#Digital transformation

Marketing for banks: CMO panel on client acquisition

Oct 19, 2023 - 4 min read
Neetu Wadia, Chief Marketing Officer at Sopra Banking Software
  • In terms of retention, grasping peoples’ needs is paramount, including: Fixing the basics, prioritizing features, focusing on relationships.
  • A Chief Marketing Officer’s pain points include: Onboarding prospects effectively, retaining customers, ensuring their lifecycle is enriching, developing enough services, lowering attrition rates.
  • To attract and retain customers, technology makes a big difference, whether it’s leveraging artificial intelligence or learning from social media. Being efficient and data-driven rank highly as well, ensuring consumers are understood throughout their full lifecycle. And then there’s personalization: Targeting the right customers and building optimal products that are adjustable to varying requirements.

The digital-and tech-forward world we live in, where consumer expectations are evolving and intensifying, hugely impacts customer acquisition and retention when it comes to banking. Open and marketplace banking also play a role, influencing where people take their business. And with a range of companies vying for attention – incumbents, fintechs, neobanks, challenger banks, and digital-native outfits – competition is fierce.

We invited financial services and technology experts to explore client acquisition and retention – below are their valuable insights about marketing for banks.

Customer acquisition & retention: challenges & solutions

Technology is more embedded in everyday lives than ever. Meanwhile, the digital arena has changed significantly and continues to rapidly evolve.

Beyza Koyas, BNP Paribas

With that in mind, Beyza Koyas, Head of Global Business Line – Banking at BNP Paribas Personal Finance, delves into the core issues banks face.

“What matters is matching the perception of our brand and customer expectations with the reality we offer,” says Koyas. For example, when it comes to onboarding and know your customer (KYC) checks, simplicity and speed are important, but so are thorough compliance processes. “It’s all about finding the balance between providing expected service levels and meeting regulatory requirements,” adds Koyas.

Another vital aspect involves digital marketing: Following prospects through the funnel, from first appearance to completion. By doing that, employees can respond to consumers’ needs, and proactively contact them if they abandon a product or service part-way through their journey to find out why – for example, perhaps the experience wasn’t “fluent enough”.

Koyas believes using data to understand consumer expectations is crucial, enabling BNP Paribas to learn what attracts and detracts. “We constantly analyze customer feedback, through surveys and social media,” she says.

Similarly, in terms of retention, grasping peoples’ needs is paramount, including the following:

  • Fixing the basics – streamlining and quickening processes, creating customer satisfaction.
  • Prioritizing features – improving the customer journey, increasing retention while reducing churn.
  • Focusing on relationships – providing suitable and bespoke options, implementing solutions speedily, and cultivating long-term connections.

Graph: In terms of retention, grasping peoples’ needs is paramount, including: Fixing the basics, prioritizing features, focusing on relationships.

Angela Mwirigi, KCB Bank Group

According to Angela Mwirigi, Director of Digital Financial Services at KCB Bank Group, a Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO’s) pain points include the following:

  • Onboarding prospects effectively.
  • Retaining customers.
  • Ensuring their lifecycle is enriching.
  • Developing enough services.
  • Lowering attrition rates.

“It’s just as easy to exit a digital product as it is to join one,” says Mwirigi. To attract and retain customers, technology makes a big difference, whether it’s leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) or learning from social media.

Understanding their Sub-Saharan customer base is essential too, be it younger, digitally-savvy clientele, traditional consumers, or micro businesses – each requires a different approach.

As a 126-year-old institution, KCB Bank Group also contends with legacy systems. Mwirigi advocates a “separation” – creating an agile digital arm that utilizes AI for big data management and analysis. “I don’t want to be bogged down by existing systems,” she says.

Graph: A Chief Marketing Officer's (CMO’s) pain points include the following: Onboarding prospects effectively, retaining customers, ensuring their lifecycle is enriching, developing enough services, lowering attrition rates.

Jérémie Rosselli, N26

General Manager at N26 France & Benelux, Jérémie Rosselli says acquisition and retention are “part of the same equation”. And so, understanding the full customer experience (CX) and providing people with innovative and frictionless products and services are critical.

Being efficient and data-driven rank highly as well, ensuring consumers are understood throughout their full lifecycle. And then there’s personalization: Targeting the right customers and building optimal products that are adjustable to varying requirements.

For instance, “N26 Spaces” lets customers create and individually configure up to 10 additional sub-accounts – a “fast, flexible way to put money aside” and budget, all in one app.

End-to-end customer service across all channels is another area N26 focuses on – being reachable if there’s a problem and building new capabilities to deal with issues. For example, they offer an in-app feature that temporarily freezes a misplaced payment card, rather than needing to cancel it.

Jacques Baudot, Google Cloud France

Customer Engineering Manager Jacques Baudot says Google Cloud France is “bringing solutions and building blocks” to financial institutions (FIs), helping them achieve their acquisition goals. As part of that, they strive to give them the “ability to master their data in an agile and customer-driven way”.

Baudot is also aware that FIs must balance data-centric customer acquisition and retention with guaranteeing security and regulatory requirements – Google Cloud supports them on that journey.

Additionally, they provide technology that helps banks offer omnichannel experiences. To achieve that, Google Cloud embraces a platform approach using Flutter, an open-source framework allowing FIs to “develop once and deploy everywhere” – iOS, Android, and web applications – saving time and money.

At the same time, Google Cloud recognizes incumbents have legacy systems that can’t be ignored, so their hybrid solutions take existing tech stacks into account, enabling a “smart transformation journey”.

Adapting to the ever-evolving landscape

To keep up with digitalization and meet (or exceed) consumers’ increasing expectations, acquiring and retaining banking customers requires a multi-pronged approach. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; it depends on the institution in question. What works for BNP Paribas or KCB Bank Group isn’t necessarily the best way forward for neobanks like N26. However, a combination of data-driven products and services, personalization, and technology from enterprises like Google Cloud is a powerful starting point.

To watch the full video of this session from the Sopra Banking Summit, click on this link. For more expert content on industry outlooks and innovation, subscribe to our newsletter or visit our Insights page.