New York

Priorities and Challenges for Bank Marketers in 2024

Chris Abelt 10 May 2024

Being a regional or community bank Chief Marketing Officer can be a lonely job. In today’s uncertain economic climate, with high interest rates and an onslaught of non-bank competition, it can be hard for banks to achieve and maintain growth. But many bank CMOs are tasked with doing exactly that.

Digital disruption and customer preference for remote-access banking services are reshaping the banking sector. New research indicates that bank marketers are in dire need of evolving their capabilities and strategies as a result. The challenge is to reinvent marketing to drive deeper customer engagement by delivering more personalized experiences.

The ability to use data-driven insights has changed everything. Now, bank marketers can better understand each customer and tailor their messages and offerings accordingly. The business has entered an era of “segment of one” marketing, where offering more relevant products and services is of paramount importance. Banks will need to invest in both technological and human capabilities to gain deeper customer insights and deploy personalized solutions that create value.

Another big challenge is building the right dynamic between the CEO and CMO. Many bank CEOs and CFOs view marketing as a “necessary evil” in terms of being a pure expense. Many C-suite execs are skeptical about whether marketing can be an enterprise-level growth driver. They are quick to cut marketing spend when business is soft and hitting quarterly targets is in question.

Aligning on marketing priorities reflects the impact that economic uncertainty has had on the banking industry. Challenges related to liquidity, rising interest rates, and intense competition for low-cost funding have pushed deposit acquisition to the forefront.

Priorities and Marketing Success Factors for 2024

The Digital Banking Report issued their “2023 State of Financial Marketing” in November of last year and identified what they considered to be key trends for financial marketers, including:

  1. Shifting Marketing Priorities: Economic uncertainty and challenges related to liquidity issues and high interest rates pushed deposit acquisition to the forefront of marketing priorities for 2024.
  2. New Customer Acquisition is the most important opportunity, according to the survey. The key success driver here will be the shift towards personalization and delivering more tailored experiences. Fintech challengers and non-financial companies like Amazon and Uber have raised the bar here. Attracting new customers will require adoption of enhanced AI-driven data analytics by bank-savvy marketers.
  3. Biggest Marketing Challenges: Making use of data, technology, and analytics to implement personalized strategies at scale is an obstacle for most banks surveyed. Smaller banks have a huge opportunity here – they can be nimbler, and combine process automation with data analytics to improve customer interactions that would be impossible manually.
  4. Budget Constraints and Lack of Required Human Skillsets: Not surprisingly, lack of budget and analytic know-how will continue to hamper bank marketers in 2024. Speed to market will also be a defining quality for success.

Responding to this large range of trends may appear a nearly insurmountable ask for community and regional bank marketers. The right approach here may be “acting your way into right thinking” – that is, tackling each factor by incremental steps that will allow you to demonstrate success based on data or KPIs (key performance indicators). A tip here: don’t overwhelm the senior team with data, but simply pick out 3-4 salient measures and focus on those, especially if they can be linked to asset gathering or revenue generation.

This approach will win the hearts and minds of even the most skeptical C-level executives. With the right amount of data, you can help them understand that marketing can in fact drive enterprise-level, long-term profitable growth.

Let’s work together to create content that drives deeper customer engagement, delivers more personalized experiences, and proves the value of marketing to your C-suite. If you’re ready to take your bank’s marketing to the next level, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.