The Secret To Marketing To Gen Z and Millennials

millennials-3-26-19.pngIt’s a constant surprise to see how much opportunity still exists within a customer base for increasing revenue via timely and effective cross-selling. Growing revenue by meeting a greater share of an existing customer’s needs is almost always more cost-efficient than seeking out new customers.

We also see many questions about how best to attract and relate to younger consumers among the millennials and Generation Z.

Fortunately, a well-executed digital marketing strategy can be beneficial in expanding your service to existing customers and attracting new business from among the millennials and Gen Z.

Content Marketing
It all starts with a story. While “content marketing” is a common buzzword, the concept is as old as writing itself: good stories get people’s attention. Content marketing is nothing more than informative and entertaining solutions to your customers’ challenges.

Developing an outstanding content marketing program requires deep understanding of the consumer buying cycle. Referred to as the “buyer journey,” this roadmap of consumer behavior outlines the prominent questions and issues at each stage of the buying cycle.

For example, according to a Harris Poll conducted for the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 71 percent of millennial workers are saving for retirement and 39 percent of millennials are saving more than 10 percent of their salary. Imagine your bank is selling this group IRA’s and want them to come in for a financial planning session.

It would seem like a perfect fit. But not so fast.

A Charles Schwab study showed that millennials hold 25 percent of their portfolios in cash due to worry about the stock market and investing. Bank marketers have an opportunity to educate potential customers on ways to make those savings grow rather than just promoting the “end point” IRA product.

Savvy marketers prepare a range of content for each stage in the cycle and for each channel of their marketing efforts. Blog posts, social media content, video and podcasts work together to place your bank at the forefront of the consumer’s mind through the process.

Paid Online Advertising Combined With Machine Learning
The world of paid online advertising has expanded dramatically in the last two decades. Commonly referred to as “pay-per-click” or “PPC” advertising, there are tools that allow bank marketers to target specific consumer and business populations with uncanny accuracy. This combined with advances in machine learning technology allows banks to deploy efficient campaigns that deliver targeted content and offers when they are most likely to capture attention.

Paid advertising is measurable in ways traditional advertising is not. PPC advertising allows bank marketers to run campaigns on the basis of Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) nearly in real time. Budgets can be increased or decreased if lead costs are favorable. Offers and creative can be tested on the fly using financial results.

User Experience Design
Many articles gloss over the significance of user experience design in favor of touting the virtues of “online banking.” Marketers ignore this facet of customer acquisition and retention at their peril.

The user experience, or UX, does not need to be pretty in order to be effective.

For banks, UX is important in reducing the friction of any financial transaction where consumers spend most of their time online. Rather than simply think of “having online banking,” bank marketers need to measure the rate of sign-up abandonment, transaction cancellation, and other indicators that a bank’s online tools are difficult to use.

Banks that lack the brand strength of large national or regional players and rely on high-quality customer service need to be relentless in making their online banking options easy to use. Asking customers to download three different apps and carry multiple logins is a far cry from the face recognition and one-button interface offered by some of the nation’s largest banks.

Tying it All Together
The need for financial services is lifelong. Consumers pass through a variety of financial stages throughout their lives. Each of these stages contains its own, unique buyer journey.

Surveys and regular email and social media communication can help current customers find answers to their questions at the right time. Intelligent remarketing that drives paid advertising can help your results appear in their web searches and expand their understanding of the full range of services you offer. Thoughtful UX can enable customers to discover new products that solve problems when they first encounter them.

All of these benefits apply to your prospective clients. Being able to precisely target consumers when they are searching for answers means you can capture their attention earlier in the buying cycle.

Frictionless and “invisible” UX allows you to bring those new customers into your product and service ecosystem with the ease that younger consumers expect.

Make the Most of Your Account Opening Process

accounts-9-29-18.pngIt used to be that bank onboarding best practices included a firm handshake and maybe a stuffed toy or T-shirt. In 2018, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Today, customers have a long list of expectations that add up to nothing short of complete personalization across all the many moments — and micro-moments — they face. Customers may have picked this checklist up elsewhere, but they see no reason why those same rules wouldn’t apply everywhere, including when they open a new account at their bank.

In a mobile-everything world, the one-size-fits-all solutions won’t work. New research from Deloitte shows customers want personalized, simple and complete communications. Essentially, they want you to know what they need, when they need it, so you can make it as simple as possible for them. They’re no longer willing to sift through generic self-service tools, and the more your institution can guide them with specific content that comes in their moments of need, the more you will win their loyalty — and dollars.

Meeting these new expectations is increasingly the only way to engage your customers — engagement that’s necessary for high Net Promoter Scores (NPS), revenue growth and profitability. The industry — and onboarding best practices — have started to change.

CX trends are changing onboarding best practices
For the financial services industry, the math is clear. The lifetime value of a promoter is 2.5 times higher than that of a detractor. At the same time, a detractor is 2.3 times more likely to switch to your competitor.

Delivering a positive experience is the best way to create more promoters, particularly during critical moments like your bank’s account opening process, which is the bank’s first impression.

A 2017 Deloitte study makes plain what people are looking for in onboarding programs for banks. The 3,000 customers surveyed who had recently opened bank accounts said they wanted improvements in two fundamental areas, during and post-account opening:

  • Speed
  • Communications

Overall, digital customers say the opening process was unclear and took too long. Worse, once they had opened an account, they felt abandoned. Many banks didn’t follow up with basic information customers felt they needed. That silence was one of the biggest causes of customer dissatisfaction, forcing customers to follow up on their own or forgo information they wanted.

How to apply best practices to your bank
So, we have two main directives for improving the bank customer onboarding process: speed and communication. And we know how customers want that communication to feel: personalized, simple and timed to their needs.

Now you just need to deliver it.

While banks are worried about sending too many communications, customers are asking for guidance. The second they open an account, you have an opportunity to start a relationship by delivering clear and concise instructions that notify them of missing information and next steps to help them complete the process. Then, when the account’s open, you can stay in touch, and help them become familiar with their account and the services your bank can provide.

Data shows this approach works. Leading student lender Citizens Bank increased new accounts by 10 percent and decreased time to completion by 40 percent using automated mobile engagement with its digital customers.

The right communications — timed to arrive when customers reach specific points in their journeys — can improve the customer experience. If you deliver personalized solutions on day one, you can answer customer questions before they ask, offer information about their accounts, recommend new products or services, and point them to tools and content that help them complete actions quickly and easily. This kind of prescribed, proactive approach to service reduces customer effort and builds trust along the way.

The benefits of a better onboarding strategy
Customer surveys like Deloitte’s clearly show an increasing emphasis on easy and convenient interactions. If you want to win customer loyalty, you need to deliver an effortless customer experience now. Not only will a better onboarding experience create stickiness and turn your customers into promoters, it will set an expectation of useful communication. When your customers start their relationship with personalized mobile communications — rather than generic emails, or worse, having to hunt through your website — it teaches them they should pay attention when you contact them.

By meeting that expectation, the potential value for that account can stretch as big as your offering. You can promote additional products, suggest expansions on the products they have and offer rewards when they recommend a friend. As long as you continue to make those experiences personalized, useful and easy, you can continue to nurture your customers and realize maximum value.