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Back to the Financial Future: Omnichannel Marketing in Banking

This article was updated on July 6, 2021

Sure, lots of banking customers like their banks, but how many feel they have a close, intimate relationship with their favorite financial institution? And how can a bank build that kind of relationship with its clients?

With its ability to integrate APIs and connect channels of communication, omnichannel marketing is a vital part of enhancing customer experiences.

In today's banking world, "omnichannel marketing" is an oft-heard buzzword. Most banks — and most other businesses, too — have established multiple channels, including websites, apps, SMS, social media, email, and brick-and-mortar branches, all of which allow them to reach customers in a number of direct and indirect ways.

Unlike multi-channel marketing, though, an omnichannel approach connects and integrates these channels as part of a seamless and enhanced customer engagement strategy, using a singular platform to store customer data. When omnichannel marketing is implemented correctly, businesses can tailor content directly to specific demographics or customer locations and access analytics to improve the customer experience even further. As banking becomes increasingly competitive and tech-forward, with some banks doing away with brick-and-mortar locations altogether and instead opting for personalized SMS and email communications, omnichannel marketing can be a game-changing strategy — and one that helps banks gain a leg up on the competition.

Right Customers, Right Time

One of the main benefits of omnichannel is its ability to connect several channels through one platform. Because of its connectivity, omnichannel marketing delivers streamlined service tailored to the specific needs of a particular demographic or buyer behavior. With services like VonageReach in place, banks can develop automated drip campaigns that use SMS, email, voice, or social media to deliver personalized messages at every stage of a sales cycle. What's more, the bank can customize these messages across all channels, making sure not only that the campaign is specific to the intended audience, but also that the customer encounters the same user experience through each channel.

For example, consider a banking campaign marketing a new credit card that comes with an airline points rewards program; each use of the credit card gains the holder a specific number of airline mileage points, in time adding up to major travel savings. The bank could use omnichannel features such as VonageReach's Smart Targeting to segment their broader audience based on buying behavior, targeting customers who would most benefit from this type of rewards program like frequent travelers. Smart Targeting would also allow the bank to send automated messages when a target audience enters a specific location, such as an airport, reaching the right customers at the right time in the right way.

In this example, the bank could send SMS and email messages highlighting the major aspects of the credit card rewards program, then follow up with social media campaigns or voice-based messaging. Because each channel is connected, the bank is able to store data collected through these channels in one location, streamlining all interactions with customers by keeping track of their communications. With omnichannel marketing, not only is the bank shortening their sales cycle by providing highly relevant offers directly to a targeted audience, they are also seamlessly collecting information for future campaigns.

Modern banks can aspire to cultivate one-to-one relationships with their customers using an omnichannel platform to improve customer engagement, connecting with them on their terms and on their own time.

Changing the Channel

Building an omnichannel marketing approach can be tough, but keeping these principles in mind can ensure a financial institution best enhances their customers' communications experience:

  1. One Outcome — Sometimes banks feel that they should use differentiated outcomes as a means of incentivizing customer engagement through one channel over another, but this approach is contrary to a truly integrated omnichannel offering. With email, chat, voice, and in-person communications all connected, the outcome of one channel should match the outcome of another, providing the customer with a streamlined experience. With personalized and automated messaging, the bank can market a specific mortgage loan service in branch for a high-yield savings account that a customer can use to pay toward that mortgage through an email drip campaign. In the end, the customer receives personalized messages through multiple channels, and the bank drives the customer toward the same sales outcome. And with APIs integrating services like VonageReach into an already-existing CRM, the bank can eliminate the need to manually transfer collected data from one system to the next, saving time and effort and ultimately working to improve customer engagement in the future.
  2. One Service Level — Even though omnichannel is meant to integrate various channels of communication, customers tend to interact with some channels more frequently than others. For example, a customer may physically visit their branch quarterly but check their banking app daily. Successful omnichannel approaches account for any imbalances by providing real-time comprehensive analytics, allowing AI or human reps to reach customers through the most-used channel, connecting with them in the ways they are most comfortable with.
  3. One Goal — Good omnichannel aims to streamline marketing for both customers and the banking team. VonageReach allows banks to give differing levels of access to features and tools to different employees at the financial institution. While the marketing manager might need full access to analytical reports on a campaign, for instance, the branch managers might only need access to specific language used in offers and communications. Ultimately, though, each member of the team uses their position in the omnichannel pipeline to work towards one common goal, and with real-time analytics and API integrations, the team can regularly assess how their division of access is helping them reach that goal.

(Re)building Customer Relationships

When modern banking was created over 600 years ago, it was very much a business based on relationships, where the customer and the banker interacted on a direct channel, in real time, and with access to rich and detailed data. As people became more portable through the years, however, this directness and intimacy have frequently been lost.

Modern banks can aspire to cultivate one-on-one relationships similar to those of yesteryear with their customers by using an omnichannel platform to improve customer engagement, connecting with them on their terms and on their own time.

Alessandro Hatami
Alessandro Hatami Contributor

<p>Alessandro is the Managing Partner of Pacemakers, a research and strategy firm dedicated to enabling large firms to deliver successful digital change through partnering.</p><p>Prior to Pacemakers, he was the COO of Digital Banking and Group Innovation Director at Lloyds Banking Group, the UK’s largest retail and commercial bank. He was also the MD of a large EU payment processor and Director Large Merchant Services at PayPal the global alternative payments platform.</p><p>He started his career in financial services as European Marketing Director at GE Capital. Alessandro is a mentor of several FinTech start-ups working with Techstars, Seedcamp, Startupbootcamp in London and Kickstarter in Zurich. He is also an investor in several early-stage technology and FinTech companies.</p>

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