Can banks tap seasonality in their content marketing?

Given anything up for Lent? How about pointless seasonality in content marketing campaigns?

Sounds harsh, but banks and other financial services firms do need to tread extra carefully when it comes to tapping into seasonal events as part of their marketing campaigns.

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It makes sense to use what’s happening at the time to show you’re relevant and get what consumers are thinking. Everyone else does it, often to good effect. Stick a story about Halloween on your website on October 31st and a few extra clicks are guaranteed, but is this driving genuine engagement and cut-through? The likelihood is not.

And there is another problem. Banks have a trust gap with the public at present and it can be difficult to bridge it with a few ‘chocolate nest eggs’ around Easter.

Of course that’s not to say banks can’t harness a bit of festive spirit or Valentine’s romance in their content. It’s just they need to be assiduous about the way it’s executed.

Some banks are getting it right

TD Bank in Canada delivered a festive gift to many of its customers with its Automated Thanking Machine stunt. Select individuals were invited to try out a new ATM and were instead handed gifts of cash, plane tickets, holidays and even the odd sports star turned up.

The video featuring customers’ stunned reactions went viral and has racked up over 20 million views. Targeted in the run-up to Christmas it was the ideal content to share – happy people, emotional responses.

Customers were hand-picked by branch employees to highlight the human side of the bank. The message was obvious, but also elegantly simple: we do care about you. It also tied in with TD Bank’s broader messaging about giving back to the communities it serves.

NatWest has also been tapping a bit of the seasonal vibe with some good content marketing activity around Valentine’s Day.

Customers were asked “Who can #BankOnYourLove this Saturday?”. Photos showed flowers with a card saying “Let’s open a joint account.”

This was potentially risky; there is a litany of bank social media fails, from JP Morgan’s #AskJPM fiasco to Barclays’ floundering with its fictional Facebook character Dan.

But NatWest seems to get social media and it was able to present a genuine human touch. Of course there was the odd disgruntled customer who used this channel to vent, but overall the response was positive.

For example, when one customer responded on Facebook with “You only love me for my money”, the bank’s social team posted back: “That’s not true we think you’re really pretty too :o)”.

Seasonality is a useful vehicle for content marketing campaigns; but it needs careful execution to make sure it highlights the human side of the bank

This post comes from Neil Wilson, a senior finance specialist here at Axonn.

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