Financial marketers sometimes worry that extensive use of data analytics will come across as “creepy” to consumers. That doesn’t bother Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer at JPMorgan Chase, who thinks that data analytics will only improve the relevance and personalization of marketing messages.
As an example, Lemkau describes “intelligent” banner ads — selected through analytics — that Chase displays on its own website:
“You spent $400 on Amazon purchases last month. You could have used the Amazon Rewards Card. Here’s $300 to sign up for one now.”
JPMorgan Chase issues that card, of course.
“That doesn’t even feel like an ad,” Lemkau said at a recent advertising industry event. “It’s much more like a way to show that you really have the consumer’s back.” And it means much more to that consumer, personally, than a generic banner that may have nothing to do with his or her needs.
Lemkau is bullish about the future of data applications in financial marketing. She believes that “dumb banner ads” (as she calls them) will be increasingly replaced by more and more outreach targeting individuals. And, according to Lemkau, this is just the beginning.
Traditional Advertising Headed for the Graveyard
When Lemkau appeared at a symposium alongside fellow speaker Allan Thygesen, President of the Americas at Google, the two discussed the impact that data will increasingly have on financial marketers, how banking providers will find prospects, and how they will cross-sell to more customers in the digital era.
According to Thygesen, the traditional approach to advertising that revolves around “reach and frequency” is facing extinction. He says mobile devices and digital marketing are driving the last nails into that model’s coffin.
“Reach and frequency worked for a long time,” Thygesen says. “But that formula is broken in today’s consumer journey.”
Thygesen speaks often about how today’s journey has changed irrevocably. Similarly, Limkau dwells on the radical evolution of marketing techniques today. Both insist that financial marketers need to be involved earlier and deeper in the product development process, focusing on personalization and customization that’s quickly becoming the norm in marketing.
Many senior-level marketing execs working in today’s banking industry came in through the advertising path. Not Lemkau, she rose up from the public relations side. Regardless, neither advertising traditionalists nor PR pros were prepared for the degree to which marketing now revolves around data. In either case, Lemkau says financial marketers that aren’t prepare to leave the past behind will struggle.
While the financial marketer’s job has become more complex in many respects, the fundamental mission remains as simple as ever.
“It’s to drive growth,” Lemkau says. “Period.”
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Farewell to the Old Marketing Funnel
The concept of the marketing funnel goes back to the late 1800s and has influenced how financial marketers see consumers’ decision-making process ever since, from initial awareness of products to final purchase.
“If you’re still sitting and staring at a funnel, you’re going to be an 18-monther in the CMO seat.”
— Kristin Lemkau, JPMorgan Chase
But it’s time to dump it.
“If you’re still sitting and staring at a funnel,” Lemkau says, “you’re going to be an 18-monther in the CMO seat.”
“Most journeys today don’t look much like a funnel at all,” agrees Thygesen. “Mobile has put consumers in charge. We expect an immediate answer if we want to know something, do something, go somewhere, and buy something.”
“All of these ‘intent-rich’ moments are creating journey shapes that are as unique as each of us,” continues Thygesen. “Intent is everything. Intent is redefining the marketing funnel.”
Financial marketers no longer need to guess at what’s inside consumers’ heads. As Thygesen explains, consumers are sharing it — loud and clear — every time they turn to digital tools for help.
Lessons for Financial Marketers From Jill’s Search for Skin Care
Thygesen uses the story of “Jill” to illustrate his point about how consumer shopping behaviors have evolved. Jill is searching for makeup that won’t trigger her skin allergies. In the old days, he said, the entire journey would have consisted of a half-hour trip to the local pharmacy.
Now, Jill could spend up to two months searching the web for advice and recommendations, making over 100 different brand touchpoints, and all of it beginning with Google searches — sometimes too many to count.
Jill may narrow her choice to five products, which could look like the narrowing neck of a funnel to marketing traditionalists. But then she visits Youtube and watches several skin care videos that make her reassess everything. Now the funnel’s neck widens.
What finally brings an end to the journey and triggers a purchase? Jill discovers Ulta’s allergy-friendly cream. She decides she wants it immediately, so her last act on the web is to search for a nearby Ulta location.
