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What to consider for your 2023 marketing budget plan

By: Kenna Smith, VP, B2C Marketing, PSCU

It’s that time of year when marketing teams begin reviewing how to develop the budget ask for the upcoming year. It can be a hard needle to thread, as you must consider the balance between what works every year with the need for your financial institution to stay competitive in the market.

Often, when organizations work on marketing budget decisions, they look at what is a “must-have” versus a “nice to have” and plan accordingly. What is “mission-critical” versus what would be “a bonus” to include if time and budget allow? Don’t forget the possibility of unforeseen economic uncertainty throwing wrinkles into the best laid marketing plans, especially in the current dynamic environment.

Gone are the days of marketing being about the brand and messages you send out to promote your financial institution. Financial institutions should future-proof themselves and be proactive in the event of unexpected circumstances – and marketing budgeting decisions are an important part of this.

When thinking about the next year, do you keep in mind how the financial services industry is continually changing to meet the ever-evolving needs and expectations of your cardholders? Has your financial institution started to think about how they will keep up with the following future trends?

  • Gen Z and the future of payments – This generation is the future, and you’ll need to meet their preferences and expectations. You will need new tactics that show your financial institution is innovative and ahead of the curve. Does your financial institution give them a sense of pride in who they bank with?
  • The Metaverse – McKinsey has said that the Metaverse could generate trillions of dollars by 2030 through branding alone within these worlds. Will your financial institution be ready to engage with cardholders in this new virtual space?
  • Face-to-face virtual experiences – Personal interaction and experiences are still king. While consumers may be more accustomed – and even expect – to see virtual service options now, that doesn’t mean that you should settle with standard cookie-cutter offerings. How can you make your virtual interactions and service stand out to continue generating the deeper level of relationships that your financial institution is known for?
  • Helpful tools – Do you have the right tools on your website to create a positive cardholder experience?
  • Customer data platforms – Do you have real-time data available? How are you able create the level of segmentation needed to market to your cardholders through their preferred channel? Are you tracking data at the preferred channel level?

Is your financial institution ready for, or has even begun to think about, the above trends? While we may not know exactly how our services will need to change to keep up with such trends, the constant we can count on is that we will have to continually evolve and innovate to keep up and stay competitive.

One of the best ways to be proactive and ready to meet the evolving needs of your cardholders is to build a strong foundation based on robust and integrated data from which your financial institution can evolve and grow. From there, you can lay out a tentative roadmap to guide your future efforts.

In today’s data-driven world, your financial institution’s marketing is only as good as your data. In my work with financial institutions across the United States, I’ve seen that many struggle with this data gap, along with overall digital product integration across the organization. While some financial institutions are further along in addressing this gap than others, the majority struggle with tracking their cardholders’ engagement, which limits the ability to successfully measure marketing efforts to make sure they are efficient and the best use of budget.

For example, perhaps one part of your marketing strategy will be to promote a solution that has not yet seemed to take off at your financial institution. The first step would be to consider why – why have the benefits of the solution not resonated with your target cardholders? Could it be that the target audience was not being reached by past marketing efforts? Do you need to switch to a different channel? Data will help answer those questions and guide future marketing and promotional decisions. Can some of your marketing dollars be earmarked to help get your financial institution to where you want it to be with your digital and data integration?

The good news is you do not need to accomplish digital and data integration by yourself. Financial institutions have multiple vendors and partners who are available to help you get to the next step in your journey. Reach out and ask how they can assist you with achieving a digital and data foundation to keep up with how fast the industry is growing. Those who can build a strong data foundation will be better positioned to reimagine how to meet the future needs of cardholders through a more robust marketing engine.

Kenna Smith is Vice President of B2C Marketing at PSCU. In this role, she oversees B2C marketing, automation, and operations for PSCU. Smith has over 25 years of marketing, product and operations experience in the financial services industry.

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