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Top 4 Challenges of Marketing for Financial Institutions (And How to Solve Them)

Sarah Mealey, Lead Client Success Manager


Recently, Alkami surveyed 26 financial marketers at regional banks and community credit unions to ask this question: why is leveraging data for marketing for financial institutions so hard to do? 


From this research, we found four key themes that keep emerging:

  • Unlocking data for marketing
  • Making data easy to use
  • Winning the next generation of account holders
  • Proving the return-on-investment (ROI) of your marketing investment


As part of the data and marketing track at Alkami Co:lab 2024, we spoke with marketing professionals from regional and community financial institutions. They discussed how Alkami’s Data & Marketing Solutions help them address these challenges of marketing for financial institutions on a daily basis.


Unlock Data

With Alkami’s Data & Marketing Solutions, understanding your market and competitors is faster and more accurate. This access to detailed audience data means marketing for financial institutions can be agile, tailoring strategies to what the data reveals about account holders’ needs and behaviors.

The ability to swiftly and accurately identify market needs and track competitor activities has enabled more effective marketing strategies, ultimately enhancing the financial institution’s competitive edge.

Emily Stewart, director of digital marketing & analytics at Meritrust Credit Union, appreciates the ability to have all the data available to her marketing team. “We have a great business intelligence team, but they’re bogged down with the enterprise needs,” Stewart said. “When we wanted to create audiences based on the needs of the market, we would get lists that took too long to receive and weren’t accurate due to uncleansed data. We spent a lot of time just trying to get the basics. Now we have it all at our fingertips.”


Make It Easy

Alkami’s Data & Marketing Solutions doesn’t only empower marketers with access to data, but it also streamlines operations. Automating previously manual processes can save countless hours by managing campaign lists efficiently, ensuring messages reach the right people at the right time without the manual hassle.

According to Todd Petelle, digital experience manager at 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, Alkami’s Data & Marketing Solutions support more streamlined, automated campaign processes. “Before Alkami, every month we would run a campaign for a month, pull the data out, and hope a member didn’t receive that message for a second or third time,” Petelle said. “Alkami’s marketing tool allows for less manual list loading and automatically drops members in and out of those communications and campaigns.”


Win Gen Z

Another benefit of Alkami’s Data & Marketing Solutions is helping financial institutions appeal to younger generations, such as Generation Z (Gen Z). By analyzing what these account holders save for and when they’re likely to open accounts, financial institutions can create offers and messages that resonate, capturing their attention in a crowded market.

Kate Purdy, marketing & public relations vice president at Signal Financial Federal Credit Union, said, “You have to know your audiences. So we have all these touchpoints to know what they are saving for. Are we matching what we’re doing for marketing and content with what the data is telling us they’re interested in? We can put the content in front of them, but if it’s not using language they’re interested in or we’re not talking on the channels they’re interested in beyond online banking, we’re going to lose that audience and likely not find potential members.” 

“For the past few months, we’ve been working on that digital first impression. That’s how people find us,” Purdy continued. “They’re going to a website to find who we are and might not even go into a branch. With the younger generations, there’s an awareness they need to see.”

For campaign timing, analyzing past account openings can reveal trends to support the best window to launch your marketing campaign. Stewart said, “We all have seasonality within our portfolio. The second school is out, boom, we get more checking accounts. We assumed it was a seasonality bump. But then we realized it was the parents bringing in Gen Z’ers at spring break, winter break, and summer break.” 

With that insight, Stewart and her team were able to launch campaigns to the right members at exactly the right time. Stewart said, “What can we do during those times to drive more traffic? By having that segmentation at our fingertips, we created more promotions, emails, and awareness. We wanted them to know you don’t need to be 18 to get a checking account or debit card, and you don’t need to go to Green Light, Chime or Venmo.”


Prove ROI

The journey to demystify marketing’s impact and articulate its value in terms that resonate with both finance teams and c-suite executives is fraught with challenges. The diverse vernacular of impressions, conversions, and clicks often feels like a foreign language to the uninitiated.

How do you connect marketing activities like ads and clicks to real financial results, such as loans and account growth? It’s an intricate puzzle, attempting to correlate specific campaigns or ads to tangible financial outcomes, such as loan conversions. The challenge lies in translating marketing metrics into the financial outcomes that matter to executives and board members.

Stewart added, “When we talk about campaign effectiveness, the Alkami marketing platform tells us who is taking action that we identified as an audience was a game changer for us.”

Proving marketing’s value in banking doesn’t have to be a complex puzzle. Alkami’s Data & Marketing Solutions offer a clear path to understanding and demonstrating ROI, fostering better collaboration between marketing and finance. It’s about making informed decisions that drive growth, all while speaking a language that everyone in your organization can understand.


Key Takeaways for Financial Institution Marketers

From this conversation, we discovered a few key recommendations to level up marketing for financial institutions:

  • Fueling campaign effectiveness and efficiency with data-driven marketing automation
  • Enabling full-cycle campaign attribution reporting to measure the real results of your marketing efforts
  • Matching your marketing content and channels to what younger generations prefer, such as social media and virtual consultations
  • Finding a common language for marketing ROI that your leadership team can understand


With these suggestions, you can supercharge your marketing to become the growth driver for your institution.

author avatar
Sarah Mealey is a Lead Client Success Manager at Alkami.
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