Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of participating in the Massachusetts Banking Association’s annual New England conference in Newport. It was an opportunity to learn about strategic trends and developments in banking and rub elbows with a large number of local and regional bank CEOs and industry experts.
The entire speaker line up was as impressive as any conference I’ve been to in recent memory. One standout was Mary Beth Sullivan of Capital Performance Group. She spoke expertly about trends in bank marketing and the imperatives banks face in acquiring and retaining customers. From my perspective, it struck me how well branded finance podcasting matched up with her observations and data, and how it can be employed to address the significant challenges that marketing professionals face. Let’s dive into some or her key assertions and where the alignment points are:
There is a significant shift in banking’s role from understanding risk to offering advice.
This appears to be a key pillar in the transactions-to-relationships transition. Yet later in the presentation she force ranked the sources from which consumers and business receive advice, listing 9 such resources. Topping the lists were lawyers, accountants, and others business. Wander down the list, and there you’ll find bankers, a few spots below Google.
I spent some time afterwards looking at the websites of the banks whose executives I spoke to, and I actually found a few with credible financial education sections, but less prominently displayed than promotions of interest rates on various accounts. In general, the information was text based and relatively dry, which led me to think, “Who’s reading this?” Wouldn’t it be more compelling and memorable to get this information through a story or case study via a podcast? The customer would get more information through a more entertaining medium, and the bank would have the undivided attention of the customer for 25 to 35 minutes on average.
61% of small businesses would rather take a DIY approach to banking than engage in personal consultive interaction.
Wow…that’s an eye-opener, and a paradox at the same time! I say paradox in that these businesses may want to “have their cake and eat it, too”; they still need financial advice but don’t have the time to talk to anyone. And given the growth of digital banking cited throughout the talk; they may not need to. I see podcasting addressing the paradox. A podcast Episode can be listened to at the customer’s leisure, the listener has options for the Episodes they choose to hear, and can stop and start at any time.
Later in the presentation, Mary Beth split up actions that marketing professionals could take into “easy” and “hard”. “Building content for self-directed advice” was at or close to the top of the “easy” bucket. That having been said, podcasting does take some level of time and commitment, but once Episodes are recorded, the information scales well, as opposed to holding webinars for finite groups of people. You’ll need a sound podcast strategy and concept, and enlisting a podcast production services firm will ease the load.
Long term banking relationships all come down to trust, but a certain kind of trust.
My favorite Mary Beth line of the day? Long-term banking relationships are all about “instinctive trust based on warmth and competence”. Competence is the more obvious part, but warmth is perhaps the real key, and may be a critical differentiator, because it focuses on emotion, and my guess is that “banking” and “warmth” wouldn’t be a winning combination in a word association contest. Podcasting provides a more effective vehicle for projecting this feeling, as people react more viscerally to human interaction and the medium of audio, as compared to a pure digital mode of communication. And a company-sponsored financial podcast associates the brand with these positive emotions.
Banking on podcasting’s role in reducing churn and accelerating customer engagements
- Customer churn drives the economics of bank profitability, which was one key factor in the financial model he laid out. Getting a customer hooked on financial information makes the relationship “sticky”, and podcasting is one of the more addictive vehicles for consuming information.
- It takes 3 years from a customer opening their first account until they open a second account, and 10 years to opening a third. That’s a long time, so how do banks provide value in the interim? Are there ways to accelerate this? Podcasting may not be THE way to keep the customer engaged, but it could be one of the more innovative tools to do so.
There were also other great sessions in Newport, including readouts on regulatory developments, a summary of macroeconomic trends, and a highly entertaining session on AI by Gene Marks of the Marks Group. All in all, a productive use of time away from the office, and an affirmation that branded financial podcasting is headed in the right direction.
Whether you’re in banking, in another form of financial institution, or just interested in podcasting in general, I’m always available to kick around ideas for a podcast series. Please feel to reach out to us via our Contact form or at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit our website at www.gomodpod.com.