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As banks head into planning sessions for 2022, it has perhaps never been more important for financial institutions to invest time and resources into market studies and research. Most banks’ annual meetings will include key stats – growth (or reduction) in assets, new accounts, etc. – but if your analysis stops with internal reporting after more than a year of changing market dynamics, you are missing a great opportunity to both understand and, ultimately, meet the needs of your current and future consumers.
Times – and consumers – have changed and will continue to change. At La Macchia Group, we do not ascribe to the falsehood that “the bank branch is dead,” however, you cannot ignore the fact that the way people bank is changing. While you can find studies and data points that identify trends toward digital, and movement to or away from “big banks,” too often we get caught up in the headlines and top-line reports. What matters most is your market, your current and prospective customers and what they think about what your bank has to offer.
“We can’t be successful unless we deeply understand the personas that drive a specific market; gaining insight into their motivations, concerns, and desires is an essential part of the strategic planning process and fully activating our presence in a market – especially a new one” says Matthew Steilberg, EVP and Director of Retail Banking for C&F Bank.
As we often say at La Macchia Group, you could guess, but wouldn’t you rather know? Through comprehensive market research and analysis, you can look at your markets through multiple lenses and determine what (or even IF) your target audience is thinking about your institution.
“No one expects you to be a mind-reader,” said Tim Klatt, Director of Retail Strategies for La Macchia Group. “Whether you’re considering a building, branding, or technology integration project for your bank, a critical first step is to conduct demographic and consumer research to discover what, if any, points of friction currently exist within a user’s financial experience and how your project can address those issues. Your next steps shouldn’t be a guessing game; they should be rooted in data and actionable insights and should clearly demonstrate a return on investment.”
Are you curious if your branch strategy, technology integration and / or mobile banking options are helping you attract and retain customers? Do the research, and most importantly, ask real people. Far too often, actual, direct customer perceptions are left out of market analyses and brand assessments. Don’t make that mistake; bring your customers to the table.
Consumers are changing how they think about banks. In response, banks must also shift how they think about consumers. Start a dialogue with your customers through a comprehensive market analysis and invite them to establish a relationship with your bank and your brand. Odds are the result will be loyalty and long-term investment.
To learn more about what a comprehensive market analysis could do for you, visit www.lamacchiagroup.com.