How To Choose a Martech Partner: A Guide for Bank Marketers


By Jami Nelson, Alkami’s Director of Corporate Development and Integrations

In the ever-evolving landscape of financial services, the role of bank marketers is becoming increasingly complex. As we look ahead to the challenges and opportunities that 2024 will bring, it’s clear that financial institutions need to be prepared to offer fast digital support to their account holders. Whether it’s support with navigating the uncertain economy, combating rising fraud risks, or addressing the financial aftermath many are still experiencing due to the pandemic, the demands on bank marketers are greater than ever before.

Thankfully, marketing technology (martech) providers are rising to meet these challenges head on by offering bank marketers solutions that can make them superheroes to their organization.

To meet these challenges head-on, savvy financial institutions are turning to data-driven insights and cutting-edge user-experience-amplifying martech solutions. While mega banks may have already set the pace in leveraging data to benefit both their account holders and their own operations, many smaller institutions are often short on engineering, analyst and developer resources and expertise to build their own tools.

This is where the strategic use of martech partnerships comes into play. By collaborating with third-party vendors financial institutions can unlock new opportunities for growth, enhance the customer experience, and streamline their operations. But, of course, selecting the right partner is not a decision to be taken lightly.

In this article, we will explore the challenges facing today’s bank marketers, the martech they need most, and the best practices for finding the perfect martech partner. So, whether you’re a CMO at a community institution or a marketing manager at a mid-sized regional bank, read on to discover how to navigate the martech partnership landscape effectively.

Industry Challenges for Bank Marketers

Before diving into the world of martech partnerships, it’s essential to understand the challenges that bank marketers currently face. These challenges set the stage for why the right partnerships are crucial:

The Economy: Inflation and Rate Volatility. Inflation and interest rate fluctuations can impact a bank’s profitability, product decisions, and lending strategies. Bank marketers must adapt their messaging and product offerings to address economic uncertainties effectively.

Adhering to Compliance Regulations. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving, requiring banks to stay compliant with changing rules and regulations. Bank marketers must navigate this complex environment while ensuring their campaigns adhere to all compliance requirements.

Retaining Account Holders after an Acquisition. Mergers and acquisitions among regional and community institutions are creating larger, more competitive entities. Bank marketers must adapt their strategies to retain existing customers, attract new ones, and – if need be – manage the transition effectively.

Asset and Deposit Management. Balancing assets and liabilities while attracting new deposits is a constant challenge. Bank marketers play a pivotal role in driving deposit growth and optimizing the bank’s balance sheet.

Attracting and Retaining Gen Z. The youngest generation of consumers, Generation Z (Gen Z), has unique preferences and behaviors. Bank marketers need to understand Gen Z’s expectations and tailor their strategies to attract and retain this demographic.

Essential Martech for Today’s Bank Marketers

To address these challenges successfully, bank marketers require a data and marketing solutions toolkit of technologies designed to enhance not only their brand’s reputation, but also the account holder experience. Here are some of the most critical technology needs:

Marketing Automation with Complete Campaign Attribution. The best marketing automation tools will help bank marketers streamline their campaigns, from email marketing to social media advertising. Complete attribution capabilities enable marketers to track and measure the return on investment (ROI) of their campaigns accurately. These tools will also ensure that you are not over saturating any segment or individual with too frequent or irrelevant messaging.

Audience Segmentation using Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI-powered audience segmentation allows bank marketers to target their campaigns with precision, delivering personalized messages to the right audience segments, at the right time, on the right channel. This technology ensures that marketing efforts are efficient, effective, and can be programmed to follow regulatory rules to the letter.

Conversational Virtual Assistants. Conversational virtual assistants provide 24/7 support to account holders, guiding them to information and assistance, and even promoting products, when branches and call centers are closed. These assistants enhance the customer experience and provide valuable insights into customer needs.

Finding the Right Partner

Now that we’ve explored the challenges and technology needs of bank marketers, let’s turn our attention to the best ways of finding the perfect martech partner for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make informed decisions:

Leverage Your Digital Banking Provider. Your digital banking provider can be your matchmaker in the world of martech partnerships. They often have a network of vetted partners that can address your specific needs. Reach out to your provider to explore potential partnerships.

Seek Industry Peer Referrals. Networking within the financial industry can yield valuable insights. Reach out to industry peers and colleagues who have experience with martech partnerships. They can provide recommendations based on their firsthand experiences.

Explore Review Sites. Review sites such as G2 can be valuable resources for discovering martech partners. These platforms feature user reviews and ratings, giving you insights into the experiences of other financial institutions.

Watch For Red Flags and Green Flags. When evaluating potential martech partners, keep an eye out for both red flags and green flags. Red flags may include partners who don’t understand your institution’s needs, lack a proven track record, or could even just leave you feeling like something is not quite right. On the other hand, green flags indicate partners who align with your goals, are responsive, seem like they would be a pleasure to work with, have excellent referrals, and a history of delivering results.

At the End of the Day

Selecting the right marketing technology partner is a strategic decision that can shape the future success of your financial institution. Remember that the right partner should not only address your institution’s immediate needs but also contribute to your long-term success, while also possessing a strong foundation for their own sustainability and growth.

With the right technology partner by your side, you can unlock the full potential of data-driven insights, increase campaign return-on-investment, enhance the customer experience, and position your institution for success in 2024 and beyond.

To see the financial technology providers in my partner program, click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about which partners would be best for your financial institution’s needs, contact Alkami today!