Accelerator: Supporting Customer Acquisition and Retention

By Charles Potts

In today’s economy, community bankers are looking more and more to their digital channels for new customer opportunities, especially those with the desire to attract mobile-focused millennials and Generation Z, or centennials as they are sometimes called. The numbers on digital spend, however, indicate there is room to grow.

A WebStrategies 2019 Community Bank Marketing Survey shows that most community banks spend less than 20 percent of their marketing budget on digital marketing. This lags behind other industries, where there is more spending on digital marketing than traditional advertising.

Amidst this move to digital, the face of marketing has changed. No longer solely about reaching audiences with the right message, marketers must consider how to provide a customized experience. For example, a recent Salesforce report unveiled that 88 percent of customers are willing to share data for personalized offers, and 62 percent of consumers now expect companies to anticipate their needs. 


Customizing the Customer Experience

So much rides on the customer experience, and community banks that get that right are positioned to bolster retention and institutional growth.  That’s one important reason why the area of marketing played out as a critical topic to address in our second annual ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program. A number of the fintech companies that we brought to the table help banks target customers in a more profitable, personalized fashion.

For example, Fintel Connect prides itself on helping community banks promote their businesses online in a results-based, cost-effective way – in some cases helping banks lower their average cost to acquire new customers by 67 percent. Founder Nicky Senyard says the solution can be leveraged by banks of all sizes and provides access to a wide range of digital outlets and influencers, with tools to help track and measure campaign performance.

Geo-targeting, or marketing to potential audiences based on location, offers another approach for community banks whose efforts center on key geographic segments.  Enter Accelerator company Griffin Technologies, which offers a location-based marketing and analytics solution. Beyond acquisition targeting, the solution helps banks support their existing customers in making buying decisions, according to Donald Hawkins, the founder and CEO. And statistics show potential in exploring this enhanced support approach: nearly half of consumers (48 percent) want banks to play a role in the purchasing process for non-banking products.

Our third  participant with a marketing focus, FI Works offers smart software for banks that provides insights into the best targets for revenue and customer relationships. By combining clean, integrated data from customer and prospect lists with predictive analytics for strategic targeting, and representing them in focused work queues, scorecards, and dashboards, FI Works helps level the playing field for community banks, according to founder Keith Henkel. In essence, it helps make sense of existing data and prioritizes it to enhance results.


Making an Impact

From marketing to retention to anticipating customer needs, these Accelerator companies have something in common: working to better the customer experience, says Alice Frazier, president and CEO of $516-million-asset BCT-Bank of Charles Town in Charles Town, W. Va.

“We're all trying to find a way to reach out and connect with the customer in different ways. I think many of the companies offer us a unique way to do so but at a price and deliverable we can manage as a community bank,” she says.

And that, in a nutshell, is the goal of the Accelerator program.

To learn more about Fintel Connect, Griffin Technologies, FI Works and the complete Accelerator cohort, join us at the ICBA ThinkTECH Showcase during ICBA LIVE®.

Charles Potts is senior vice president and chief innovation officer.