Whether it’s a lack of trust or an absence of enthusiasm (not everyone loves their bank), financial institutions face more than a few challenges on their way to building loyalty with customers. These industry-specific obstacles are precisely why it’s important that brands take advantage of every opportunity to strengthen connections.
To leap past these hurdles, many financial services companies have turned to experiential marketing — the use of experiences to market a product or service — to build stronger relationships with their customers. The success of these campaigns comes down to a few key components of the experiences they create.
Be exclusive and inclusive
Consumers expect to be rewarded for their spending, so what better way to do that than with unique, personalized experiences? When it comes to exclusive experiences, few do it better than American Express. From early access to tickets for concerts, sporting events, and theater to just about everything else you can imagine, Amex hooks its customers up with the perks. But its experiential efforts go well beyond these exclusive member offerings.
Take Small Business Saturday, for example. To support and promote its small business customers (along with other small businesses), the credit card company created a holiday just for them on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. This show of support not only builds trust with current small business customers, it showcases that relationship for a whole market of shoppers. Whether you go big or go small (as in, small business), finding ways to connect with each of your customers in a way that’s valuable to them is a surefire way to create loyalty.
Maintain a personal touch
On the flip side, smaller gestures to build trust (and ultimately, loyalty) can have as much impact as big, bold, exclusive experiences within financial services. Personal connections with customers can be as simple as a thank you. (Special rates, discounts, and bonus points for loyalty also work well.) That’s what TD Bank does every year with its #TDThankYou campaign to celebrate customer appreciation day in its Canadian market.
The campaign includes personalized experiences (trips, tickets, etc.) for some customers (delivered via ATM — Automated Thanking Machine) and thousands more received $20 as a show of thanks, either via email or in person at certain branches. If you’re wondering what impact $20 and a simple thank you can have, the campaign has seen as much as a 26% increase in brand affinity. Incorporate personal touches to show appreciation, surprise, delight, and connect with your customers in a way that goes beyond transactions to strengthen loyalty over time.
Create value for everyone
To inspire loyalty with current and potential customers, experiential marketing needs to include opportunities with real value. In recent years, many financial institutions have taken a very different experiential approach by helping customers improve their financial health. This is another space where Amex is charging ahead with its American Express Open Forum blog, which features insights on saving, investing, and other money tips. But they’re by no means alone in this movement.
Just this past March, HSBC launched a new financial wellness offering, “to benefit individuals, corporate partners, and community organizations.” The program, which includes both an online platform and in-person workshops, is available to everyone, whether they’re a customer or not. When it comes to inspiring loyalty, demonstrating that you care — about customers and non-customers alike — is a solid place to start.
From loyalty cards and cashback offers to discounts, upgrades, and even free nights and flights for loyal credit card users, the world of finance is full of opportunities to inspire loyalty — but few pack the same punch as experiences that delight, motivate, and deliver real value for consumers. By creating memorable moments for their customers (and potential customers), banks, credit unions, credit card companies, and other financial services brands can create connections that last.
Contact Marigold Engage+ here if you’re ready to invest in experiential marketing for your business.