Throughout 2020’s challenging environment, marketing efforts have been anything but typical. Bank and credit union marketers were thrown into the spotlight and had to quickly rethink how to approach their consumers. As the role of marketing at financial institutions took center stage, the challenges financial marketers face became acutely apparent. A study from the 2020 Digital Banking Report research found the following top areas as the biggest challenges for financial institutions.

While these challenges affect financial institutions of all sizes, community banks and credit unions experience challenges in these areas twice as much as large banks or credit unions. Interestingly, the same topics noted as major challenges for financial marketers are also part of the key areas that hold some of greatest opportunities. Particularly for community banks and credit unions to be in a position to compete moving forward, overcoming these challenges and tapping into the opportunities are critical. Financial marketers are entering into 2021 at the crux of the following challenges and opportunities and must walk a fine line to achieve success.

Marketing Spend

Challenge: In the midst of COVID, marketing budgets and resources were drastically affected with lasting impacts on those budgets moving into 2021 as prolonged uncertainty continues. More than ever before, the need to prove marketing effectiveness has increased to justify any marketing costs when budgets are strained. The return on all investments is under new scrutiny by leadership and board members.

Opportunity: Marketers need to streamline all efforts, focus on proven tactics and tools, and adopt a “do more with less” mentality. By evaluating and investing in affordable marketing technology that serves multiple functions, financial marketers can achieve targeted goals while increasing ROI.

Data Access & Tools

Challenge: Over 50% of financial marketers list data analytics tools and capabilities as their most significant obstacle, up 8% from the previous year. Additionally, 47% of financial markers site data infrastructure and data accessibility as another major hurdle. While marketers recognize that data is critical for sending relevant and timely communications, they are not able to easily access their data and use it effectively.

Opportunity: Bank and credit union marketers should utilize a data tool that is connected to your core and ancillary banking systems to automatically refresh data daily. By implementing an easy-to-use tool, marketers will have data at their fingertips and be able to segment data to leverage for targeting and personalization.

Consumer Engagement

Challenge: Traditional branch and in person engagement has been drastically reduced; some of this engagement has been completely eliminated with branch closures, while in other cases in-person engagement is very limited with social distancing and drive thru only options. However, there is a high need for operational and relational communications with your account holders. Operationally, financial institutions must be able to easily communicate changes to hours, staffing, and protocols. Relationally, financial institutions need to be able to assess their account holder’s needs and communicate relevant financial solutions.

Opportunity: Marketers must tap into new channels to communicate and stay engaged with their account holders. Banks and credit unions can connect with targeted segments of their customer base through multi-channel touch points. By utilizing technology and data, a bank marketer can leverage marketing automation and personalization at critical points in the consumer lifecycle.

The thread that weaves all of these challenges and opportunities facing financial markers is technology. So, the natural action would be to look for a technology platform to streamline all marketing to aid in doing more with less. However, according to, as of 2020 there are over 8,000 providers that offer some level of Marketing Technology (MarTech) and that number will keep growing.

The MarTech industry continues to boom, experiencing a 5223% growth since 2011. A 2020 CMO Survey found that 57% of financial institutions are shifting marketing resources to invest in new automation technologies to improve communications with customers. But with literally thousands of MarTech providers out there, what criteria should banks and credit unions use to evaluate providers to ensure the best platform is invested in to meet the needs and goal of the financial institution?

Take a deeper dive and learn more about what to consider in each of these key areas when assessing MarTech providers and learn the unique benefits of a comprehensive solution:

Data Management
Lifecycle Marketing
Consumer Engagement
Download a full MarTech provider evaluation checklist with all the key consideration for each of these areas

Our team can help you take advantage of these opportunities and evaluate how you measure up on the key evaluation checklist. Schedule a demo today and get your evaluation started with one of our experts.