Back in 2019, financial services was the fourth largest market for promotional product sales. However, after the pandemic began, companies in the financial industry – including banks, insurance companies, and asset management firms – spent significantly less on promotional products. To weather the economic downturn, many large banks reduced their marketing and advertising budgets in 2020. The financial/insurance market tied with manufacturing for eighth place in overall promotional product spending in 2020 – just 5.3% of all promo product sales. Several of the markets that spent the most on promotional products in 2020, such as healthcare, needed to purchase branded PPE and other health and safety products that banks with closed lobbies and cancelled promotional events didn’t need.
Some large corporations like American Express didn’t cut their marketing budgets at all in 2020 and 2021. In fact, American Express significantly increased spending on marketing and advertising, recognizing the opportunity for increased market share acquisition that comes when you advertise more when everyone else is advertising less. Yet overall, marketing and advertising budget cuts were prevalent in 2020 and 2021 across all industries, including financial services. In particular, spending on event marketing decreased as companies across industry segments focused more on social marketing, digital advertising, and SEO.
According to The Financial Brand, the outlook for next year is much better: “marketers are already predicting that budgets will come back in 2022.” As experiential marketing and brand activation campaigns, community events, and in-person business meetings/events slowly make a comeback, and we expect to see a sizable increase in spending on promotional products by financial services companies in 2022.
Four prominent ways that promotional products are currently being utilized in financial services marketing are outlined below – we expect to see these strategies deployed throughout 2022:
1.) Financial Promotional Products Help Build Better Community Relations
Banks, credit unions, and financial advisors have always used promotional products to make one-on-one connections with potential customers and clients in their communities. Branded promotional items make cost-effective gifts for future account holders during bank field trips and financial literacy fairs held in coordination with local school districts. Promotional product giveaways at community events are also standard practice in financial services marketing. A recent EY survey about consumer banking behavior found that over half of the respondents indicated “that their future purchasing decisions will be impacted by banks actively supporting the community, being transparent in all they do, and ensuring they are doing good for society.” Building strategic community partnerships with schools and other local organizations, sponsoring local sports teams, planning financial wellness programs, making charitable donations, and handing out free swag at community events like festivals and fairs are tried-and-true strategies for building the type of positive PR that is increasingly important for financial services companies in the age of digital banking.
Liberty Financial a Division of ETFCU Owensboro Dan the cannon man shooting out Liberty Financial swag!! Heather Montgomery always willing to help others and give what she can! pic.twitter.com/XPZT3Vr4wj
— Friday After 5 (@Friday_After_5) May 25, 2019
2.) Promotional Products: An Asset in Financial Social Media Marketing
At a time when many people are still practicing social distancing, promotional product giveaways can help financial brands increase brand awareness online. Sharing photos or videos of a swag giveaway event on social media marketing channels like Instagram or Twitter is an inexpensive way to generate valuable publicity:
— First Financial CU (@imafirst1) July 10, 2019
Promotional products also play an important role in financial social media marketing via social media contest giveaways. In June of 2020, FNBO (First National Bank of Omaha) partnered with social media influencers to promote FNBO’s Be Kind debit card campaign – which donates proceeds to local charities. FNBO used Instagram contests to give away over a dozen boxes of branded merchandise – including logoed socks, baseball caps, notebooks, and water bottles. FNBO’s popular social media giveaway helped grow brand engagement on both Facebook and Instagram.
3.) Promotional Products for Financial Services Influencers: An Emerging Trend
During the pandemic, gift baskets and swag boxes became a popular way to reach out to remote workers and virtual conference attendees. Swag bags and boxes like those given away by FNBO on Instagram are often employed in financial influencer marketing. According to American Banker, financial institutions may “hire a personal finance expert to blog about money management, recruit college students to enthuse about their new account, or find a local personality to “unbox” an array of goodies from the bank’s small-business clients.” Banks, fintech companies (especially robo-advisors), and financial advisory firms are increasingly working with finfluencers – financial influencers capable of producing the type of viral social media content that appeals to sought-after younger consumers. Promotional products can help financial influencers make visually appealing content and hold giveaways and contests that grow brand awareness.
4.) Build Employee Engagement and Brand Loyalty with an Online Company Store
Promotional products are a powerful internal marketing tool. In 2022, we expect to see promotional products utilized more frequently by financial services companies in annual hybrid or virtual company meetings. We also expect to see more financial brands launch online company stores for employees as swag becomes a common remote-work benefit. As workforces become more distributed and remote, online company stores are a promotional products management portal that makes it easy to source and ship branded apparel and other merchandise to employees wherever they’re located in the world – home office, regional office, or branch location. Financial service companies like U.S. Bank and Ally are some of the large financial services corporations currently using online company stores to promote company culture and improve employee engagement and retention. Some companies, like Progressive and Bank of America, even use online company stores to sell promotional products directly to loyal customers and brand enthusiasts – an excellent brand engagement strategy. For some fintech startups, selling Bitcoin apparel and other cryptocurrency branded merchandise is a co-branding opportunity that can increase brand awareness.
Need Help Leveraging Promotional Products for Financial Services Growth?
For assistance with setting up an online company store for your brand or selecting the best promotional products for financial services giveaways in 2022, contact Metron Branding or fill out the form below.