Magazine article American Banker

Email Marketing Is Still a Dead End with Seniors

Magazine article American Banker

Email Marketing Is Still a Dead End with Seniors

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Tynan

Older depositors are an important market segment for community banks.

Americans age 50 and above own 67% of all bank deposits and control 70% of the nation's assets, according to AARP.

Yet reaching this critical group of customers is a significant challenge for banks across the country.

Digital channels have become the go-to vehicle for client communication at a time when branch transactions continue to decline; however, the digital strategy doesn't work well for reaching older customers.

Most community banks don't have the email addresses for half of their clients, and the percentage is even higher for those 65 and older.

The reasons are varied.

According to the Pew Research Center, four in ten U.S. adults over the age of 65 don't use the Internet at all.

Some older customers, meanwhile, may simply prefer not to divulge their email addresses because they don't intend to conduct bank transactions online or because they are afraid of a security breach. Indeed, when consumers of all ages were asked what topics they want to know more about by customer experience management company PeopleMetrics, the only major issue popping up for seniors was how to protect their online identities.

Regardless of why, an inability to communicate with customers digitally is compounded by a broad decline in lobby traffic. We, as an industry, can't engage with a group of people who aren't coming into the branch. So to reach an older demographic, we need to search for another solution.

At Liberty Bank in Chicago, we have gone retro. In April 2015, we went back to the pre-digital era of printed newsletters. We created a custom bi-annual newsletter and two VIP letters that thank our top customers for their business. Each physical letter offers a little gift for coming into a branch and includes a gentle product pitch. …

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