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Finance Marketing 101: Understanding the Ins and Outs

Consumer finance is an extremely competitive space. Banks, lenders and credit card providers are battling against one another to win over new and existing customers with tailored reward incentives, flexible spending limits, low APR, etc. In order to succeed, financial institutions turn to data-driven marketing tactics to get in front of consumers and influence their behavior in engaging and innovative ways. 

Like any other industry, marketing in finance comes with its own set of unique considerations and requirements. By understanding these intricacies, marketers are able to successfully win share of wallet from competitors and build life-long loyal relationships with consumers. 

Remaining Compliant, Yet Effective

Aside from the universal regulations across all digital marketing—from recent GDPR and CCPA laws to the eventual deprecation of third-party cookies—finance marketers face their own unique set of regulations and standards that they need to abide by.

For example, the Truth in Savings Act (TISA) requires banks to be transparent with consumers regarding certain information when promoting checking and savings accounts. Essentially, TISA protects consumers from misleading marketing content, and holds the bank accountable for how they talk about the account services that they offer.

Other regulations like UDAAP (Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts or Practices) protect consumers against harmful or misleading information. For credit card providers, they need to abide by Regulation Z (part of the Truth in Lending Act) requiring them to disclose certain terms and conditions in their marketing collateral.

Ads for banks must also have a Member FDIC disclosure in each advertisement. Credit unions, which are insured by the National Credit Union Administration, also require ad copy to include “Federally Insured By NCUA.” These are just a few of the many different disclosures and guidelines that finance marketers are responsible for.

In the end, these regulations are meant to protect the consumer and provide them with the most honest, transparent ad experience possible. Aside from the legal ramifications of failing to remain compliant, advertisers who fall short of compliance run the risk of losing trust with their consumer base—a very difficult challenge to overcome.

Reaching Customers (New and Old) Across All Touchpoints

Financial institutions have different marketing objectives than other industries like retail or CPG. Success in the finance industry is dependent upon the ability to build and grow long-term relationships with consumers, as opposed to one-and-done transactions. Converting a new “sale,” in this case, is just the start of the overall relationship between a bank or credit union and the consumer. Understanding how to leverage marketing channels to reach consumers at every touchpoint and through every phase of that long-term relationship is crucial for success.

By investing in marketing strategies that fuel the upper and lower sales funnel, finance marketers can establish and maintain positive relationships with customers – not only getting them in the door to apply for a credit card or open a savings account, but also help maintain customer satisfaction and bring new opportunities for expanding that relationship.

To do this, marketers need to invest in an omnichannel strategy. Consumers are active across several different channels and platforms, and it’s important to get in front of them at every step – from social to display, to TV and OTT. This ensures that a brand is top of mind when a consumer does decide to switch banks or get a new credit card.

Leveraging Different Strategies to Meet Different Objectives

When planning an omnichannel strategy, each channel should have a designated purpose with its own set of KPIs to measure success. When investing in strategies like display and search for prospecting and larger influencer campaigns, for example, marketers can drive overall brand awareness. On the other end, investing in lower-funnel strategies like affiliate links on comparison and review sites, money management apps, branded search terms, and more can help directly drive new applications.

The use of these different channels will change overtime as well, as the priorities of the business continue to evolve. For example, if a bank is releasing a new credit card, a marketer might look to invest more in TV and OTT ads as a way to help raise awareness of the new card offering in front of as many existing and potential new customers as possible.

During the next quarter, if the same bank is launching a new mobile app to help customers manage their accounts, the priorities of the business have changed and therefor so should the goals of marketing. Instead of investing heavily in TV and OTT, budget should be dialed back and allocated to more performance-driven marketing strategies like prospecting and leveraging financial influencers to reach new audiences. They should also look to retargeting and branded search terms to help convert engaged customers and drive app downloads. As the needs of the business change, the role of marketing changes in parallel.

Keeping up with the latest 

As technologies, capabilities, regulations and priorities evolve, finance marketers need to stay in the loop with the latest and greatest. Especially in an industry that is as heavily regulated and privacy centric as finance. Those that aren’t ahead of the curve will find themselves losing consumer trust. By remaining vigilant of the changes within the digital landscape finance marketers will set themselves up for long-term success.


Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 06 September, 2021, 13:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Given that there are 4500+ FDIC-insured FIs in USA, it's a no-brainer that "Consumer finance is an extremely competitive space."

But, given that all of them charge the same 2-3% MDR for credit card processing, you can't fault some people - especially Merchants - for believing that banking is a monopoly. 

As a marketing professional, I often wonder, if a bank were to slash credit card MDR by half and boost Rewards by double, wouldn't it be able to make huge market share gains in the credit card space without spending too much money on marketing?

I'm guessing such a bank would still be quite profitable, considering that credit card has been the most profitable LOB for retail banks for 50+ years - if not become more profitable by saving on marketing spend. AFAIK, no bank has ever attempted such a growth strategy.

Any idea why?

Beth Benedict

Beth Benedict

SVP of Client Services

Rakuten Advertising

Member since

18 Aug 2021


Chicago, Il

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Marketing in Financial Services

Looking at the unique challenges and opportunities of marketing in Financial Services and Fintech

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