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Three ways bank-marketing executives should use data

August 1, 2016
Read Time: 0 min

The quote, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” attributed to both American statistician W. Edwards Deming and Austrian management consultant Peter Drucker, has seen significant play as data management has increasingly become more important to professionals in all industries. Data may serve as a buzzword for marketers, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Data measuring customers’ habits, likes and dislikes, is a critical tool to any marketing pro’s toolbox.

Bank and credit union marketers are often in a unique position to leverage the aggregated data of their customers. No doubt they know how valuable data can be for reporting purposes, but what about applying the data to the launch of a new brick-and-mortar branch or digital banking tool? When marketing budgets have to be tweaked and stretched farther each year, how can a bank or credit union marketing specialist be sure they are utilizing the data collected from customers in the most effective and efficient ways? Here are three, key ways for financial-institution marketers to employ data smartly and with maximum impact:

Know the demographics. Understanding the demographics of the market an institution serves is particularly important for marketers supporting multiple branches. Targeting efforts based on demographic data can help maximize a marketing budget.

Data on the typical consumers and businesses in the market served by a particular branch is key to ensuring that you can market the right products to the right people. Prospective or current clients living in the area surrounding Branch A could differ by any number of metrics compared to those living near Branch B. For example, marketing efforts for new-home loans would be better targeted to areas dominated by age groups that are in the home-buying process: young families, for example. Or maybe there is a leading indicator the bank can reference? Data like the number of marriage licenses may be a leading indicator for home sales in the area.

That’s not to say the institution won’t offer other products in that market, but a little research allows for sounder, data-driven decisions.

Know the customer. In addition to understanding the demographics dominating the areas surrounding each bank or credit union branch, it’s important to know the makeup of your existing customers. The more you know about who they are – specifics like age group, gender, profession/industry, income, etc. – the better the institution can align sales and marketing to their needs. If Branch C’s customer base is 70 percent professionals under 40 and exceeding the average income of the larger community, it makes sense to market and cross-sell additional services that may be of interest, such as auto lending and retirement planning through that branch.

Knowing the customer base is also key to understanding whether your marketing campaigns are working and the segments of your market that are best responding.

Perhaps your auto lending services are increasing in demand, but your campaign highlighting retirement planning fell flat. In that situation, focus on who did accept retirement planning services and distill a few characteristics that are common among those customers. Those characteristics help to build a propensity model – a tool the bank can use to identify other customers that would exhibit a similar propensity for retirement planning services, in this case. Then market to other consumers like them.

An analysis of the customer base will also show which populations the institution may be underserving currently but that could be an opportunity for the bank or credit union in the future.

Know the competition. Data can also be a powerful resource in learning about your institution’s competitors. Many banks and credit unions use peer institutions for internal analysis of their financial performance or back-end processes, but those peers may not necessarily be the competition for customers.

Look at the deposit market share of each of your branches within their individual markets in comparison to the branches of other institutions in that market. That exercise will disclose the institution’s current competitive set. Then research their most visible products and services. Simply visiting their website will showcase which areas of business they are currently marketing. Armed with this information, you can assess your marketing plan and reevaluate if needed. Position your products and services differently, or choose offerings that are unique to your bank or credit union to highlight in your next campaign.

Good data can provide a wealth of information for marketing pros and assist in making smarter decisions for both the institution and their current and prospective customers. 



About the Author


Raleigh, N.C.-based Sageworks, a leading provider of lending, credit risk, and portfolio risk software that enables banks and credit unions to efficiently grow and improve the borrower experience, was founded in 1998. Using its platform, Sageworks analyzed over 11.5 million loans, aggregated the corresponding loan data, and created the largest

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