It comes as no surprise that technology adoption at smaller financial institutions is speeding up. While this trend is, in part, a result of the shelter-in-place protocols of the early pandemic days, it certainly had hit a rapid adoption pace well before Covid-19 was a household term. Technology has become a matter of survival for all financial institutions as customers become increasingly comfortable with digital access points, tailored services, and a seamless communication experience.
As a result of these developments, financial institutions – including community banks and credit unions – have focused investments on enhancing technologies that engage customers across the financial journey. In fact, executives at eight in ten banks said their 2022 technology budget was up from the previous year, with an average increase of 11% over 2021. This is due in no small part to the fact that the smaller financial institutions that have thrived in recent years often credit their success to technologies that helps them scale and expand their markets.
This success is possible as the mindset around marketing shifts, transforming a bank’s marketing department from a necessary evil and cost center to a thriving profit center that actively generates revenue. In many ways, this was an achievement not possible through traditional marketing methods, but with digital marketing automation, banks can activate unique customer engagement at a level and scale not previously imagined.
“Interestingly, most banks won’t need to make significant additional investments because they won’t be spending any more on marketing – they’ll be spending it differently. This investment relies on data for smarter communication with consumers.” Preetha Pulusani, CEO, DeepTarget
This level of digital communication has to rely heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) which can more effectively demonstrate a return on the investment by categorizing immense amounts of customer data plus government, public, market and social data into actionable communication.
“AI can automatically analyze huge volumes of data to identify trends and patterns that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible to discern.” Preetha Pulusani, CEO, DeepTarget
And these targeted communications are resulting in higher ROI matter, especially for “community banks, with far fewer dollars to spend, that have to budget wisely and invest where it makes the most sense,” says Laura Alix, Bank Director’sDirector of Research, quoted in a recent The Financial Brand article. Thus - perhaps predictably – customer experience ranks as a high priority for the banks upgrading engagement touchpoints.
There’s a third critical challenge that is facing many community FIs. Human resources are already overwhelmed and the labor shortages pandemic and post-pandemic are hitting financial services as badly as some other industries. Marketing departments are over-stretched and adding another digital initiative, as necessary and imperative as it is, must be weighed against the consequences of even more employees quitting because they just cannot keep up with the toll of additional work. The solution here is to look for a comprehensive solution that combines technology with holistic managed services – a soup to nuts solution that will ensure that the entire lifecycle for digital engagement is managed by skilled experts and all you have to worry about is seeing positive returns.
That’s where third-party solutions like DeepTarget can come into play. Not only is there an option for an enabling automation technology platform but for an option to have their skilled engagement consultants to take over the operations of the platform in order to provide the best possible outcomes to the FI. Already serving hundreds of community FIs, DeepTarget is driving the digital communication revolution by enabling FIs to deepen their consumer relationships thus increasing deposits, loans, and fee-based services.