Excellence in Financial & Banking Marketing Strategy

New Zealanders are notoriously reluctant to discuss our finances with others, and many of us are poor savers. ASB looked to technology and behavioural science for a solution.

ASB ‘Nudges’ help Kiwis save

ASB’s marketing team received a brief in early 2022 to support the launch of a widget that allows customers to set a savings goal within the ASB mobile banking app and track their progress towards this goal, over time.

The objective had nothing to do with the number of clicks or email opens; it was to help 5,000 customers to successfully create savings habits by using the tool. 

This is because good savings behaviour has been found to be five times more impactful to financial wellbeing than doubling your income (according to financial wellbeing research for ASB and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, conducted through the University of Melbourne).

The job to do was to develop a marketing strategy that would support customers to develop positive savings behaviours.

Helping customers improve their financial wellbeing would not only improve their financial future, but
it would also increase ‘stickiness’, meaning it would reduce the likelihood of them choosing to leave ASB.

The bank identified a big problem: out of the customers who deposit their salary with ASB (who are using ASB as their ‘main bank’) only one in three (32 percent) are actively saving.

While plenty of ASB customers show intention to save (opening new savings accounts, renaming their savings accounts with their goal such as ‘holiday’, ‘safety net’ or ‘house deposit’), only 35 percent of those surveyed were happy with their savings progress and many were not making measurable progress against their goals.

In fact, ASB data indicated that more than four out of ten customers (42 percent) either didn’t have, or rarely had cash savings of $1,000 or more available to them.

To overcome the cultural taboo of talking about money challenges, ASB set out to create a digital contact strategy that would empower customers to take control of their money independently.

The contact strategy contained multiple triggered communications to support customers on their savings journey:

  • Awareness – creating broad awareness of the new savings tool through paid and owned digital assets.
  • Use – identifying customers who look like they want to save – driving them to the tool to set a savings goal.
  • Empowering behaviour change – once a savings goal was set, customers would receive ‘nudges’ to help them succeed. 
  • Creating a sense of progress – progress markers to celebrate milestones and create a sense of momentum. 
  • Motivation to reactivate – a re-activation comm to encourage customers to “get back on the horse” when they inevitably dipped into their savings. 

Customers who received these communications were 10.6 percent more likely to increase their savings balance, 41.6 percent more likely to set up an automatic payment to their savings account and 116.6 percent more likely to set up Save the Change (automatic savings tool), compared to the control group.

The campaign has helped more than 10,000 people develop positive savings behaviours and become active savers, improving their financial wellbeing – double the target. 

Excellence in Financial & Banking Marketing Strategy


Marketing Initiative:
Helping Customers Become Savers 

Marketing Partners:
The Monkeys, Behavioural by Design

Judges’ Comments:
This entry clearly demonstrates doing good for customers can also be good for business. The winner has driven a shift in consumer savings habits in a difficult category, helping customers achieve their saving objectives.

AA Life Insurance, ANZ Bank New Zealand (ANZ Good Energy Home Loan), ANZ Bank New Zealand (How ANZ Got Kiwis Talking About F******* to Improve Their Financial Wellbeing), ASB (Level Up), IAG (AMI Insurance – Drummer), IAG (AMI Insurance – Young Driver), Kiwibank, MTF Finance

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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