Admit it, as humans we enjoy that feeling when someone knows us – whether it is the waiter who anticipates our order or the bookstore clerk who understands just what types of stories we love to read. Having our individual tastes acknowledged and catered to makes us feel special, and in many cases keeps us coming back for more.

Consumers have shown that they value personalization like that in their banking experience, with 72% of consumers across all age demographics considering personalization “highly important”(Capco survey: 2021). But how do banks and credit unions personalize communications while balancing the need to be scalable, efficient, and, most importantly, compliant? Let’s break down this challenge and identify opportunities to provide truly personalized experiences to your members.


The Significance of Personalized Communications

On an average day, consumers are bombarded by roughly 10,000 ads. In addition, they receive over 120 emails and send/receive 94 text messages. Sheepishly we need to admit that a few of those messages are our attempts at reaching members to introduce a new service, remind them of upcoming events, or alert them that our downtown drive-up lanes will be closed next Tuesday.

How do we get our messages read amidst the chaos and clutter of countless pop-ups, pleas, and pings? We can increase the odds by personalizing our communications. Showing people we know who they are can pay dividends, and personalized marketing for financial institutions takes on many different forms. Simply understanding how people want to be communicated with and then following through on their desires can strengthen member loyalty and is an effort most institutions can tackle right away.

The acknowledgment of their preferences also builds trust, allowing us to garner of their attention when it is most important for them and for our goals.

  • Engaging members through their preferred communication channels
    • Text: open rates greater than email; use for real-time deposit alerts, fraud notifications, marketing offers, loan and bill pay reminders, institution updates
    • Email: cheaper than direct mail; combine with member data to personalize emails; use email automation tools to simplify process; to increase email engagement and retention rates, think about utilizing videos.
    • In-app notifications
    • Personalized video messaging: targeted information combined with emotion helps connect to and engage with consumers

"Every year, Bank of America distributes over 90 million surveys to its small business and consumer clients. The bank recovers about 12 million of them."

Understand Member Needs and Preferences

Business management guru Peter Drucker once noted, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Taken a step further, if you can’t manage it, you can’t improve it. So, how do we measure and manage personalization across our client population?

If you are Bank of America you start by sending out over 90 million surveys each year to small-business and consumer clients as part of their initiative called “Voices.” According to The Financial Brand, the bank recovers about 12 million of these surveys. Imagine how powerful the scale of that data could be. They have enough knowledge to excite and engage significant portions of their population with products and services that meet very specific needs and can be delivered via communication that feels like it is speaking right to them.

Beyond wants and desires on how we wish to be marketed to, segmenting members based on similar traits, transaction history, preferences, and demographics can help banks and credit unions deliver new services, identify opportunities for new locations, and even identify services and features clients will value and pay for.

Implement Personalized Communication Strategies

Hosting free information sessions can strengthen your bank or credit union’s brand awareness. Tailoring sessions for various groups, such as parents, students, or newlyweds, allows your institution to offer valuable insights and guide financial journeys. These sessions can promote loan options, maintain brand recognition, and educate diverse groups about your products and services, establishing your institution in the neighborhood as a valuable resource.

Ready to begin putting what we’ve learned into practice?  Here are 5 quick tips to implement personalized communication strategies.

  1. Say my name. Where appropriate and compliant, utilize your client’s name to bring messages home.
  2. Be everywhere. Digital Banking’s recent report “The Guide to Multichannel Marketing” reminded us that using a combination of offline and online channels is the most effective approach for gaining value from them.
  3. Be relevant. Merkle’s latest Customer Engagement Report states that 86% of customers want to get offers that are tailored to their browsing history and interests.
  4. Be engaging. Take that a step further and use data to enhance the power of storytelling. Read our recent post about the power of storytelling for insurance marketing.
  5. Go deeper. If you’ve segmented well, dive deep into the niche to maximize how your message resonates.

Hungry for more strategies? Here are 5 Ways Banks Can Improve Their Customer Digital Experience.

bank digital assistant

Leverage Technology for Personalization

Technology has revolutionized almost everything in our lives and is particularly well suited to enable banks and credit unions to achieve their goals for personalizing the client experience. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System can provide the tools necessary to store, segment, target, and track efforts in order to understand customers better.

As a bonus, CRMs are uniquely capable of helping determine who our “most valuable” customers are, removing bias and legacy perceptions, focusing instead on factors that are quantifiable.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, alone or combined with a CRM, present the promise of the future that is in many ways unfolding in front of our eyes. AI technology however has been around for a while, in different forms that we may already take for granted, from the driving directions we rely on to navigate rush hour traffic, to chatbots that speed up access to answers and assistance (read more about how chatbots in banking use has risen here.)

Looking for even more examples of personalized digital tools that are engaging and assisting bank customers right now?

Ensuring Privacy and Compliance

The above examples and more show the possibilities of personalization and given proper planning and processes, the measures associated with data protection and privacy become a manageable and acceptable part of the risk equation.

As new technologies come online, processes must be put in place to ensure all financial institution communications and data handling practices comply with relevant laws and regulations.  Training staff, including on how to spot possible security risks, how to manage sensitive client data, and how to handle security incidents, in addition to performing regular audits helps keep personalization efforts in line with other bank marketing activities already considerate of guidelines like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

Measuring the Impact of Personalized Communications

Like with other areas of marketing engagement, developing relevant and measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is important.

Some examples may include:

  • Customer acquisition rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Customer churn rate
  • NPS
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

customer satisfaction

Contact PrintMail Solutions to Learn How We Can Help You Grow Your Bank!

Not sure where to start?  PrintMail offers digital marketing solutions that are measurable, and our team can help you interpret data (as well as make decisions on other suitable KPIs) that can increase engagement and propel growth.

Are you looking to further deepen bonds with members or customers? Personalizing credit union and bank communications is a logical and fruitful step.  With only so much time and attention span available, delivering the right message to the right people at the right time and place presents an unparalleled marketing opportunity. Whether through new technologies and tools or via new ways of thinking, personalization offers a powerful path forward for banks and credit unions – one your current and potential clients are already on board with. We encourage banks and credit unions to learn more about digital marketing and its potential.

Need help implementing personalization strategies to enhance your communications with bank members? Contact us for a strategy consultation today and subscribe to the blog for more helpful tips.