is a key reason they switch. The lesson here: if you can excel at the technology you can capture Millennial business.
Even if you disagree with DeFazio, it is hard to argue the point made by ABA President Rob Nichols, who emphasized Millennials are poised to inherit a lot of money. So if you think they don’t have money now, they will surely be wealth management clients in the future.
Technology is central – not peripheral – to the customer experience.
The industry is losing the moment (and brand impressions) at the point of sale, as more and more transactions go mobile and electronic. Consumers are no longer pulling out their physical cards when making a purchase. The disruptors may be winning, but the game is not over. Banks need to get serious about embracing a tech-forward strategy.
Courses of action.
A number of speakers offered some recommendations and tactical directions for moving forward, including:
- Manage attrition. Christopher Barnes of Market Strategies International reported that 50% of attrition is controlled by the banking institution. He went on to point out that the most frequent touches with the consumer are not by marketing.
In a separate session, VP of Global Media & Insights for Jack Daniels/ Brown-Forman, Jason Loehr emphasized, “Everybody in the company needs to be on board and be a steward of the brand.” And brand consistency is key. Be mindful of all customer touchpoints to better manage attrition. This relates to the next action category – employees and social media.
- Social channels can be a vehicle for employees to be a personal representation of the brand. Debra Jasper, Founder and CEO of Mindset Digital, addressed this topic explaining that to be a leader in the digital age you need to be a digitally savvy leader. Employees’ social presence should be personable. But remember, casual does not mean careless.
- Define and communicate your brand story. Jason Loehr pointed out that banks are in a unique position to be able to write stories about how they are impacting their customers’ lives and their communities. He advised attendees to make sure what you are sharing is “thumbstopping.” Brand consistency is also critical. He recommended this measure: if you cover the logo, can your brand still be recognized?
- Reinvent your branches. Southern Bank’s Kimberly Capps walked attendees through her bank’s approach to reinventing its branches. Ultimately some teller functions were reassigned to the call center, some were reassigned to the back office. Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) were installed in the drive-throughs, enabling live video interactions with remote tellers. The staff in the branches are now personal bankers and are able to represent a wider variety of products and provide a higher level of service. Local associates are expected to do community outreach marketing to build relationships with their local communities.
One clear message from our time in Nashville is that this is not the time to be caught standing still. A commitment to think and act differently is critical for banks and bank marketers to maintain relevance and compete. While the challenges of rapidly advancing technology and changing consumer behavior may seem daunting to some, the vibe from the ABA Bank Marketing Conference 2016 suggests this is an exciting and pivotal moment for this industry.