How marketing automation can help banks navigate rough “C’s”

Despite the fact that “digital transformation” has been with the banking industry since around 2011 and the need to achieve it has – for a host of reasons – become a necessity over the past two years, many banks are still far from achieving their planned digitization model. In fact, according to a study developed through a partnership between Adobe and Microsoft and reported in a November 22 Forbes article, roughly half (49%) of the over 600 senior digital and technology executives surveyed said that “their restructuring of workflows remains incomplete or unsatisfactory,” and nearly two-thirds (65%) of CIOs said “they’re now re-evaluating workflows to achieve higher operational excellence.” Why the re-evaluation, especially since many banks have been in digitization mode for several years now? That re-evaluation, I think, is largely due to what I’ll call “the four C’s,” the primary headwinds that are slowing banks in their quest to achieve that operational excellence.

Granted, banks are feeling pressure from all around, but based on what I’ve been reading, these are the challenges, I believe, that are causing bankers the most sleepless nights:

  • Cybercrime – ever more sophisticated threats
  • Customer Experience – demanding, digitally-savvy consumers
  • Compliance – an evolving regulatory landscape
  • Competition - loosely regulated fintechs constantly entering the marketplace

Given all of the above, what banks desperately need at the moment, in a nutshell, is automation. As mentioned earlier, yes, nearly half of surveyed tech execs feel that “their restructuring of workflows remains incomplete or unsatisfactory.” The good news, though, is that the other half doesn’t feel that way. Indeed, many banks are already implementing innovative, agile, and powerful technologies – such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning— driven solutions — and with them, discovering more efficient ways of working and addressing the challenges presented by the four “C’s”. And they're making progress despite the fact that many are working with legacy technologies — such as an aged core — that can make evolving one’s tech stack expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive.

Being a marketing guy, I always see challenges and solutions through a marketing lens. And, for this reason, I always view marketing as a bank’s most critical function. Not to say that the other “C’s” aren’t important. A customer experience that will earn and keep customers is certainly important.  So is the threat of cybercrime, along with what seems to be a regulatory minefield that gets continually difficult to navigate. But in my mind, fending off the competition is the most important of the C’s. Automation technologies can certainly help in these areas, and it can help in a huge way when it comes to a bank’s marketing function, as well.

What, exactly, is marketing automation?  Salesforce defines it this way: “In its most basic form, marketing automation is a set of tools designed to streamline and simplify some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of the modern marketing and sales roles. Automation is all about simplifying a business world that is growing far too complex, much too quickly.”

And what is one of the most costly, time-consuming functions of marketing? Creating the message.

Banks have a couple of options here. They can hire an outside firm, which can often be expensive and time consuming, i.e., “It would be quicker and easier if I did it myself!” They can maintain an internal marketing staff, which can be a challenge when banks are looking to maintain a slim headcount. Or, they can utilize some of the marketing automation technologies that are out there. Yes, there are any number of automation tools out there that can assist in functions such as targeting the right audiences, testing a marketing message, and supplying the key performance data that enables the marketer to refine a message based on customer engagement across any number of channels.

But, there’s one important function that most marketing automation platforms cannot address; and that’s the all-important process of developing a marketing message that is not only creative, but always relevant and engaging. And that’s where we can help, with a solution that blends the speed and ease of automation with the creative thinking of a team of financial industry marketing professionals. Now, your messaging can not only be developed quickly by an individual on staff (no design experience necessary), but also impact your audience, build your brand, and enhance your bottom line.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand. 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at  As always, I welcome your thoughts on the subject.