Banks that are targeting Millennials with marketing dollars might be wasting their money. The same holds true for banks that are trying to market to Boomers or any other target demographic. In fact, we believe that marketing to a demographic is an inefficient use of resources. You see, no demographic is one-dimensional. Every person is made up of a group of traits and Boomers, for example, are equally attracted to easy mobile banking, just as Gen X, Y and Millennials. In this article, we will show you a better way to spend your bank’s marketing dollars in order to achieve maximum effectiveness and give you the exact times to do it.
Banking At The Point Of Inflection
There are certain times in everyone’s life when every demographic is drawn together and are more or less responsive to the same stimuli. In other words, in certain “micro moments” each demographic cohort is likely to experience the same pain, emotion, exhilaration and challenges as every other person, young or old, rich or poor, urban or metro.
While there is nothing wrong with marketing to a target demographic, that is more of a brand building strategy instead of a product marketing strategy. Consider the fact that you want a home loan or a business loan regardless of age. The Millennial and the Boomer may have little in common until they want to accomplish a certain task such as growing a business or saving for retirement. The real driver to a bank sale is marketing when certain triggers occur such as gaining a new business partner, getting a bonus, obtaining a promotion, getting a tax refund, having an additional child, or a million other physical or psychological events. Instead of assuming a certain demographic feels a certain way throughout their life, marketing at the point of inflection targets certain times that really matter where your bank marketing is multiple times more effective.
Many of these triggers happen at certain times during the calendar year. As we have written about before (HERE), January is by far the best time to market if you are a bank. The holidays are over and the extra time, increase in debt and milestone passing of the New Year gives people a chance to contemplate their financial position in life. This is why it is vitally important for banks to take advantage of these New Year’s resolutions and be ready to market items like mortgage refinancing, retirement savings, savings accounts and others during the first week in January.
As can be seen above, January is not the only time to market. More complex transactions take time to get the paperwork together and research bank rates. This is why commercial real estate loans are best marketed in February. On the personal side, February is a time for most many households to start their taxes, which is also a driver for tax related consumer loans. Tax refunds usually come back in March, so hitting households up for deposit accounts are highly effective.
Businesses too have certain ebbs and flows, trade and transactions start to pick up in February and by March, letters of credit are usually in greater demand. Equipment financing right before an equipment purchase to be installed during the slowdown in summer orders and construction loans (both retail and commercial) at the start of the warmer months all are sharply seasonal and business owners and managers are more open to bank offers, promotions and calls.
This isn’t to say households and businesses aren’t interested in bank products year around, just that the above times are when those bank product sales peak. September and October it should be noted are average months for a great many bank product, but they did not make the graphic as we could find no bank product where inquiries or sales peaked in those months. Conversely, we can say that marketing almost any bank product past the second week in November and all of December is almost a complete waste of money.
Putting It Into Action
To get more out of your bank’s marketing and sales efforts get more in-tune to what your customers and potential customers care about. You will find greater marketing effectiveness and relevance by understanding their seasonal and life cycle priorities than shot gunning a general marketing message to a certain demographic.
While spending money to build your brand for a certain demographic may not hurt your bank, it may not offer the best return. Figure out how to bank your customers at the point of inflection and you will create a deeper connection between your audience and your message, product and service. The result will be a sharply better return on your marketing dollars than targeting Millennials.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on May 31, 2016