4 Ways Bank Brands Can Supercharge Their CRM-Driven Digital Marketing

The untapped marketing potential in CRM data could be put to good use if banks and credit unions adopted personalized, addressable interactions. Doing so would also avoid wasting marketing dollars on consumers who don't fit the target audience. Simple, incremental steps can help financial marketers launch effective people-based marketing programs.

Financial marketers have a wealth of information available at their fingertips with their existing offline addressable campaigns, customer insights, and segmentation, but many of them are not taking full advantage of this data in the digital space. Leveraging this information will immediately improve the performance of their digital programs and push into people-based marketing digital programs. This eventually will lead to better conversion rates, more personalization, improved customer experiences, and ultimately the acquisition or cross-sell of additional accounts.

Implementing this capability can be daunting for all but the largest financial institutions. The good news is that improvements can be incremental, and are well within the scope of most bank and credit union marketing departments.

By ‘addressable approach’ I am referring to people-based marketing. To interact with a customer on a specific marketing channel you need a way to reach them — you need an address. In the offline world, this is simple — an email address or a postal address. In the online world, addresses are anonymous, tied to devices, and changing all the time. This makes it hard to reach the same customer across channels and devices with a consistent message. That’s where data onboarding fits in and creates the ability to identify and target known customers and prospects.

Here a few of the benefits to using an addressable approach to digital media campaigns. They enable you to:

  1. Make informed and targeted decisions on who you reach and what message you deliver
  2. Reduce spend wasted on cookies that don’t represent the consumers you may think they do or don’t fit into your target audience
  3. Minimize fraud, by targeting a known customer, not a bot.

Implementation of the following four components can significantly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your digital campaigns.

1. Matching CRM Data to Digital Platforms

Addressable targeting allows brands to match their CRM data against a digital platform with personally identifiable information (PII). Facebook is particularly valuable in this capacity, not only because the vast majority of Americans have a personal Facebook account, but also because Facebook typically collects important PII, such as name, email address and, often, phone number. Other platforms have begun to recognize the value of matching CRM data inside a data-rich platform and are opening up similar opportunities.

Many consumers’ daily internet activities require a login that can be matched back to them, including music streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora, and news accounts such as The Wall Street Journal. These and many other subscription services have valuable information that can be leveraged to target specific individuals. These types of subscription logins are particularly valuable from a targeting perspective, allowing banks and credit unions to reliably know who they are targeting.

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2. Necessary Planning for Addressable Campaigns

In order to execute a true addressable campaign, bank marketing teams would need to assess and develop a plan for accessing and gathering their customer lists. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to accomplish this task; it truly depends on how an organization’s databases are set up. Financial marketers need to partner with their database teams to complete an audit of existing materials and better understand how much data is accessible and which attributes are available (e.g., PII, demographic data, product data, or online banking usage statistics). These types of attributes are tremendously valuable and can help the team glean insights and refine targeting decisions.

Once your marketing team is comfortable moving forward with the identified lists, it is time to load them into the partner platforms. There are a few options for this, including:

  1. Directly load the lists into the platform through the database team
  2. Leverage a partner agency, or a data onboarding tool such as LiveRamp, to upload your lists.

The safest way to share this data is through hashing (encrypting) the information to prevent unwanted access. You must be vigilant about maintaining the security and confidentiality of the data, consulting with your legal team to ensure that your plans are within compliance boundaries for your institution.

3. Getting Started: Don’t Move Too Fast

It’s important to set proper expectations for rolling out a digital CRM testing program up front and to understand that existing CRM models were not built in a day (more likely, they took many years to create), so assigning proper timing for execution and observation is essential.

Based on the benefits of addressable media, bank and credit union marketers are often tempted to immediately move all digital media to addressable platforms quickly. This is not recommended, however, because addressable campaigns will not be able to find and identify everyone you want to target. The best approach is to launch in phases, review results, and make informed decisions on additional areas to invest your media outside of addressable targeting.

Developing a robust messaging strategy will be one of the most important components of a digital marketing team’s approach. The development of messaging will be dictated by which audiences the team chooses to target, when to target them and whether the targets are existing customers or prospects.

One final thing to keep in mind is the role of controls and measurement. Most financial services marketing teams today are executing CRM campaigns through email and direct mail, so it is important to remember that if the campaign messages the same audience with the same offer in digital and CRM, then incremental measurement will be difficult. Therefore, it is recommended to maintain controls across channels. The best approach is to conduct a multi-cell test — one cell for traditional CRM only, one for digital only, a combined cell and a control.

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4. Set Up An Audience Testing Plan

When using a multi-cell test approach, the approach should be tiered. Each financial services organization should establish a testing plan and rollout that fits the institution’s needs. The four points below outline the lowest hanging fruit based on scale and typical ease of execution. All of them can start simply and become more complex over time.

Exclusions. The term “exclusions” may not spring to mind when thinking about applying CRM to a digital campaign, but it is very important. Exclusions are typically quick additions to campaigns that do not require much effort. These additions are made for two reasons:

  1. Organizations would immediately stop serving acquisition ads to customers that they had already acquired
  2. If the organization served offer ads (especially in search engines), then many of the existing customers would click the ads to login, not realizing that the ads featured an offer for a new customer.

In banking, 40-60% of brand keyword volume is driven by existing customers. This means that if organizations have not applied exclusions, they are potentially wasting or incorrectly messaging 40-60% of their brand search budget.

Cross-sell. Exclusions naturally lead to your next best investment — cross-sell campaigns. These campaigns are targeted toward existing customers, so financial institutions will already be aware of the customer’s attributes. Once the digital marketing team has applied the product-level exclusions within their digital campaigns, it should then leverage the CRM lists for the next best product sold. Digital teams need to think about the best way to group audiences based on needs and testing. Many customers qualify for several products, so teams need to consider which products they would want to feature and be careful not to inundate a customer with too many messages.

Prospecting. Though many digital partners will allow advertisers to target third-party lists, Google does not. This does not eliminate a bank or credit union’s ability to identify target lists and acquire prospects in both addressable and digital campaigns, but it does limit some reach. Similar to your existing customer lists for cross-sell, digital teams can pull prospect lists, along with any attributes they may have, to build lists to test in digital.

An additional consideration in prospecting is the analytic capabilities that these platforms offer. Many of the digital platforms that financial institutions may leverage, such as Facebook, offer their own modeling services. Often, top deciles tend to be a little older and less likely to be very active in digital and social media (if they are present at all). Leveraging these platforms’ modeling services may allow you to find those who look similar to your top customers but are more likely to be online.

Onboarding. Research shows that proper customer onboarding is one of the most important tactics for effective long-term customer retention in financial services. For example, Google offers app download ads, a format that allows organizations to reach existing customers who have not downloaded a bank or credit union’s mobile app. These and other similar onboarding messages and experiences can be targeted to new customers through Google, Facebook, and other digital platforms to improve customer experience and retention.

The key to developing an effective CRM strategy in digital is to always be testing. Complete an audit of the audiences and information available to get started, then put together a test-and-learn plan. Finally, start enhancing the digital targeting capabilities and learnings in your institution’s digital media campaigns.

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