What Is ‘Addressability’? (And Why Banks Should Care)

The "spray and pray" shotgun approach to marketing is dead. Financial marketers no longer have to guess who they are talking to and where consumers are at in the buying cycle. In today's digital world, the digital footprints and breadcrumbs everyone leaves behind allow marketers to construct profiles of individuals that enable one-to-one marketing journeys. It's called "addressability," and it's the juju that makes marketing personalization in digital channels possible.

Marketing in financial services is at a crossroads. Banks and credit unions find themselves at the intersection of two massive forces: rapidly evolving consumer behaviors, and a digital environment that pumps out oceans of data. Those financial marketers who are able to adapt will be in the best position to engage consumers and maximize their ROI.

Which brings us to the subject of addressability.

Addressability is the process of customizing marketing messages to match the personal lifecycle needs of specific consumers at a specific point in their purchase cycle, thereby optimizing relevance. You can draw on various data sources to build a profile of each individual prospect you want to target.

Retargeting (or remarketing) was an early example of addressable marketing in the digital space. With retargeting, if someone on your website looked for home loan information, you would retarget them with mortgage ads later while they were browsing a site like CNN.com or ESPN.com.

Don’t confuse “addressability” with “knowing someone’s identity.” In the Digital Age, you can learn a lot about someone without ever learning their name. As a digital marketer, you may never know someone’s name, but you can know what they are about, what they like and don’t like, and what they want from you.

Read More: Personalization in Banking – From Novelty to Necessity

Of course, addressable marketing isn’t an entirely new concept. Back in the old days, we used crude data points like ZIP codes to try and improve targeting and reduce waste. Yes, we were used the principles of “addressability” — unique ways to track and contact individual consumers — but these archaic direct marketing systems were largely based on guesswork and (often flawed/faulty) assumptions. These days, with the wealth of data pouring in from sources like Google and Facebook, there’s no need for guesswork.

Reality Check: If you had access to everything someone had ever searched for on Google, along with a complete record of everything they ever did and said on Facebook, you would almost know everything there is to know about that person. The only thing you’d need to complete your biography would be a copy of their financial records… which you already have.

This is why spending in traditional media channels like broadcast TV, print and radio is shriveling — marketers don’t know squat about the audience they are reaching. With traditional media, you can’t personalize anything because you don’t have any data, any insight into who you’re talking to.

Addressability Is The Future of Digital Marketing

The world of addressable marketing has exploded exponentially — display ads, paid search, social, video, etc. Why has Facebook’s stock tripled in value in three years? Why does Google have a market cap over $350 billion? The answer is simple: “addressable marketing.”

Facebook was among the early pioneers to test the concept of addressability, and Navy Federal Credit Union helped prove that it can work in the banking industry. Now everyone is looking to extend that success across the internet. The rise of programmatic ad buying at scale and the creation of addressable marketing platforms such as Google, Amazon, Pandora and others, have fundamentally changed the marketing landscape. Addressability allows marketers to move from marketing to anonymous personas to marketing to actual known individuals (person + device ID).

These profiles — constructed from what people are looking at, searching for, their geolocation — are so accurate they are beyond the imagination of marketers 10 years ago. This type of people-based marketing enables financial institutions to reach only the people they want to reach — no more, no less.

Addressable, people-based marketing solves the cross-device challenge by tying direct-to-consumer campaigns back to specific individuals — who you are targeting, who is converting and what interactions are driving increased revenue. This new level of precision and relevance engages, educates and even entertains consumers. It’s the closest thing to one-to-one marketing you may ever see at scale.

Read More: The Future of Financial Marketing Hinges on One Word: Data

Making It a Reality

But to pull it off, addressability requires a new synergy of capabilities, process and skills:

Infrastructure. You need a database that fits your financial institution’s business- and profitability models, with a modular design that adapts to the highly organic/evolving tech stack. You also need a data management platform that appropriately harnesses personally identifiable information (PII) and mobile data, instead of shallow and soon-to-be obsolete cookie data, and an advanced email platform that goes far beyond email as simply a “free marketing tool.”

Analytics. A process that harnesses the expertise of dedicated analysts to continuously synthesize a brand’s first-party data with deep, rich third-party data. The outcomes? Iterative and robust segmentation and insights, effective and accurate audience modeling, mapping and prioritizing real-time media behavior, and fact-based marketing attribution.

Execution. You need a programmatic (i.e., automated) media platform focused on message optimization, not impressions or volume/tonnage, built around data-driven insights, alignment with the customer journey/lifecycles, geolocation and timing proximity. You also need test-verified creative design for myriad platforms and devices.

When addressability is done right, your digital marketing ensures you reach the right audience at the right time… every time. It is a win-win for everyone — consumers, marketers and those providing the data. Consumers are demanding more relevant and engaging experiences online, and these expectations extend to the advertising and marketing messages they see. The content, interactions and features have become richer, creating a more rewarding experience for the consumer at the touch of a fingertip.

The freshest and most accurate data is your own. combining that data with third-party data will provide a comprehensive view of your customers’ direct interactions with life stage, behavioral and demographic information. This people-based approach combines online and offline data together to create a single view of the customer journey. And this level of insight into the customer journey is critical in today’s cross-channel, multi-device world.

As addressable media has moved from the possible to the practical, people-based marketing has become a powerful tool for financial marketers. It uses the most valuable resource banks and credit unions already have: data. Data is the backbone of addressability, and the tool you need to break through and reach consumers.

Marketers are embracing addressable media for good reason. Marketers who embrace people-based marketing are seeing greater efficiency compared to traditional display ads. Investment in addressability pays off in better results, higher engagement, and improved loyalty.

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