Computer screens with graphs

Preparing Your Marketing Strategy for Consumer Spending Changes

By: Kenna Smith, VP, Advisors Plus Marketing Operations, PSCU

Now that U.S. consumers are coming out of their COVID-19 cocoons and the new term “revenge spending” is in motion, financial institutions may be wondering what categories they should focus on when it comes to promoting cardholder spend. This can be difficult to pinpoint, as the consumer’s return to pre-pandemic activities is multi-faceted and will vary based on geographical area and continued market shifts.

Discretionary spend will accelerate this summer. However, with inflation on the rise, it can be hard to tell if your financial institution’s marketing campaigns will be on target. During this time of transition, it is important for card usage campaigns to focus less on a single card promotion and more on cardholders knowing the benefits of their card and easily accessing it in your product line.

To help you prepare your financial institution’s marketing campaign strategy for increasing card usage in the new normal, here are some ideas to consider based on expected consumer spending trends over the next six months.

Summer Campaign Trends

As consumer spending ramps up this summer, here are tips for keeping your card top of mind and top of wallet:

  • Card usage campaigns are key for the summer months. Hot category topics to consider are travel and gas, home improvement and spending on Amazon, especially with Prime Day on June 21-22. Also, provide options for your cardholders to decide how they wish to be rewarded for how they spend. While this is effective for both credit and debit, debit is still the proven card consumers are using right now.
  • Competition will be high among balance transfer campaigns this summer. Be mindful that if a cardholder’s utilization is higher, they may be using a competitor’s card to help manage their credit score. Keep your financial institution’s interest rate aligned with the competition in your area. The current competitive rate is between 0% and 1.99% across the country.
  • Awareness campaigns keep your financial institution top of mind with your cardholders. Oftentimes, all you might need to push out are reminders to your customers outlining the benefits of your card and the interaction between your products. Utilize email campaigns to help your financial institution minimize cost.

Fall Campaign Trends

Preparing for the fall season is important now as you map out your marketing campaign strategy leading into the holidays. With inflation on the rise, the big unknown is how consumers will shift their spending after the summer ends. Here is what we do know:

  • Back-to-school shopping will have a comeback this year as kids return to in-person learning and college students return to campus. Parents of all school-aged children will be taking advantage of tax-free weekends. This is a great opportunity to offer a card usage campaign based around back-to-school spend.
  • Credit line increases followed by a holiday usage promotion are always popular between October and December. We expect the trend will continue this year for both debit and credit, even with inflation on the rise. Cardholders usually prefer the card that pays them back.

No matter what your financial institution’s campaign strategy, it is most important to stay in front of the consumer. In this fast-changing market, continue to provide the “meeting your cardholder where they are” experience, and consistently communicate that you have what they need.

Kenna Smith is vice president of marketing operations for PSCU’s Advisors Plus Consulting. In this role, she oversees B2C marketing and operations for Advisors Plus. Smith has over 25 years of product and operations experience in the financial services industry.