So what does skin cream have to do with financial marketing? Well, for starters, the customer journey has become exceedingly complex. The lines between digital and physical worlds can become so blurry that marketing attribution can be almost impossible. Think about Jill’s purchase. Should Ulta attribute the sale to the physical store? How would they know her digital journey is what ultimately triggered the purchase? Banks and credit unions face the same problem? How much of the journey really occurs online? How many financial products would people acquire in digital channels if they could?
In this new world of consumer purchasing, said Thygesen, pushing product by itself won’t work. Marketers need a new approach.
“People are choosing to engage with brands that are relevant, helpful, and personal,” Thygesen explains. “Consumers are expecting assistance from brands.”
Brands must organize their operations to fit this expectation, he advised. They must capitalize on every opportunity to be helpful.
“Doing that will have a bigger impact on your consumer’s life and on your business’ bottom line,” says Thygesen. “When people can count on a brand, a brand can count on growth.”
Three Fundamental Changes for Marketing
Thygesen says that these tectonic forces — the death of the traditional funnel, the rise of “the helpful seller,” and the power of data-driven insights — have reshaped the marketing landscape, and financial marketers must acknowledge three shifts that have resulted:
1. New metrics are now important. Concentrating on four key measures — impressions, views, clicks, and even online conversions — is off the mark now. Ultimately, focusing on performance against goals, revenue, and, finally, profits means more because the rest of it is merely interesting and doesn’t mean results, according to Thygesen. He advocates for an “omnichannel” view of sales.
2. No one is marketing to “Joe Average” anymore. Thygesen suggests that many brands need to focus on those consumers who mean the most to sales. With much web promotion being paid for, and with even “free” promotion requiring pricey systems and expertise, “those are the consumers you want to pay up for,’ he said.
3. Everything must be automated. Why? The volume of the challenge is beyond the human mind. “If you are not automating 100%, you’re falling behind,” Thygesen explains.
Chase CMO Advises Readjusting Thinking on Data
Thygesen often references how consumers get “creeped out” by data analytics. After all, anyone who has ever been followed around the web by a “Do you have fat in your liver?” banner knows that feeling. But Lemkau said financial marketers should readjust their thinking. And their terminology.
Instead of thinking of data as data, she recommends marketers “think about it as information around somebody’s life.” Perhaps your spouse, or mother, or kid. Then it can have a profound impact on what you do with the data, and for what purpose. It’s one thing if you are just trying to exploit data to sell more stuff. But it’s another if you’re trying to grow your organization’s bottom line by identifying pain points and solving people’s problems.
Lemkau frames her argument in terms of customer service. For instance, everything that can be done to eliminate the need to fill out a form or application is a big win.
“It’s a change in mindset,” Lemkau explains. “You should only have to become our customer once. After that, I should be able to offer you what you need.”
Currently, half of those who apply for Chase mortgages already have other business with the bank.
“And yet they don’t get treated any differently,” says Lemkau, who bemoans the fact that everyone must fill out the entire battery of paperwork, even existing customers. “It’s super-annoying that we ask for their addresses, emails, and other things that they expect us to know already. In a ‘one-click-to-accept’ world, that’s the next opportunity for us.”
Polishing Up the Chase Sapphire Brand
“Does anybody know the names of bank checking accounts?” asks Lemkau rhetorically. Typically financial institutions have names for each account internally, but to consumers they are usually meaningless, if they know them at all. Lemkau thinks that such names are not really brands.
For JPMorgan Chase, the concept behind the company’s latest Sapphire launch was to forge a new lifestyle banking brand — a means to build broader relationships with a specific target segment: affluent Millennials. The name came from the bank’s Sapphire and Sapphire Reserve credit cards. Lemkau says Chase had a great brand in that name, and retooled a relatively unknown premium checking account to be the centerpiece of Sapphire Banking.
Data enabled Chase to build around that.
“We’ve learned a lot about affluent Millennials,” Lemkau says. “For example, they like value, and they don’t want to be boring like us Gen Xers.” So the bank assembled services around that understanding — no ATM fees, waiver of other everyday fees, free online trading, access to the Sapphire Lounge in pop-up locations at concerts, sports events, and other venues.
Lemkau said the reception has been strong, even though formal marketing hasn’t even begun yet.
“Marketing has to be much further involved in product design, rather than just selling things,” she says.