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Fostering Trust: How Financial Services Marketers can Continue Driving Revenue while Guiding Customers through Economic Uncertainty

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If you’ve opened the New York Times on any given day this year, you've seen general confusion about where the economy is heading. Gas prices and the lingering effects of supply chain issues caused inflation to spike early. From there, the global economy has braced itself against even more setbacks, including the war in Ukraine. This caused consternation for both consumers and economic experts.

 The positive job reports coming out of the U.S. this year made everything more confusing, causing many analysts to rethink whether the global economy is barreling toward another global recession.

 We may not be in a full-blown recession, but inflation and the bear market have left their mark on consumer confidence. When the economy is on shaky ground, people don’t spend money like they used to.

 FinServ marketers will need to quickly shift tactics to ensure they meet the moment, maintain customer trust, and offer products and services that keep your brand top of mind.

Lean into Financial Support

Those who came of age during the great recession of 2008 are now experiencing their third “unprecedented” economic disruption of their lives. And there is still so much people do not understand about inflation, bear markets, and the possibility of a long-term recession.

 Consumers need to know how the headlines and price increases affect their lives. This puts marketers in a position of trust, and the right experience can turn your brand into a trusted confidante. Spending is declining. Credit card debt is rising. How will you guide your customers toward a healthier financial position?

 Think of your digital marketing as a daily dose of financial wellness. You now have the opportunity to create personalized email campaigns that assuage customer anxieties, help maintain timely credit card payments, and guide them through how inflation will affect their daily lives.

 Of course, how economic fluctuations impact a customer depends on their unique circumstances. Segmentation alone won't build the trust your customers want. You'll need to analyze every data point and integrate 1:1 messaging into each campaign.

Here is an example of how Inkredible Financial uses zero-party data to build its 1:1 financial wellness and education marketing. The email below shows a poll sent to customers to better understand each person’s unique financial needs.

No matter what economic scenario the client faces, subsequent emails highlight their individual preferences via tailored educational materials that are automatically pulled from Inkredible Financial's website.

From Upselling to Cross-selling

When the market is booming, FinServ marketers are in an enviable position. Market confidence is high, and consumers are looking for new ways to increase or diversify the ways they spend. Whether it’s opening a credit card, taking out a new mortgage, or exploring investment opportunities people are looking to spend.

 But when the economy turns, marketers need to shift focus if they are going to meet consumer needs at the current moment.

 Inflation is causing discretionary spending to decrease while interest rate hikes are making savings accounts more enticing to consumers. For those reasons, savings rates have climbed to levels not seen since 2009.

 Most people are also changing their relationship to credit card spending. There was a 6.4% increase in credit card balances between Q1 and Q2, according to research on Canadian consumers. Consumers are also turning to secondary credit cards to cover the costs of inflation with a 35% increase in secondary card spending since 2017.

 In other words, spending habits have shifted. While it seems obvious that financial services marketers should accommodate these general changes, true customer-centricity requires using customer data to reach customers based on their specific spending habits.

 Some people will easily ride out the economic turmoil while others will be deeply affected. For that reason, simple segmentation alone may not cut it. Marketers should shift their perspective by using data to match every customer with a 1:1 marketing experience that drives revenue.

 Almost every FinServ brand has savings and credit card options that consumers could use during hard economic times. It’s up to digital marketers to create 1:1 email and mobile messages that differentiate your product from the one down the street.

Doing More with Less

Ask any digital marketer, and they’ll tell you they are overworked. Ever since the pandemic began, it has probably felt like you couldn’t keep up, didn’t have enough resources, and were doing the job of two people.

 Unfortunately, the possibility of a recession will force marketers to take on even more. FinServ marketing leaders will need to evaluate their tech stack and prioritize new investments that allow their team to automate as much of the campaign and personalization process as possible.

 You can do more with less. Many organizations are prioritizing marketing technology that provides ease and simplicity, such as no-code solutions and automation, cutting out as many processes as possible.

Conclusion

FinServ marketers are in a position to guide their customers through the possible economic roller coaster ahead of us. With interest rates continuing to rise and layoffs potentially following, marketers will need to reimagine their digital marketing strategies to take into account every consumer’s financial situation.

 The brands that come out on top will be the ones that create unique, 1:1 digital marketing campaigns that focus on the customer, not the business. But with marketing budgets and headcount potentially dwindling in 2023, marketing leaders will need to get strategic about their martech budget and ensure that new technologies both personalize the customer experience and ease the workload of already strapped teams.

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