Use Data Analytics to Simplify Financial Marketing Messages

In today’s economy, consumers have microscopic attention spans, and they are constantly bombarded with messages and raw information 24/7. In this short-attention economy, when too much choice is as dissatisfying as too little, simplicity succeeds in selling financial services.

Now more than ever before, brands are competing for people’s attention in an information-saturated marketplace. We generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day, with an astonishing 90% of all data available today created in just the last two years, according to Domo. Americans alone consume data at the mind-boggling rate of 100,000 words daily.

Overwhelmed by this ocean of data, consumers are short-circuiting the traditional purchasing funnel. They are dividing the scarce resources of their time and attention in ways that disrupt conventional marketing paradigms.

So strategies that worked for marketing teams even two years ago won’t deliver anymore. Producing high-quality ad content and maximizing consumer exposure is no longer enough. Punching through to information-overloaded consumers demands cutting through the noise and delivering brand and product information that stands out.

Financial marketers must ask:

  • How can we help consumers meet their needs and wants when they use our products?
  • And how does our product make them feel?

The key is simplicity of messaging and of the value proposition for the consumers your institution wishes to serve.

Too Much Choice is Not What Consumers Really Seek

We might enjoy the benefits of perusing 50 cereal brands in the supermarket, but simultaneously, there’s a longing for the days of slimmer choices, when the term “decision fatigue” hadn’t been invented.

Today, options are more complex and most marketers still lean on their brand’s legacy to promote themselves. Many brands make the mistake of telling consumers how great they are, and that that is why people should choose them.

To put it simply, simplicity works.

Simplicity can generate customer loyalty, foster meaningful consumer engagement and drive sales. Who can ignore the viral success of Apple’s exceptionally streamlined and simplified marketing campaigns? Or Nike’s massively profitable “Just do it” campaign? But it isn’t just Apple and Nike. A Siegel+Gale report on simplified marketing found that a stock portfolio consisting of the top 10 publicly traded companies on their global simplicity index has outperformed every major stock index by 679% since 2009.

“Simplicity can generate customer loyalty, foster meaningful consumer engagement and drive sales.”

And when brands get simpler, consumers get “stickier,” that is, more likely to remain loyal customers by recommending the brand to friends and making repeat purchases. According to the Siegel+Gale research, 61% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand solely because of its decision simplicity, while 64% of consumers are willing to pay extra just for simpler brand experiences.

The bottom line: Simplified messaging and a simple, seamless experience make it easy for the customers to choose your brand.

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Finding ‘Simple’ Sometimes Gets Complicated

But the question is: How can marketing teams best achieve such simplicity?

In my judgment, the best way is to leverage the same digital economy that has upended traditional marketing paradigms and learn to embrace data-driven marketing. “Data-driven marketing” may sound complex. However, it actually delivers simplicity better than any other marketing strategy.

The world is already moving toward data-driven marketing, an approach that avoids the outdated, segment-based communication strategies of the past in favor of using data for direct, one-to-one consumer targeting and innovative messaging.

“Data-driven marketing works because it enables financial services providers to personalize marketing communications and target consumers in the channels where they interact.”

Data-driven marketing works because it enables financial services providers to personalize their marketing communications and target consumers in the channels where they interact: TV, e-mail, mobile, social, etc. Personalized communications are the best way to communicate exactly the information that specific consumers need at exactly the right point in their unfolding customer journeys.

Personalized communications, fueled by consumer data, can keep marketing messages efficient, relevant and meaningful.

And that is the surest path to simplicity.

Consumers in the contemporary digital economy are picky about what they read and what information they consider relevant. The best marketing messages are bound to be the simplest, and the simplest messages are often the most direct, specific and personal messages. Businesses can use data-driven marketing to communicate highly personalized messages across all manner of digital branding, including programmatic media, paid social, targeted TV ads, and even direct mail.

That’s why companies that switch to data-driven marketing have such great results. A bank or credit union utilizing data-driven personalization can generate over five to eight times the ROI on their marketing investments.

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Where Do You Begin the Journey to Simple?

Figuring out your path to marketing simplicity starts with figuring out who your customers really are. Once you know who you’re marketing to, you can craft messages that cut through the information noise and present consumers with the decision simplicity that drives purchases and promotes consumer “stickiness.”

At PenFed, our own path to marketing simplicity began with our Better Together campaign. As chief marketing officer of a national credit union, I’ve learned that financial services are complicated enough for most Americans — 75% of Americans prefer to manage their finances on their own rather than engage with financial services they find too difficult to understand. I came to understand that, in order to get access to the financial support that we provide, our customers needed decision simplicity and a clear value proposition.

The Better Together campaign is our answer to our members’ need. With Better Together, we’ve integrated our financial service offerings into a single marketing pitch that speaks directly to our members’ desires. Our marketing strategy simplifies through packaging or bundling our service offerings into the emotionally impactful message of solidarity. And our value proposition is simple too: Join the credit union family and receive the holistic financial support that only a family like ours can provide.

Integrating our entire marketing messaging platform around this simple strategy and simple value proposition has helped us connect to our members in a way that emotionally feels right to them as credit union family members. As we continue to develop our marketing strategy, we hope to leverage more and more data to make that connection even more personal and even simpler.

Because it’s plain to see that data-driven personalization and simplicity are the future of marketing, for PenFed and for everyone else too.

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