August and September mark one of the busiest times of year for opening depository accounts, and the time to take advantage is now. In this second story in our two-part series, we follow six marketing steps that enable banks to identify, select and engage the best-opportunity households for new accounts. If you haven't seen the first post on finding households ripe for deposit growth, have a look!
Here’s a figure astute banks should keep in the forefront when looking for growth opportunities: 11%.
That’s the percentage of U.S. consumers who left their bank in 2016, according to Accenture’s North American Consumer Digital Banking Survey. An existing relationship no longer appears to be an obstacle for moving on if the customer doesn’t feel value from a bank.
So, there’s upside for banks who are paying attention to building stronger customer relationships, by either preventing this attrition or capitalizing on another bank’s wandering customers.
And, when it comes to timing, banks should mark August and September on their acquisition calendars. During these two months, seasonal lifestyle changes emerge that form peak opportunity for checking and other depository acquisitions. Kids go to college, families move to new neighborhoods and more babies are born than in any other month.
Consumers are also increasingly open to non-traditional banking options, including payment providers and virtual banks. Accenture reports that more than a quarter of consumers between the age of 25 to 54 said they would switch to an institution that had no branch locations. But, don't allow a sense of urgency to rush you into this opportunity. Here are six measured steps for getting the best prospects to notice your bank.
1. Single out the opportunities
A review of household activities, such as whether prospects are researching new banking products or moving account balances around, will provide hints into looming changes and their likelihood to respond to account offers. New mover campaigns, for example, are targeted to households that recently applied for a mortgage or changed their address.
2. Develop family portraits
The life stages of household members serve as the brush strokes of their collective persona. If the family is moving, members could be receptive to a range of banking products in addition to a new checking account, such as an interest-bearing CD in the name of an expected child. If a member of the household records a change in direct deposit, it signals a new job and the potential to promote a new savings or 401(k) product. Each of these activities shapes the preferences and behaviors of the entire household and therefore affects the wording of the message and when it should arrive. This leads to the next step.
3. Monitor their progress in the decision process
On average, it takes someone six months to switch checking accounts, so it’s essential to narrow down where he or she is in that process. If they just moved and haven't changed bank accounts yet, they will want to do so urgently. If they changed jobs, they could be making more money and feel they’ve outgrown their current bank. The need might not be as immediate, but they are searching. If kids are going to college in August, for example, send them offers in the spring that include tips for preventing overdrafts, or the ease of automatic payment services.
4. Gauge their surroundings and pace
A household preparing for change is weighing a lot of decisions that affect all members. Data resources, such as our Global DataView tool, can provide insight into those choices by revealing neighborhood compositions and the likelihood that the family holds accounts with other financial institutions. This in turn can inform the specific types of offers that would be relevant, how to present them and when. These “what’s,” “how’s” and “when’s” are essential to cut through the clutter, and there’s a lot of it.
5. Tee up the offer
Before hitting “send,” consider that for every offer you deliver, a few more will be arriving from competitive banks. Two-thirds of direct mail from financial services firms involves checking acquisition, with the average offer being $315, according to recent research by Mintel. In addition to the actual offer—which should consider financial needs as well as ease, convenience and accessibility—think about the wording, colors and images on the envelope or postcard. Are they compelling enough that the customer will stop to read them? Incorporating life stages, geography and interests into the design and messaging, detected through customer activity and data, can help.
6. Monitor, monitor, monitor
Be sure to have the marketing technology in place to gauge all that happens next. Did the customer open your email? Did he or she visit your website to research checking accounts or other products? Regardless of their activity with your bank, assume existing or prospective customers are researching other banks as well. This will better position you to anticipate their next actions and be ready to move.
Those next actions could be sooner than you think. Like preparing for September’s growth in June, positioning yourself far in advance ensures you can maintain your deposit growth for seasons to come.
About the Author
As Vice President, Marketing Strategy at Harte Hanks, JD has a consistent record of creating and executing marketing strategies that achieve industry-leading performance. For example, he has launched integrated campaigns that increased customer share of wallet by over $300 million. He has achieved customer retention 6.1% above industry peers by creating an automated one-to-one omnichannel new customer onboarding program. And JD has led the development, creation, and launch of customer loyalty CRM programs that consistently produced results 79% above industry average. He currently specializes in marketing in the financial services industry.More Content by JD Metcalf