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4 Tips for Developing a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

A survey of 3,000 financial institutions found that fewer than 15% have mature digital marketing strategies. Here are four tips from marketing leaders in the financial industry to help you forge the right strategy and find success.

1. Be Data-Driven

Subscribe TodayDonna Lyon, who heads up email channels at Ally Bank, says digital marketing has moved beyond brand awareness to a more sophisticated model — one that’s data driven. Data is the forefront of skyrocketing a business to its maximum level of success. In order to capture the data you need to build the foundation of your digital marketing strategy, you must first determine the goals of your marketing department and how they contribute to your business’s overall success.

“Digital marketing has evolved from just using print and TV ads to a much more sophisticated model of using all digital channels to engage and target your customers and prospects at all different times and lifecycle stages,” explains Lyon. “With new technology available to companies and the marketing teams seeing the ROI from their campaigns in social media and email channels, we will continue to see digital marketing evolve.”

2. Diversify Your Marketing Efforts

Martha Tschantz, head of 360 marketing strategy at Citi, is a firm believer that the key to broadening customer and prospect reach is through diversifying marketing efforts.

“We deploy our integrated marketing campaigns across a host of traditional and evolving digital channels to ensure appropriate reach and frequency of our messaging,” explains Tschantz. “We also leverage paid strategies throughout the marketing funnel to be relevant in our content, offers, or product benefit reinforcement depending on where the consumer is in their purchase journey.” (Hint: “Paid strategies” includes things like paying for ads on social networks, retargeting, and programmatic ad buys.)

Because the space is constantly evolving, Tschantz emphasizes that you cannot stand still; you must be nimble. Her team uses a host of tools and digital platforms to continuously improve their marketing performance and relevance with consumers. And what fuels all of Citi’s successful campaigns is the data captured from their digital marketing efforts.

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3. Listen to Your Customers

Developing a successful digital marketing strategy requires insight into what your ideal customer wants and is looking for, so it’s essential that your marketing is supported by tools that give you the data you need to produce revenue-returning campaigns.

Lyon’s marketing team at Ally Bank examines each phase of their customer lifecycle across multiple social channels to determine how to engage successfully with prospects. Social marketing is a great way to acquire new business by using tools to listen to what your customers are saying and also to target prospects that have similar attributes as your current customers. When using these tools, Lyon recommends having a process in place to provide timely responses to customer feedback and to share content that is on point with your brand but is also interesting to your customers.

Tschantz and her team at Citi also recognize the need to proactively engage with their audience to be at the top of their list when shopping for a financial solution, saying, “Consumers are always in the market for a financial service. Whether in an active or passive mode, leveraging the digital ecosystem is important to keeping your brand top-of-mind.”

The same philosophy is incorporated throughout other segments of the financial industry. Larry Marietta, head of Marietta Financial Services, recognizes the shifts in the financial industry towards digital marketing and understands the significance it has to his business. He’s invested in several areas of digital marketing, including a new website and writing and publishing original articles on their blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Aaron Morrow, vice president with LJI Wealth Management LLC, also echoes Marietta’s sentiments on the importance of digital marketing. His goal as a wealth advisor is to draw attention to his firm’s services that people need. The financial services industry is so massive that it’s necessary for his company to really hone in on the value they specially provide.

“We have to provide awareness for our brand and services because when a prospect hears ‘financial advisor’ they lump everyone in the same group – insurance agents, brokers, planners, bank advisors, etc.,” explains Morrow. “There is such a large gap when it comes to financial services for services provided that the prospect gets confused and ends up getting sold a product instead of being provided a service. Our goal is to provide timely content that resonates with our potential target group, including heavy users of social and digital media.”

4. Pay Attention to the Customer Lifecycle

By analyzing your digital marketing metrics and results and determining where the most success and revenue is generated, you can gain invaluable insight into the customer lifecycle.

For Martha Tschantz at Citi, part of determining the customer lifecycle includes developing campaign strategies that are “pulled” through the customer journey, ensuring relevant messaging across online and offline channels. If her team found that a certain campaign successfully moved a customer from one phase in their lifecycle to the next and has the data to capture that, they are now empowered to use that campaign do the same for future Citi customers in that phase of their lifecycle. This allows for the content they are producing to be relevant to what their prospects are looking for in a financial institution or firm.

A consistent concern across the financial services industry is security, but there are secure solutions available, and they are essential to running your financial organization. As Donna Lyon of Ally Bank explains, “Even with security threats, people want to be able to interact with their financial business through the digital world, and that is why you must create a digital marketing lifecycle approach.”

Her team uses email as one of its tools to measure the customer lifecycle and drive engagement with their brand. An email can prompt a customer or prospect to engage with your social presence on sites like Facebook or Twitter, integrating multiple social platforms to drive their desired engagement and customer behavior. Email is at the risk of missed opportunities if businesses aren’t leveraging the data they’re collecting from their array of marketing campaigns.

Personalize emails and make them dynamically impactful to readers. This not only increases open rates, shares, and engagement with customers, but it encourages them to become an advocate for the business. For example, Lyon says, a new account opening could prompt an email for the customer to write a review on why they choose a new product, thus driving advocacy.

Given the constant stream of news within the financial industry that customers and prospects should be informed of, Aaron Morrow of LJI Wealth Management continues to stress how important it is to leverage digital marketing to measure the lifecycle of customers and keep them informed to build a loyal, successful audience.

Susan Marshall is the CEO and Co-Founder of Torchlite Digital Marketing, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. For 25 years, Susan Marshall has built and launched professional web and video editing applications including Flash, Dreamweaver and Final Cut Pro. She has also lead digital marketing efforts for large corporations such as Apple, ExactTarget and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

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All content © 2016 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

The Financial Brand Forum 2016 | May 16-18 | Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Comments

  1. Hi Susan,

    While the article is helpful and informative, what I find interesting is that the four tactics (Be Data-Driven, Diversify Marketing Efforts, Listen to Customers, Pay Attention to the Customer Lifecycle) all are rooted in the traditional principles of marketing. Over and over again, people, marketers, want to make it seem as though digital marketing strategy (and success) is some sort of lofty aspiration when, in fact, much of it falls within the realm of traditional marketing. Sure new channels and mediums are now part of the marketing mix, but the principles of how to reach, connect and motivate consumers remains much the same as they have always been. In short, if companies apply traditional marketing principles and best practices to the digital landscape they should be just fine.

  2. Susan,

    I agree with the four tips you offered and would suggest a fifth: deliver an amazing experience. When banks and credit unions think about their “experience” they often think solely about the branch experience. However, experiential marketing applies just as much to the digital world as it does to the physical. “What is it like to do business with our financial institution digitally” is a question every bank or credit union must answer.

    Mark

  3. Roger — Thank you so much for your comments. I agree. Traditional marketing principles still apply and are very relevant. Too many marketers are overwhelmed by new channels, new technology and new trends and lose sight of what they already know. The key is to apply that way of thinking to new ways of reaching customers with relevant, highly personalized messaging in the channels they prefer.

  4. Mark –

    Great comments. I should have added that one! Agree that service (wherever the customer experiences your brand) is critical. More and more, customers are relying on social channels for service and brand engagement, and we need to be there to answer their questions, help them along and show that their business really means something to us.

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