Bank Marketing in India – Challenges & Opportunities

Bank Marketing in India – Challenges & Opportunities

Bank MarketingCustomer AcquisitionCustomer DelightCustomer EngagementExperiential RewardsOffers

Bank Marketing

The first ever recorded banking-like transaction took place around 2000 BC when merchants gave grain loans to farmers and traders who carried goods across the country. There was no promotional campaign or Bank Marketing to support these transactions at the time. But this exchange gave rise to an arrangement which benefited people in different walks of life to achieve their financial & personal goals.

Banks are now not doing anything different. Of course, there are new products like credit cards, loans, insurance and more. But at the end of the day, the functions of a bank remain the same; handling the money you have and the money you don’t have. And clearly, with heavily marketed credit cards, today, banks have left no stone unturned when it comes to marketing their products.


Bank Marketing – A whole different ballgame

Brands falling under the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry have increasingly focused on acquiring new customers while building a great brand themselves. Hence follows a bank marketing approach which dissipates into the kind of marketing the banking institutions do.

Banks mainly run promotions for three reasons: to acquire new customers, to activate a dormant customer who has not transacted in a while, and to engage their existing customers (HNI, NRI or entry level). Promotion and marketing of BFSI products have been a challenge mostly because of RBI guidelines in terms of what they can offer as a reward to achieve any of the above objectives. For example, RBI does not allow banks to spend more than INR 250 on a reward to acquire a new customer. So, banks are limited by budget in what they can do.

Bank customers are real people, who have trusted banks with their hard-earned money. A survey from CGI global shows that consumers want their banks to be a relevant part of their lives – more than just a repository for their money. Based on these findings, one of the top consumers’ wants (81%) is “Reward me for my business”. With this thought, consumers clearly expect to be valued based on their total spending and rewarded for their loyalty.


Reviving the good old Vouchers and Offers



Within the Rs.250 RBI mandate, falls vouchers and offers that a bank can give away through bank marketing depending on how they would want to engage with their customers. Vouchers are unconditional; for instance, in association with BigCity, HSBC ran a customer acquisition promotion and gave away Rs.100 Uber vouchers to its customers on every sign-up. Vouchers are a great way to acquire and delight customers. Banks have more data on spending behaviors than any other industry. With the advent of major e-commerce players and the spends increasing online, it is a great idea to give customers gift vouchers from popular brands, as the customer is more likely to spend there anyway.

Unlike vouchers, offers are conditional – and can be used long-term to engage customers and increase card usage and drive upselling initiatives. I remember sitting with a bunch of friends and they were comparing offers and benefits from one bank card with another. The result: the one with most benefits and offers got my friend as a new customer.

NPCI’s card network – Rupay, partnered with BigCity to provide customers with 200+ offers across categories like dining, shopping, health and more. Citibank‘s gourmet program or Axis Dining programs are great examples of such programs. This also helps customers perceive a bank in a certain way. Knowing your customers and targeting them with offers from the brands they’re likely to spend on will most definitely increase card usage.


Experiential Rewards – A step further



Another new and exciting reward offering is Experiential Rewards. Gone are the days when bank marketing meant sending branded stationery, coffee mugs, and idols as rewards. With consumers increasingly expecting services to be offered based on not only spends but also on loyalty and product usage, it is imperative that institutions go a step further in their bank marketing efforts and offer customers what they would actually enjoy!

We facilitated a spend-based monthly incentive program by Kotak Bank where customers received movie tickets in the counts of 2, 3, 5 and 6 to all eligible customers as a part of Kotak Silk’s incentive structure. Rewards like these have a great impact on customers’ minds and the propensity of referrals also increase. Solving customer acquisition and dormant activation problems in one shot!


We live in times when bank customers feel that maintaining an anonymous banking relationship is not worth it and making efforts on speaking to a customer is what matters. At BigCity, we have long been engaged with brands in the BFSI industry helping them achieve acquisition, engagement and activation objectives.


If it is a product feature for a portfolio, or a short-term engagement program or even a long-term engagement program, we support ideation, tech & fulfillment end-to-end. Click here to see more work with BFSI brands. Better yet, write to us at, and we’ll assist you with everything you need to know about running promos in the banking sector.


Bank MarketingCustomer AcquisitionCustomer DelightCustomer EngagementExperiential RewardsOffers

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