Three big adjustments to your credit union’s old marketing approach

Research from Google Think could have you rethinking everything.

The typical marketing calendar at many financial institutions has been the same for decades. FI marketers have been told, “Consumers aren’t interested in banking services in the fall. They’re too busy with the holidays to think about their accounts, tax prep, or loans.” Accordingly, marketers obliged and structured their marketing calendars based on patterns like these and what they thought their audience wanted.

But what if the assumptions we’ve made about the timing of consumers’ needs are inaccurate or outdated? 

While you probably can’t ditch that old calendar right this minute, wouldn’t it be swell if you could make some additions to your marketing mix that would help your institution drive awareness, engagement, interchange revenue, and top of wallet thinking?

Based on research from Google Think, here are three ways to adjust your marketing plan and tactics for the remainder of 2015 and beyond.

1. Sync your marketing calendar with your clients’ actual interests and needs.

The researchers at Google Think tracked internet searches for terms related to financial products, and the results might surprise you. It turns out that financial institutions’ marketing calendars are not exactly aligned with consumers’ interests. How do we know? Because consumers are searching the internet for your products and services at times that are contrary to FI marketers’ old beliefs!

For example, January is traditionally a slow marketing time for financial institutions, but Google shows that it’s a very busy month for searches on certain financial products. Here’s what people are searching for at the start of the year:

  • Home loans (January). Banks and credit unions tend to promote mortgages and home equity loans in the spring because that’s when home buying and remodeling activity heat up. However, Google Think’s data shows that first time home buyers are actually searching for information about home loans in January. Data shows that half of those searching for home loan information are Millennials, and mobile searches are increasing by 60% year over year. Could your institution increase its mortgage lending simply by spending more resources capturing attention in January?
  • Retirement (January). Perhaps it’s because people made New Year’s resolutions to stop working at age 60, or see the world when they retire. In any case, searches for “saving for retirement” or “retirement planning” peak in January.
  • Saving (January). It’s not just retirement-minded folks who are thinking about saving money in January – it’s everyone. January seems to be the month when people aspire to get on a budget. Search patterns show that people are scouring the web looking for resources to help them save, save, save! During January, they want information about 401(k) programs, HSAs, PFMs (Personal Financial Management tools like Mint, MoneyDesktop, etc) and other savings products. In my house, January is also the month when I renew my vigor for teaching my kids about financial literacy.
  • Saving Tax Refunds (March). As tax time approaches, search interest for IRAs peaks. “Where is my refund?” is a top question about finance. Could you capture this demand with a promotion for depositing tax refunds or starting a retirement account?
  • Paying For School (August). Ahhh, back to college — the perennial time of excitement for students and stress for parents. In August, Interest for college financing and student credit cards spikes.
  • Buying on credit (November). Shopping, or more correctly, how to pay for shopping, seems to be on people’s minds in November. Search interest for credit card applications peaks, and nearly 1 in 3 searches for credit cards are on a mobile device. Searches for actual gifts also starts to heat up about a week before Black Friday.
  • Gift Giving / Shopping (December). Search interest for ”credit card gift cards” and “store credit cards” peak before the holidays. And of course, in terms of real commerce and spending, December is when it goes through the roof. Now is the time to capture more interchange revenue by getting your clients to use your credit/debit cards instead of someone else’s.

By adjusting your bank or credit union’s calendar and timing with your marketing tactics, you may be able to engage more prospective clients when they need you. For an even more targeted approach to marketing to users’ needs at the right time and place, read on!


2. Map out your clients’ “Micro-Moments”. Adjusting your calendar is just the start of what you can do to satisfy more of your clients’ needs, right when they express that need. A calendar is a broad-stroke way of making the right offers to the right users at the right time and place. If you dig one more level down, you’ll realize that there are micro-calendars or “Micro-Moments” happening all day in the lives of your users and you could be there to help. If you can pinpoint when, where, and what your users need at any point during the day, you’re one stop closer to genuine 1:1 marketing, the holy grail for any marketer.

  • For example, if you know when your users are about to make a purchase, you can offer them a discount at the store if they pay with your FI’s credit or debit card.
  • If you know when they are test driving a new car, you can let them know that you have great car loan rates and even offer an incentive to finance with you.

3. Mobilize your mobile efforts.

Google Think’s research also shows that in 2014, mobile searches for financial terms (mortgages, credit cards, loans, and life insurance) grew by 48% over the previous year. Moreover, conversion rates are 58% higher on mobile than on desktop – which means people aren’t just searching, they’re transacting!

Remember, your clients (current and prospective) are busy people who are on the go. Increasingly, they are out in the world going about their daily routines, when they think to themselves, “Hey, I need to pay for lunch on a credit card,” or “My car is eight years old. It’s time to buy a new one.”

Mobile efforts need to be a huge part of your marketing calendar for the end of 2015 and for all years to come. Will your financial institution be there at the right time and right place when your users need you?

Read more about connecting with your users at the right time and place.

Four Tips to Win Your Users’ “Micro-Moments”

Eleven Tactics To Shift Marketing Dollars to Mobile

How Financial Institutions Can Attract Mindful Mobile Millennials?

Gregg Hammerman

Gregg Hammerman

Developed the initial concept for Larky based on the impossibility of remembering and my discounts/perks from AAA, Blue Cross, Visa, Amex, my alumni association, museum memberships, and more. Performed ... Web: Details