Community banks witnessed a number of emerging marketing trends and transformations throughout the pandemic. Financially, many community banks did well due to the massive injection of liquidity from the Payment Protection Program and other stimulus programs. In the months ahead, community banks will be under pressure to grow and sustain the previous year’s performance in an increasingly competitive market. Below are the six marketing trends that could help your bank respond to shifting economic conditions and new market demands.

1.    The hybrid model is the future

Branches are excellent marketing tools for community banks because they provide great opportunities to engage customers. With 85% of Americans now using a mobile device to check their bank balance, branches are being used less for daily interactions. But a hybrid branch/digital model can ensure members access the best of both worlds and always feel their community bank anticipates their needs. A few community banks are trying to bring back the heyday of branches by making them an engaging hangout with increased digital services – from interactive kiosks to digital financial education modules.

2.    Digital transformation is the key

Community banks need to embrace digital innovation and will have to focus harder on more efficient, effective, and enjoyable methods of digital engagement. While the in-branch experience is becoming more digital to attract customers, community banks are adjusting marketing strategies to explore and put a greater onus on engaging with customers through more digital channels.

3.    Use data and analytics to expand capabilities

Community banks must use in-house data to create meaningful segments and targeted campaigns to serve their customers better and grow revenue. It starts by moving banking relationships from transactional and advisory functions to more predictive capabilities. Banks’ in-house customer and transactional data can quickly help banks automatically make sense of all the information at their fingertips.

4.    Personalize digital campaigns based on data

Data and personalization go together. With the correct data at your fingertips, personalization becomes easy and lucrative. For example, knowing how money is moving in and out of a financial institution can help your community bank identify suitable candidates for preferred rates on home loans or lines of credit. These offers can then be automatically advertised directly to the consumer using digital marketing.

5.    Content marketing is still the king

Community banks can continue to expect that content is a crucial way to keep customers engaged and fortify a sense of trust and brand loyalty. By offering valuable financial advice that helps and educates your leads and customers, you can let them move toward a more informed buying decision. For example, digital financial education modules, blogs, or guides offer a great way to deliver relevant education to your customers.

6.    Use technology to maximize efficiency

Doing more with less is a bedrock issue for community banks, and technology offers new ways to find greater efficiencies.  For example, many organizations are automating routine, repetitive tasks with robotic process automation (RPA). In the same way, data integration, real-time capabilities, and self-service tools maximize efficiencies for community banks while enhancing the financial services experience for consumers.

Conclusion

Community banks once knew the names of nearly every retail and commercial customer who walked into a branch. But now, personal connections are built and maintained through new storefronts, digital touchpoints, and experiences. Bank marketing strategies must evolve at the pace of change to stay relevant to the modern consumer.

Key Takeaways