Digital statement delivery can be a key to successful marketing strategy

By Griffin McGahey

Effective bank marketing is no longer best accomplished solely through discounts and promotions across web, social media, TV and radio ads. The true marketing experience resides in the customer journey across the branch, including account opening, digital and in-branch engagement, and printed and digital documents. The shift to all things digital in banking is a permanent behavior change.

An often-overlooked area of opportunity to invest in digital transformations is in delivery of statements and notices. Statement and notices make up one of the few physical channels remaining where bankers can leverage direct communication.

Statements enhance marketing capability

TotalExpert’s 2021 State of Financial Marketing report found that 64 percent of bankers reported outdated or disconnected data as the biggest roadblock to improving customer experience. However, bankers are already building their statements using customer data that can provide the most meaningful insights for marketing.

Salesforce’s 2021 State of Marketing Report found that the five most popular data insights sources (ranked by all marketers) were:

  • Known digital identities
  • Transactional data
  • Declared interests and preferences
  • Second-party data
  • Inferred interests and preferences.

These sources reflect the increasing pressure on marketers to gather as much first-party data as possible. Regulatory changes and the inability to use third-party cookies on many mainstream browsers have increased that pressure.

Statements already pull much of this data. They include transactional data containing balance and account type. They also include other important data, such as location. Bank CRMs can pull the preferences and offline identity information.

This data also makes personalization and targeting easier, which is one of the most effective ways to improve marketing messages. Bank marketers should use these tools in campaigns to track cross-sell and upsell efforts. Digital statements also provide the advantage of enabling bankers to run multiple campaigns per statement cycle. The ability to easily create A/B testing and track readership, open rates, and actions can help banks collect more of the data they need to refine their offerings and customer journey.

Refining digital statement infrastructure

There are some key ways bankers can ensure success when working to convert their customers to digital statements and notices.

Bankers can place the links to enroll on the forefront of both the website and in the mobile app to make it easier for customers. The process for digital enrollment should be simple. Make it easy and clear which digital statements customers can sign up for and ensure confirmation emails and messages contain the links needed to manage statements online.

Bank marketers should also ensure that digital statements look consistent with printed statements. Carry over best design practices from statement redesign to better communicate critical notifications to your customers. Electronic statements on the digital platform that look unsophisticated and lack consistency in design leave bad impressions with customers.

For those customers who prefer to continue receiving paper statements, help them bridge the digital divide. QR codes can be used to drive customers to special promotions and bill-scanning technology can enable electronic payments. These and other creative options offer a way to bridge the print and digital channels and provide a strong customer experience with traditional communications channels.

Providing an innovative statement experience

Digital statements and notices provide a great opportunity to take advantage of the dynamic possibilities of online interactions. Digital statements and notices can contain links, use color for clear callouts and include more space for additional charts and graphs.

Color is one of the best ways to draw attention to key marketing messages and reinforce a brand. Research has found that consumers respond strongly to “color appropriateness.” The right color shows off your brand’s personality but should be used strategically to not overwhelm the customer. Colors should complement and reinforce existing branding, such as your logo. Contrasting colors can be used to draw attention to important parts of the statement.

Digital statements should also clearly identify customer focus points. The temptation is to see the unlimited “paper space” of a digital statement and pack it as full as possible. Even in a digital world, customers will respond to clean design and appropriate use of white space.

When designing statements, keep in mind the three most important drivers:

  • The statement should be useful. Does it make finding the necessary information fast and easy?
  • The statement should be clear. Does it have an attractive appearance?
  • The statement should demonstrate care. Does it communicate to customers that the bank knows them, has their best financial interests at heart and can offer advice on how to meet those goals?

Digital statements should reflect that customers prefer single line details for transactional data. This enables the bank to communicate all necessary information in less space, enhancing the user experience.

Statements are often an overlooked facet of a marketing program. However, data from Xerox shows that 95 percent of customers open and scan their printed statements. Our insights show 52 percent of digital statements are opened and viewed. Banks would be wise to evaluate how they can better use these essential—and required—communications to enhance marketing and the customer experience.

As more customers move their financial experiences completely online, banks also have a great opportunity to move more customers to electronic statements. This will not only save money on printing, but it will help the bank better communicate with their customers by maximizing the inherent advantages of digital communications: data, tracking and design.

Griffin McGahey is president at HC3, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company that manages complex data to help financial institutions communicate with customers. He can also be reached on LinkedIn.