Earlier this year The Financial Brand published the results of its survey of 228 banks, credit unions, and community banks about the state of bank and credit union marketing. The survey asked these institutions what their top three marketing priorities were for 2012.
- Cross-selling, deepening relationships
- Loan growth
- Customer/member acquisition
Obviously, answers 1 and 3 are closely related. In addition, 51% of institutions said that their customer onboarding program would be more important in 2012.
None of these results surprise us. Engaging with customers more successfully—understanding their needs, and selling products and services to meet those needs—is the best solution for acquiring profitable clientele and growing sales in a tough economic environment.
So the goals are clear. What about the obstacles?
The majority of respondents said their biggest challenges came from internal factors such as:
- insufficient marketing budgets
- difficulty in measuring results and demonstrating ROI
- insufficient IT resources
- lack of employee support for marketing
- slow internal decision-making
If limited marketing and IT resources are the problem, then new sales and marketing initiatives will have to be highly cost-effective. Multi-year engagements with big consultant firms are probably out. Sales and marketing need to be fast and efficient in order to contain costs while addressing the needs of rapidly changing markets. And any new, widely deployed IT solution is going to have to be easy to use (minimizing training costs) and easy to deploy (minimizing IT costs).
We believe that financial institutions can achieve their sales and marketing goals by optimizing account creation with fast, efficient customer analysis and ID verification services. These services give branch personnel the best possible information for making real-time decisions that affect account growth, account profitability, and fraud risk.