Finding brand loyal customers in this day and age is getting harder, especially for financials. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

As I may have mentioned in a previous post or two, I’m an avid runner. In the years that I’ve been running, I’ve made a few observations about my fellow runners.

Basically, it boils down to this: there are two different types of runners when it comes to selecting running shoes: runners that stick to a very specific model or brand, time and time again, and those runners that are always trying out the latest and greatest model from whichever brand is coming out with it.

This is especially top of mind to me right now as the weather has turned nicer and I’m ramping up miles for the race season. Inevitably, with more miles comes the need (okay, justification – I really don’t need any more running shoes) for a new pair of kicks.

So, what does this have to do with anything?

I’ve found this observation to be on a parallel with consumers as it relates to choosing, and staying with, a financial institution. There are plenty (albeit, a dwindling population) of customers who are loyal to an infinite end, always returning to their bank or credit union to conduct business and/or seek financial advice.

But, there are more than a few customers who keep accounts at more than a handful of financial institutions and actively shop around for the best and brightest deal or latest and greatest technology when seeking out a new transaction. And it’s no secret that this population is growing.

So the question becomes: where does your financial institution fit in and how do you market to each population?

Some might say that you don’t need to market to your population of loyal customers and I would argue that this is the easiest way to get left. No news is not good news in this situation.

The answer comes down to two key factors:

  • What are your short- and long-term goals? If the bank’s goal within the next three months is to open as many new checking accounts as possible, your messaging is not going to be catered toward consumers who are loyal to their bank or credit union. However, if you’re looking for active, sustainable account usage, then the breadth and depth of the marketing message changes.
  • How many messages do you have out at once? There’s no rule in any book that says you cannot market to several types of people at the same time. Some of the most successful companies do this. Look at Allstate Insurance. How many running ad campaigns can you count off the top of your head? Choosing the messaging and channels to carry that message will be the key to success. Think of it as running checking and certificate campaigns side by side. Each is intending to reach different audiences to accomplish different goals by triggering different needs.

Becoming the preferred financial institution for a customer is the obvious pinnacle of relationship success in our industry. However, that doesn’t mean that every customer needs to hold your financial in high enough regard to be their PFI.

Just like when I choose to wear my Saucony shoes for a run versus my New Balance kicks for another, your marketing should be targeting and steering your customers in a direction that allows them to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the offer and drive behavior from there.

Have a good story about a marketing message that worked well? That didn’t? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


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