Countdown to 2024 – Are you Ready?
Happy November! We’re now less than 60 days from the new year, and many are still scrambling to finalize marketing plans and budgets. Will you repeat last year’s basic plan, or have you adjusted to make next year even better?
The Four Pillars of Financial Marketing Success in 2024
Amid all the chaos today, your institution can differentiate by focusing on four key pillars for success:
1 – Consumer Centricity
The Financial Services Industry was built on trust. In today’s environment, reinforcing your position of trust starts with understanding, supporting, and responding before competitors do. The institutions that garner the most trust will be those committed to understanding consumer needs by using insights from deep data.
Mining data to provide timely products shows a level of care that few currently offer. After all, if I can’t count on my primary institution for the best, timely solutions, what type of relationship do I really have?
Having the right data at the right time is a start. Communicating consistently, strategically, and effectively is where the payoff exists. Are you using all channels of distribution – in branch, email, direct mail, and other preferred methods?
Lastly, many institutions have eliminated one fact-filled, quick-read tool that reminds the account holder each month of their relationship – the newsletter. Few consumers visit the website to find out what is going on at your institution. If you no longer produce a newsletter, it’s time to bring it back.
2 – Financial Proficiency
Today’s consumer expects more insight and help with their financial decisions. The increasing Gen Z and Millennial segments understand how to access financial products, but they have yet to learn how to manage finances.
According to The Financial Brand, 69% of Millennials cite getting out of debt as their biggest financial goal, and 96% regret some aspect of their financial picture. This means these same consumers didn’t understand how to balance debt with their financial well-being.
Why? Most financial providers are only interested in the short-term benefit of the product sale. They haven’t embraced the opportunity to be a Financial Coach.
You can differentiate with a commitment to educate consumers while also servicing their product needs. Make the strategic decision to apply “human” staff to a higher level of knowledge and expertise while deploying your technical/digital support towards “transactional activity.”
Fill your branches with printed educational information, planning tools, seminars, webinars and even life coaching information so you can help consumers build their own financial security.
3 – Lending Relevancy
The lending market was turned on its head in 2023. With the costs of funds growing, retail lending and credit card rates have increased substantially. Rates grew so fast that everyone has had trouble realizing the new normal.
This IS the new normal. We need to adjust.
Lending rates must be relevant to today’s environment, not the one we came from. In talking to our customers, we find many “waiting for rates to go down” before they begin promoting loans again. In the meantime, consumers are going to their competitors for loans.
Being “relevant” within the lending space also means being present with fair rates and exceptional support. Your sales proposition should be to provide the best rates you can while delivering the right products to the right consumers at the right time.
This means you will likely need to increase your marketing budget for loan acquisition. With a tighter market and more competition, you’ll find greater success in using all your tools for building awareness and presenting relevant offers.
Use the power of pre-approved loan offers delivered via mail and email to a consumer who has shown a likelihood for a loan. Pre-approvals leverage data to drive convenient lending.
4 – Deposit Sufficiency
The current deposit environment will continue in 2024, so it’s essential to build a strategy around “sufficient” rates to help fuel your lending needs.
Generating deposits is easy when you have the highest rates in town, but few can afford it. When you adopt a strategy of sufficiency, it means you must work more diligently to acquire deposits. Key activities include:
• Ongoing outbound mailings and emailing to high deposit accounts and consumers.
• Retention programs that protect the deposit base
• Switching campaigns to move checking money to longer-term accounts with rate incentives.
• Staff incentive programs that support retention efforts
• Bundling campaigns to build more deposit relationships with the sale of other products.
• A stronger effort in longer-term and retirement products
Lastly, make sure to educate all staff members on how and why deposits are important. Many have never experienced a rate environment like this.
Rely on Westamerica for Your 2024 Marketing Needs
As you finalize your priorities for 2024, remember that we are in your corner with over 30 years of Financial Marketing experience.
And don’t forget to download our FREE marketing planner for additional helpful tools. https://www.mywestamerica.com/marketing-planner/