Employ marketing best practices for banking to boost your product launches

People shaking hands across the table.

The right resources, education and promotion make a difference in product adoption

Throughout my career in consumer marketing, including 13 years at Fiserv, I’ve worked on a variety of product launches in diverse industries. Careful planning has always been key, including a very intentional effort to get consumers and the company’s internal associates excited about the new offering.

Getting it right really does matter. Our Fiserv team has helped about 2,000 financial institutions launch products and solutions to members and customers. Among institutions launching digital products such as CardHub from Fiserv and Zelle®, those leveraging marketing resources from Fiserv had higher consumer adoption rates, according to our internal analysis in 2023. We also discovered that members and customers who are digitally engaged are more profitable for a financial institution, according to a 2022 Fiserv Digital Engagement Study.

So, doing things right on the marketing end upfront is likely to pay off long term.


Three pillars, multiple resources

We’ve developed a framework for ensuring that institutions are strategizing and organizing internal resources to launch in the most effective way. There are three pillars to our approach, supported by robust Fiserv toolkits with customizable marketing assets for each category. These tools and resources are free value-added offerings for Fiserv clients and can be accessed through our marketing self-service portal, Impact Marketing.  

1.    Educate your associates. Help your frontline staff, whether in the branch or the call center, to feel comfortable with understanding the value of the products and solutions being offered.

Fiserv provides tools to help you educate your staff pre-launch. Our cheat sheets, which are informative, product-focused, PowerPoint-based decks, are very popular with staff tasked with educating their consumer-facing staff. In fact, a few clients like them so much they’ve put them on their websites for consumer use.

2.    Notify your market. Before your launch, through multiple channels, make sure you are communicating benefits of the new product or service that will resonate with consumers.

For the notification phase, Fiserv has both pre-launch and post-launch messaging available. We’ve tested these messages, and we know the product features that really move the needle with consumers. There’s a variety of different tactics, resources, campaigns and social media tools, even some that are seasonally oriented. We have generational messaging, if that’s your focus, and also offer Fiserv-managed campaigns that feature sweepstakes and charity incentives to generate interest and encourage engagement. We track the qualifying activities and prize fulfillment to make it turnkey for clients.

Impact Marketing provides the resources and inspiration to jumpstart your marketing campaigns.

3.    Promote the product. This phase is ongoing. Never stop making consumers aware of your products and services that can make their financial lives easier.

With Impact Marketing, you can customize the available marketing assets to include your logo, brand colors, address, web URL and anything else that distinguishes your brand identity. It’s a great place to get inspiration for any campaign. I often tell clients: If your boss comes into your office and says you need to do a Zelle® launch campaign next week, go to Impact Marketing. It’s all there, already laid out for you. 


A case study

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union is an institution with 48,000 members and six branches in western Massachusetts. In a 12-month period, Vice President of Marketing Craig Boivin and his team launched multiple products with our Fiserv consumer marketing team – and had great success. They did a fantastic communications job on their own, while also tapping into the resources Fiserv has to offer.

At Forum, the Fiserv client conference, I interviewed Boivin about his credit union’s successful product launches.

Where do you derive inspiration and ideas as you’re developing your marketing plans at UMassFive?

Boivin: I like to go outside our industry and see how other brands, such as Apple® and Peloton, are rebranding and reframing to resonate with consumers, seeing what types of messaging they use. I also encourage my marketing team to communicate regularly with our branch staff. They work one-on-one with our members every day, and understand consumers’ pain points and challenges, but also their successes and aspirations. You need to be tapped into your branch network to get feedback from your members.

We also rely on the Impact Marketing portal to bridge the gap in the different projects we juggle at the credit union. If there are free resources available, I’ll take advantage of them. Impact Marketing has worked really well for us.

Have you tapped into our Digital Banking Safety Center to educate both consumers and your staff?

Boivin: Absolutely. When we launched Zelle® to the consumer side, there were a lot of safety-related questions. So, we adopted the digital banking safety campaign from Impact Marketing. We built a landing page and took it to our internal team first to get their buy-in. I think that gave our retail team a little boost of confidence for talking to members about using the new technology. In our post-launch messaging to members through email and social media, we would link back to the Digital Safety Center, and still do today.

How do you continue the momentum of a successful launch to keep your performance metrics high?

Boivin: I definitely subscribe to the three pillars you’ve outlined. You have to get the retail team engaged early. In fact, one of the things that we have tried to do, especially if our employees are banking with UMassFive, is to give them early access to the product, so there’s always a group of testers ahead of the launch. Also, finding a champion in each branch who really understands the technology has worked well for us.

Building excitement before launch, and then maintaining ongoing awareness after launch, is the key to driving those metrics. We’ve all seen the stats about consumer attention spans, and that it can take up to six exposures to get someone to see a message you put in front of them. So, you really have to continue to drip out that messaging over the lifetime of the product/service.

Which elements have been most successful in your marketing mix?

Boivin: Most important is understanding your members and pushing out messaging that meets them where they are. For example, when we launched CardHub, we addressed two targeted groups. One group had debit cards and were already engaged with mobile and online banking. The members of the other group had a debit card but didn’t have mobile or online banking, or hadn’t used it in a while. We had to tailor our messaging for each group.

We also leverage different tactics in different ways. We send a newsletter to our members three times a year, principally by email, but also printed and mailed to a few folks. We may take some of the content related to a product launch – including material adapted from Impact Marketing – and put it in the newsletter. Then we have landing pages on our website for all the individual articles, to get more life out of them. We’re also posting the articles on our social media in the months before the next newsletter comes out.

What key lessons have you learned from your product launches?

Boivin: First, that it really is never too early to engage the retail team. It gets them to start thinking about the benefits of the new offering, and how they can communicate those.

Then, you have to be flexible. No matter how clean your implementation timeline is, something is going to throw it off. As marketers, we have to know how to pivot and adjust to keep things on schedule.

Also, we have to be willing to try new things. The marketing assets we can use are constantly evolving, and you never know when you’re going to strike gold, so to speak. I like to say, “Fail fast.” Take what you can learn from what doesn’t work, and then move on.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would offer a marketing team?

Boivin: Stay abreast of the latest trends, and test new things out. At UMassFive, we’re trying to do more with storytelling, communicating that we’re not just selling a mortgage; we’re giving someone a chance to buy a home and better their life. That’s part of the emotional connection we’re trying to make with members and prospective members.


The bottom line

I hope the lesson from UMassFive College Credit Union’s successful product launches is clear: Careful planning pays off. And, you don’t have to go it alone. Fiserv is a partner with proven marketing resources and advice that can help you achieve success. 


Join us at Forum 2024, our client conference, to learn more about ways Fiserv can help you grow.