Published: 04.07.2021



Data and Audience

Research, Trends, and Insights

How Banking Consumer Insights Can Satisfy the Need for Agility, Innovation, and Disruption

Getting to know the customer at a more granular level is more important for banks and credit unions than ever.

Earning customer loyaltyiCustomer loyalty referes to a consumer sticking with one brand or company over their competition. If a traveler always chooses to fly Southwest Airlines and never Delta or American Airlines, that consumer is showing customer loyalty. Loyalty can be based on price alone or on a more emotional connection. Maybe a consumer only rides Trek bicycles because of their worldwide c... Read More is harder than ever before — but it’s also even more important to capture than ever before. In 2020, banks went into the year with great plans, and then all of that got thrown to the wayside. This year, those once-reliable strategies to attract customers might offer some general guidance, but most have been put on the backburner. If the last year of a lockdown and a pandemic taught decision-makers anything, it was to expect the unexpected but also be prepared. 

The backbone of bank and credit union brands and financial service providers going forward is to ask: How do I understand my customers? While this sort of idea has been a nice-to-have in previous years, this multi-billion-dollar question is perhaps the biggest foundational detail for a sustainable competitive advantageiDirect competition occurs when two or more businesses offer the same product or service and are competing for the same customers. For example, McDonald's and Wendy's are direct competitors because the both offer a fast-food burger. Zoe's Kitchen would not be a direct competitor to McDonald's or Wendy's because they offer fast-casual Mediterranean food. They would be an ind... Read More going forward. 

Bain research found that more than half of consumers in a respondents survey trust companies like tech platforms with money over banks or credit unions. That means there’s no understanding of the consumers from the brand side, and there is a serious trust issue from the consumer side. It’s not a good equation for either party, especially after the tumultuous year that was 2020. 

But to create trust and loyalty, and to evolve banking brands and ensure that they don’t lose market share, financial leaders must learn how and where to keep an eye on industry disruption. One key way to do so is to embrace the use of real-time consumer insights. 

The backbone of bank and credit union brands and financial service providers going forward is to ask: How do I understand my customers?

This keeps a laser focus on the current demands of the contemporary customer and allows these finance leaders and their companies to stay one step ahead of what customers are looking for — and deliver accordingly. They know what the consumer wants, and where they want it, so brands can provide it to them. 

For banks and credit unions, this can seem like a somewhat daunting task as it could involve rethinking the current business model entirely, or the need to change consumer perceptions about the industry. Margins may become tighter as traditional and non-traditional competitors move into this space, while mid-tier institutions may not have the same transformative internal resources available that larger brands have at the ready. 

But while the pandemic threw best-laid plans into disarray, it also provides a bittersweet opportunity to reevaluate the way things are done for better or worse. The cost of doing nothing in the face of this type of digital disruption may be small in comparison to some of the worst-case scenarios — including branch closures and more. So a bank or credit union must be willing to invest in new technologies that allow them to digitally compete for customers. 

The cost of doing nothing in the face of this type of digital disruption may be small in comparison to some of the worst-case scenarios.

With a return to some sense of normalcy on the horizon, economic instability is still far from over. So, becoming a technologically savvy, data-driven organization that utilizes proactive instead of reactive capabilities at a granular level will drive four key areas to market to and sell to financial industry consumers. 

  1. Account Acquisition — Institutions with insights will know how to acquire consumers that align with the quality and value of target markets.
  2. Onboarding — Orchestrating personalized experiences that meet a customer’s unique needs leads to overall trust as a primary financial institution, which opens up the potential for new offers.
  3. Cross-Selling — Account holder and member needs evolve over time, so there must be a thoughtful, personalized, and — most importantly — a relevant assortment of offers aligned to customer patterns. 
  4. Retention — Bad experiences up the risk of customer flight, so financial institutions must be armed with the ability to respond quickly to changing account holder attitudes to deliver proactive messaging before consumers could ultimately wave goodbye.

The fact of the matter is that data-driven insights can be turned around to reach account holders and members at critical points when they need it, all while benefiting the bank or credit union’s much-needed acquisitioniCustomer acquisition is the act of creating a new customer for a business through a trackable method such as advertising, marketing or sales. Customer acquisition transcends marketing and indicates an action was taken such as a purchase. For example, marketing might get a potential customer to click on a digital ad which creates recognition, but acquisition is the sale whi... Read More, retentioniCustomer retention is the actions a company takes to maintain its current customer base and prevent them from switching to a competitor. Customer retention is widely seen as being less expensive than aquiring new customers, so it becomes an important element of a company's marketing efforts that are often focused on building a relationship and enhancing loyalty rather than... Read More, and growth goals. These must-have solutions can easily be put into actionable next steps by decision-makers — they just need to know-how.