I have spent years helping businesses better understand customer service, but I never stop learning. Service has always and will always continue to change. Now, businesses must cope with the fact that in our digitalized world, the ability to spread the word about good or bad service has intensified. On top of that, consumers’ expectations of companies vary by demographic, product, and geography.
How do marketing professionals in retail banking get a handle on all of this? How do they ensure they know their client, their product, and most importantly, their approach? There are six phases in the customer journey.
In this article, we’ll review the importance of the Awareness phase, and then discuss options to assist in your success with planning for that phase. This begins with the why, how, and what of awareness.
Why awareness is important
Building awareness of your business applies to prospective and existing clients. We all know that it is more expensive to attract a new client than it is to retain an existing one. However, with aging boomers and less-loyal millennials, adding new clients is a must. But gone are the days when we would hand the phone book to our sales teams and say, “The branch loan officer with the most home equity applications gets $50 at the end of the week. Have at it.”
Prospecting is now a more sophisticated – and potentially risky – science. Businesses need to be more careful with customer information thanks to regulations such as “know your customer” rules, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the National Do Not Call Registry, to mention a few. This also includes what I believe will be the eventual arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the United States.
Also, marketing teams no longer have the funds they used to – now, we’re expected to do more than ever before with less. We need to be sharpshooters and gather as much information about our prospective customers as we can. We need to line up the right product with the right prospect at the right time.
How to build awareness
In the blog, “6 Steps to a Killer Brand Awareness Campaign,” Danielle Bilbruck outlines what it takes to build awareness: Know who you are trying to reach; figure out where they “live” online; keep your budget in mind; know what success means; push the red button (to launch your campaign); and don’t forget to track your results.
Identifying the right client and product is important. You can start by working with the right third parties to use their data. From there, you should be able to successfully seize the right batch of prospects and make them aware of your organization for the most benefit. Look for easy wins here – attracting prospects that you can provide with additional services once they are onboarded is one way to make the most of your effort. Credit cards are a great place to start. Try offering them to newly onboarded clients who meet your requirements.
Now that you know your client and product, what is your approach? Today, a personal touch goes a long way, but the challenge of making contact is daunting. We need to structure what I like to call an “air, sea, and land” approach. Command over the air can be achieved with direct marketing by SMS and e-mail. This should be the first approach your business takes and must be consistent moving forward until the prospect opts out of your messaging. The sea covers the Internet. Placing ads in the appropriate location on multiple sites is made easy with analytics that can do the work for you. To control the land of retail bank prospecting, leverage the branch network and contact center with a detailed plan.
You may need to better enable and compensate your team outside of your existing compensation structure based on the nature of the task. There are capabilities available for you to design and monitor KPIs to measure your success and ROI. It is important to have a regular cadence and solid user interface in a dashboard format readily available in real time.
What makes awareness work
First things first – get buy-in from your team. Prospecting is not for everyone, especially the faint of heart. As a marketing professional, you may not have the field reporting directly to you. For you to follow up your messaging with a personal touch, you will need to leverage your company’s branch network and contact-center professionals. Second, you will need to develop a solid business case showcasing the value drivers of your awareness efforts. Work with your partners to identify the resources, systems, process, and procedure to make prospecting a success. Finally, walk before you run. Stagger your rollout in a proof-of-concept format, then accelerate it as you continue to strengthen your business case. I believe you will have more buy-in from your internal partners and create internal demand by region if one region is witness to the success of another.
Awareness is a very important step that we often don’t notice until it isn’t working for us. It is important for you to know your prospective clients and what you can offer them before moving forward with any prospecting initiative. While changing regulations and tighter budgets may make building awareness seem daunting, there have never been more innovative resources and technologies than there are today. Take this first phase seriously and start to build awareness of your business.
For more on digital transformation in the banking industry, see The Sky Is Not Falling In Banking (I Promise).