Pandemic psychology: How social data can help financial marketers understand changing consumer mindsets

Pandemic psychology: How social data can help financial marketers understand changing consumer mindsets


As medical professionals race to find a cure for COVID-19, Americans are facing a new crisis: the immediate threat to their finances. The pandemic is causing nearly 9 in 10 Americans financial stress as businesses continue to shut up shop and reduce costs across the board.

It’s clear that customers need their banks to support them now more than ever. So, how can financial marketers better understand the mindset of their customers and deliver messaging, products and services that meet their needs during this challenging time?

The answer lies in social data. While classic social listening analyzes a conversation, we aim to understand specific audiences. Our methodologies identify people who match your target audience to create a proxy group and limit any conversation analysis to just those audiences.

We recently conducted an analysis of US social conversation in relation to COVID-19 and finance. Our proxy audience groups consisted of High-Income Earners, Middle-Low Income Earners, and Technology-Interested Consumers.

One interesting result that came through was that all of these audiences agree that it is the people who are the most financially burdened that need the most support:

Developing a deep understanding of how each customer group is responding to this crisis can help financial marketers unlock creative, tailored approaches to deliver support. And while this is not an “opportunistic” time, banks should recognize the importance of providing quality service to their customers when they need banks most.

As financial institutions start to plan for the ‘new normal’ all strategies must take into account context and circumstance and reflect what people will accept from brands right now. Here are some considerations for financial marketers based on our research:

  • Pay attention to the current emotional state of your customers: Ensure that marketing initiatives align with the current mindset of consumers as missteps here could have lasting consequences post-pandemic.
  • Increase the cadence of consumer insights: Consumer attention and trends are shifting faster than ever during the pandemic, so don’t assume that what you knew about your customers is still accurate.
  • Prepare for adjustments made now to be options long-term: The pandemic will likely lead to lasting shifts in consumer mindsets about how they like to interact with companies and what they expect in the new normal.
  • Remember the mindset your consumers are in: People want banks and financial institutions to be helpful. As a result, review your current messaging and communications and make sure it’s in plain language to avoid confusion and complexity.
  • Consider how to play a role in broader conversations: As consumers assess their day-to-day finances and long-term financial planning needs, show how you provide social mobility support via webinars, FAQs and customer service comms.

“The Great Pause” has given people a chance to think about what they truly want from their banks. Successful brands will be those that embrace this challenge and use digital tools to better understand what customers want from them while still being profitable to the business.