6 Key Trends for Finance Marketers in 2021


As finance marketers emerge from a year where everything changed, how should they prepare for what’s coming? Parry Malm, CEO of Phrasee, shares a few key trends that finance marketers should embrace to be successful in 2021. 

The trends that will shape 2021 are very much an extension of what happened this year. Some things have changed so much that they’ve created a completely new normal that will persist into the future, pandemic or not. This is especially true in the world of finance, where COVID-19 drastically accelerated a shift to online banking. 

Finance marketers can especially bet on six key trends in 2021. Let’s look at what they are and how finance marketers can best greet them.

The Growing Importance of Language

This global pandemic has given us so much – toilet paper shortages, sourdough loaves galore, and most importantly for marketers, an increased scrutinization of what we say to customers. With a virus rampaging, there are things that you CAN say and things you very much CANNOT (no quips about going viral, please!). Brands are so conscious of this and so careful right now that 30% Opens a new window of senior marketers say their C-suite is reviewing their copy to make sure they don’t say anything out of line. Plus, since connecting with customers in the physical realm is harder right now, digital communication is doing much more heavy lifting to maintain customer relationships. 

What you say to your customers matters more than ever right now. But as marketers struggle to fill so many digital channels with content, it’s important to consider how you’ll be able to do so in a scalable way. AI maybe your best weapon in this fight.

Learn More: Revisiting the Anatomy of Reporting Financial Frauds

Slashed Marketing Budgets

The economy’s been on a wild ride this year, and who knows what next year will bring. In uncertain times like these, marketing is often first in line when budgets need cutting. The Marketing & Ad Spend Impact Report that surveyed 237 brands worldwide noted that “69% Opens a new window of brands decreased ad spend in 2020 in response to the pandemic, and we don’t expect to see a return to normal budgets on January 1st, 2021.”

But before you start scrapping your big plans to address short-term issues, take a pause. History has shown time and again that brands that cut back on marketing during difficult times suffer in the long run and have a tougher time recovering. Brands that continue to invest, reap substantial benefits. So before you agree to the CFO’s demands, be sure that you’re all taking a longer view. One day, we hopefully won’t be in the middle of a pandemic. And it would be nice if your brand was still on solid footing when that day comes.

Learn More: Why Ecommerce Needs Clickwrap Transaction Platforms

The Increase in the Demand for Content

A lot of jobs were lost this year. A lot of people’s financial pictures changed. It will take time to get everyone back to where they were, if that’s even possible, which means that consumers are in desperate need of financial advice like they’ve never been before. 

Smart banks know this and have been assembling their crisis communications to throw a lifeline to struggling consumers. Banks like RBS and Lloyds have been educating customers about their loan repayment deferment programs. In 2021, as we hopefully turn the corner and ease back into normal (albeit a very new normal), banks can keep their customer relationships strong by holding their hand all the way through to the end of the crisis with timely, relevant information about their financial options. 

Again, marketers need to consider how they’ll scale all this communication across the many digital channels they’re maintaining – channels that are not going to disappear now that consumers have come to depend on them. And once again, AI may be able to help meet that content demand.

Capturing Younger Audiences

This year, the financial crisis hit young people especially hard. Financially, they’re way behind where their parents were at their age, with things like paying off student loan debt, securing a high-paying job, and owning a home looking almost impossible. So if this generation is struggling with their finances, why should financial marketers be turning their attention towards them?

Did you know Millennials are poised to inherit more money than any generation in history? That’s right – this seemingly-broke generation won’t be that way forever. And when they do finally have the cash they need to succeed, they’re going to need help figuring out how to spend and save it wisely.  

Financial brands who lay the groundwork for a good relationship with Millennials now will reap the benefits down the road. But it’s a tough job – Millennials are also skeptical about traditional financial institutions, so there’s a lot to be done to establish trust. But the hard work will almost certainly be worth it.

Learn More: HSBC Contemplates Exit From U.S. Retail Banking

Serving Neglected Customers

As we shift to digital banking and away from cash, what happens to people who don’t have a bank or a credit card? According to the World BankOpens a new window , globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked, yet two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could help them access financial services. 

Finance brands should look at how they can capture this audience by providing them with banking solutions that work for their unique circumstances. What you say to these potential customers is critical – they may not be receptive to the same messages that work for everyone else. But the good news is that there’s a whole new market out there – it’s time to reach out and bring them into the digital banking ecosystem and give them tools to help them prosper.

Huge Investments in AI

Finance marketers have been dabbling with AI, using it to predict market shifts or suggest the right products to the right customers. But that dabbling is about to become more serious – 83% of finance marketers are planning to invest in AI over the next 18 months. 

But as I mentioned previously, one of the biggest challenges is saying the right thing to different groups of current and potential customers across many digital channels at scale. So could AI help them create all that content?

The answer is yes. AI can use your brand’s historic data to produce timely, authentic, and engaging content while also providing customer insights that help keep you ahead of the competition. In short, it helps brands drive revenue up and marketing costs down. Artificial intelligence is the future of the finance industry – ensure that you embrace it.

Learn More: 7 Steps To Effectively Manage Finances in 2021

2021: We Have a Lot of Work To Do

Much as we’d like to take a breath (and perhaps a month-long vacation), there’s a lot of work to do in finance marketing. While responding to the current moment is paramount, let’s not take our eyes off the long-term health of the brand. It’s a question of servicing existing customers well while preparing to welcome the new markets of tomorrow, which is admittedly a tough job – but if finance marketers can make it through this crazy year, they can do anything.

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