January 21, 2021

Hindsight is 2020: Planning for 2021 with Confidence

Digital marketers are poised to have a greater impact on their customers than perhaps ever before. We can’t control everything, but we can strategically prepare to control what we can in 2021.

The ball dropped in Times Square while masked and socially-distanced onlookers cheered. It was the end of a year that brought immense challenges we were not completely prepared to face; but it taught us some important lessons. We learned that when tested, we are resilient, we are creative, and we are capable of more than we ever imagined. Many of the challenges brought by 2020 did not end on December 31st. As we plan for the new year, hindsight examination shows us some paths for success in the new year. Digital marketers are poised to have a greater impact on their customers than perhaps ever before. We can’t control everything, but we can strategically prepare to control what we can with these three tips for 2021:


1.   Strengthen Customer Relationships

A previous Insight article reported that in 2019 half of all Americans held accounts at multiple banks which created a competitive landscape with a high attrition rate. One interesting development of the COVID-19 health crisis is that these attrition numbers are significantly lower. With fewer branch visits and face-to-face meetings, customers are staying put. This presents an excellent opportunity for community banks and credit unions to deepen the relationships with existing customers by offering the products and promotions that their clients will need. An enhanced focus on client services and cross-selling can be mutually beneficial in a year with thinner margins and slimmer budgets for many organizations. This is not a time to return to “business as usual” but rather to really listen to clients and communities and work together to weather the storm.

In the early days of the health crisis, it became clear that Financial Institutions like community banks and credit unions were designated as critical infrastructure that were necessary to remain open throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Community banks and credit unions came to the rescue of many small businesses and consumers with loan forbearance, aid programs, and payroll protection. This has caused a remarkable rise in public perception of the banking industry that suffered in the financial crisis. These same financial institutions can leverage this positive perception into life-long customer relationships with the right communication and engagement at this pivotal time of crisis recovery in 2021.

2.   Automate Dazzling Personalized Digital Experiences

With widespread shutdowns and shelter-in-place recommendations in the early months of 2020, digital banking activity, online and mobile, soared. For many banks and credit unions, this ignited and accelerated the digitization of financial services from a to-do list item to the highest priority of their organization. Now, with digital squarely embedded into our financial ecosystem, FIs can communicate with more targeted and efficient messaging than ever before. Automating personalization comes at a pivotal time as initial data shows that many consumers that “went digital” with their financial services during the beginning of the pandemic are not returning to traditional services even after restrictions have been lifted.

Capitalizing on this digital trend with seamless online and app customer experiences that deepen existing relationships with personalized, relevant communication and applicable cross-selling leverage opportunity into growth. While some FIs have implemented the systems that streamline this type of communication, many organizations still lack an open marketing automation system that integrates into the overall digital framework of an FI to simplify their communication plan. For these organizations, 2021 is the year to add a digital experience platform that is always “on” and instantly and in an automated manner can deliver personalized communications and offers across digital channels to customers and members.

For FIs that want to dazzle, not just deliver, meaningful messages, the latest technologies allow AI-driven, personalized communications to be experienced in an immersive 3D story format that compels end user engagement. These patent-pending solutions supply rich, rapid, and relevant content that delivers unique, targeted messaging to each end user. Why would you want anything less?

3.    Continually Improve Campaign Results

Now more than ever, we know there is no way to perfectly predict (or perfectly prepare for) the future. But the best marketing plans are the flexible ones. And this doesn’t have to be a scary or expensive effort. With automation, flexibility is less expensive than it used to be. Marketing through digital channels must include rich measurable, trackable data that can easily analyze customer reactions to campaigns. It also means that community banks and credit unions can pivot messaging or update prioritization with a click, based on what the performance analytics data tells them. Miscalculated who should receive the auto loan offer?  No problem, change the audience or the campaign with the click of a button!

So, while we can never fully prepare for every scenario 2021 might bring, you can approach the year with confidence - the right planning and digital solution in place will most definitely strengthen your customer and member relationships.


DeepTarget’s Digital Experience Platform (DXP), allows credit unions and community banks to uniquely engage consumers throughout their digital banking journey with personalized messaging and smart, immersive, Financial Stories. The DXP includes DeepTarget’s patent-pending 3DStoryTeller™, discoverable AI-powered financial stories, and built-in predictive targeting. This enables financial institutions of any size to uniquely match targeted offers, financial fitness information, relevant onboarding information, and relevant community messaging to consumers based on specific financial life stages.

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