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It’s time to engage your market

News-driven customer engagement and bank marketing

"Social media" can be everything from a tweet to an old-fashioned conversation when your bank tags onto a current event to make a customer connection. "Social media" can be everything from a tweet to an old-fashioned conversation when your bank tags onto a current event to make a customer connection.

Whatever your political affiliation, the announcement of our 45th President of the U.S. resulted in more human interaction. More text, social media posts, phone calls, clicks, and branch visits took place the day after than on an average day.

People wanted to gloat, be reassured that the apocalypse wasn’t upon us, or just wanted to share the moment.

Whatever the reason, people who are your bank’s customers reached out. Unlike the outcome of the election, this uptick in engagement was predictable, as it usually occurs after any major news event be it a Presidential Election, World Series, terrorist activity, disaster, or what have you.

Humans need interaction and events are often a catalyst. I’d like to share some ways that banks have used this to their advantage and some ideas of how to put this concept in motion.

How events help

Take any given channel, and you will find that immediately after an event, engagement increases. Sometimes engagement more than doubles. Consider that an average marketing email has about a 15% probability of being opened. However, make the email related to an important event, and that number rises to 34%.

The same goes for sales phone calls. You check on your potential loan and deposit customers, and they are much more likely to take your call. Talking about major events is sometimes cathartic, and potential customers want to share you their thoughts and get your insight.

Unfortunately, the effect does not last for long, as the response rate drops by 60% per day. The rule of thumb is that if you cannot make contact by the third day, it is not worth it as your response rate goes back to normal on day four.


Get the form right

If you are just looking to push a product, skip this tactic as emotionally charged events hurt the sales effort, not help it. Major emotional events tend to take attention and interest. Marketing around important news events is only about establishing rapport and using the event to carry on an authentic conversation with a customer for no other reason than for education and connection.

A great example is a bank CEO who releases a two-minute video or sends out a short email on how the new Administration will impact interest rates, credit, or some other financial aspect. This content is valuable, as many are looking for insight.

Many good CEOs do this already with their employees. Now we are advocating using high-profile news events to market to customers or potential customers.

If it is the major sporting event, maybe it is a lesson on how poor coaching almost blew a World Series or how an underdog team overcame all challengers due to their sense of purpose. Whatever the event, the goal is to add context and insight into the event and place it in a broader context relevant for your customers.

Putting it into action

If you want to increase your bank’s marketing effectiveness, it pays to look ahead and anticipate events.

The Presidential Election was the perfect one as it was going to be historic no matter what the outcome was. That, and it was almost guaranteed to upset half the population while causing joy for the other half.

For any event, the more emotional and wide-ranging the better, but a major community event is just as effective.

Below are eight ideas to get you thinking about different mediums that your management and marketing group can leverage to get the message out. It might be as simple as a Tweet or as complicated as a lunch to discuss the event.


The Trump Administration is going to be chock-full of both positive and negative events that will have your clients trying to figure out what to do next. In addition, you have major sporting events, world events, historic anniversaries, Federal Reserve rate movements, and, unfortunately, disasters and attacks in various forms. People and companies are going to need information, plus analysis, and a bank is in the ideal position to comment on financial matters.

Consider creating a basic marketing plan around upcoming events and test out if this tactic serves to increase engagement and bring you closer to your customers.

If nothing else, talking about some of these changes may help you feel better.

This guest blog original appeared on Chris Nichol's LinkedIn blog page.

Chris Nichols

Chris Nichols is chief strategy officer at CenterState Bank Central Florida, N.A., Winter Haven, Fla. He frequently contributes to "UNconventional Wisdom" and other parts of Nichols is a member of the Banking Exchange Editorial Advisory Board.

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