Digital Marketing Is No Longer Optional, says Kristin Harrison

November 10, 2022

  • Digital marketing has become more vital than ever. If you want to stand out in a saturated market, get ready to improve your marketing strategies and make your organization more consumer-focused.
  • The key to success is creating consumer-first experiential marketing strategies.
  • Many CEOs don’t understand the impact marketing can have on their organizations. It’s imperative to change that as soon as possible.

In today’s digital age, digital marketing has become a necessity. If you want to improve your FI’s online presence, maximize your ROI, and increase retention, you need to have a smart digital marketing strategy.

What does an effective strategy look like? Is it possible to compete with the giant players in the market? How do you stand out in today’s saturated marketplace? Our podcast guest Kristin Harrison addressed these burning topics and shared her thoughts on FI marketing.

How do you stand out in a saturated market?

Competition in the financial services space is more fierce than it’s ever been – from both traditional and non-traditional financial providers. To win at this ever-changing game, your institution needs to effectively leverage all avai;lable tools.

Digital marketing is the best way to improve your institution’s online presence and create more meaningful relationships with your accountholders. It all boils down to customer experience, connection and making people feel valued and appreciated. Don’t run away from digital marketing. Instead, embrace it because it’s the best way to win in the long run.

“Why does Capital One do it and (many smaller Fis) don’t do it? They can,” said Kristin Harrison, Director of Business Development at Web Strategies. “It’s just that they don’t, and that’s the shift that we need to make. We need to start thinking like tech companies, because we’ve got cash apps, we’ve got Apple Pay, we’ve got Venmo. Everything is coming out of the woodwork, and I just really see a big shift happening in the next handful of years that I want to prepare them for. I don’t want to run from it.”

Regardless of budget, we can all play in the same arena

Digital marketing levels the playing field for smaller institutions. “Everyone can put out a Google ad. Everyone can put out a video,” said Harrison. “The asset size, branch size, or how many members you have — these things don’t matter so much. They matter, but they matter a little bit less when it comes to digital marketing, because you can still serve the same products, and you can market the exact same way. Really, the biggest differentiator is that you need to have a progressive mindset and don’t let anything hold you back. But the landscape is exactly the same.”

Experiential marketing: People want to feel heard and seen

Harrison says that consumers want to feel heard and seen. They want their financial institution to understand their needs even before they do. Experiential marketing is the future. To become more consumer-focused, community financial institutions need to embrace technology.

“Technology is understanding who you are and your needs,” said Harrison. “If you don’t get on board with that, and you continue to look at marketing and sales like this anathema or ball and chain, or just a pain or something that you don’t want to deal with, then that’s not going to get you happy (accountholders) and new loans. And I think marketing and sales also need to do a better job of working closely together.”

Social media marketing is free and effective

Harrison talked about the strengths of social media and why it’s a must for credit unions. “This is an information world, and if a 14-year-old can use TikTok to create social change and social justice and cause a rise around the world a year ago, you’re capable of having a TikTok message that’s gonna resonate with your audience, whether it’s professionally shot or you’re walking around your branch with your iPhone,” she said.

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