How to Use a Financial Needs Assessment Survey to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

by Sarah Morris

Planning season is always here, it seems, so how are you assessing your customer or member needs to build a marketing strategy that converts? One way to identify what people think is important is to ask them. And the best way to ask is with a financial needs assessment survey.

Financial needs assessment surveys are great at uncovering important life events, which makes you better equipped to know when, where, and what products can help your customers or members along their individual journeys.

So, why is a financial needs assessment survey important to bank marketers?

These days, data-driven marketing and personalization is a must. If you don’t have insight into your customers’ or members’ financial habits, you can’t effectively achieve a targeted marketing strategy.

The financial needs assessment survey is a great way to help develop your buyer personas and audience definitions. This helps you understand and know what’s important, allowing you to create relevant content and messaging that addresses individual pain points and greatly increases conversions.

How should I think about this?

There are several considerations to make when preparing a financial needs assessment survey.

  • Who should receive the survey and when should they get it?
  • How many questions should I ask?
  • How many questions should I ask?

Let’s talk through some options. Then, you can make the best decision for your financial institution based on your specific goals and constraints.

Who should receive the survey and when should they get it?

Including a financial needs assessment survey as part of your new customer or member onboarding process is an ideal way to immediately put each new relationship on a targeted journey based on their specific financial needs. By understanding their goals up front, you position yourself to get the right information in front of them exactly when they need it. This approach will demonstrate that you’re dedicated to serving their needs.

But what about all of your existing relationships? One approach we’re excited about is surveying all of your relationships on an annual basis. This way, you can capture new customer needs as well as reassess your existing customers’ needs as they change from year to year.

Depending on how far out you prefer to plan your marketing strategy, you can conduct your financial needs assessment on an annual or bi-annual basis. There are obvious benefits to both options. An annual assessment gives you a snapshot for the year of any upcoming milestone events, giving you time to gradually introduce specific products that are essential to each relevant event.

A bi-annual financial needs assessment will give you a more targeted timeline to begin offering your products, narrowing down the window when each event will occur so you don’t miss any opportunities to expand these relationships. Whichever you decide, you’ll be refining your audience definitions and equipping yourself with invaluable insights that can lead to growing your loans and deposits.

How many questions should I ask?

We can all relate to feeling like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done, this is one reason it’s important to keep your survey questions to a minimum in order to increase the amount of completed surveys you’ll receive.

Rule of Thumb - If a survey takes longer than five minutes to complete, it is likely too long.

Best practices suggest having no more than three questions per survey that focus on a single objective.

What questions should I ask?

For this particular survey, there is one main question we are want to know the answer to, and that is:

What are your upcoming financial goals?

There are a number of ways to go about getting an answer to this question, and you must determine the right question(s) to ask and how to ask them. One approach is to define the financial products you’re most interested in promoting in a given year. At the highest level, we’re talking about loans or deposits.

From here, we can focus on how we ask the question. If you’re interested in learning whether a customer will be interested in taking out a mortgage loan over the next 12 months, instead of asking, “Over the next 12 months will you need a mortgage loan?” ask “Over the next 12 months do you plan on buying a new home?”

Or, instead of asking “Will you be interested in opening a new savings account?” You can ask, “Are you planning for a vacation?”

Framing the survey questions to focus on a life event rather than the products you offer can help to establish a greater level of trust and partnership between you and your relationships. If you’re new to this, here is a great example, one-question financial needs assessment surveyes of questions to include in your financial needs survey:

Over the next 12 months, I plan to: (Check all that apply)

  • Make improvements to my home
  • Buy a Home
  • Buy a new or used automobile
  • Save for a vacation
  • Save for retirement
  • Expand my family
  • Grow my business

This simple, one-question survey will help you deepen your relationships with your customer or member base, allowing you to send highly targeted offers to your best relationships throughout the year.


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