What 3-Year Olds Can Teach Banks About Online Marketing

Here are three tips to inject the creativity and resilience of a child into your online marketing campaigns.

By John Siracusa, President & CEO at mOSa eBank Marketing Services

The financial industry desperately needs a fresh approach to online marketing — one that is open to new ideas and outcomes. Unfortunately, bank and credit union marketers are usually too afraid to try new things. Not kids. They are willing to experiment without any fears about looking silly or stupid. In fact, some of the most important things I have learned about financial marketing came from my three year old daughter. Here’s three of the lessons she’s taught me.

1. My daughter learns from past mistakes

One thing that all children have in common is how to recover from their past mistakes. Not only are they able to brush themselves off, they learn and adapt, and become wiser. In fact, by the time a child is three years old, they are already capable of laying out a strategy in advance to get what they want. When my daughter asks my wife for something, and she gets told no, she doesn’t give up. In fact, she takes it as a personal challenge to overcome an obstacle. She makes light adjustments to her behavior or the way she asks, and tries again. She will keep trying until she gets what she wants.

( Read More: Banks’ Future Hinges On Sharpening Digital Marketing Skills )

Those of us in financial marketing can learn a lot from this approach. At many banks and credit unions, the initial strategy that is laid out is normally accepted as immutable gospel. While this may make it easier for higher-ups, it doesn’t account for the variable “x” that seems to exist in every marketing project. If you don’t have a strategy that is dynamic enough to adapt, pivot and respond rapidly to changes, then you won’t achieve your maximum potential. Many of the most successful marketing campaigns happened because people were able to evolve.

Just look at how quickly the marketing landscape has changed. Five years ago, social media marketing was looked at as a passing fad, now nearly everyone realizes how important it is. No strategy will be 100% right from the get-go, the most important thing is to take your lumps, and adapt.

2. My daughter will apply measurements to accomplish her goal

Whether my daughter’s goal is to have a cookie before bed or to get a toy at the supermarket, she will apply any direct means necessary to accomplish it. Her measurements are simple: did she succeed at her objective, or fail? If her approach didn’t work the first time, she will try something new the next time. She will keep trying until she finds something that will get her the results she is aiming for.

Financial marketers often times don’t have a clear objective in mind. Are you looking for a 200% increase in ROI, or higher brand awareness? If you don’t know your goal, then there is no way to evaluate how well your strategy is working (are all you social media managers hearing me?). You can’t just trust that things will turn out okay. Do in depth analysis and comparisons to determine which parts are working, and which parts need to be reworked.

For instance, consider the success of Navy FCU. Through Facebook — a channel that “experts” keep saying should never be used for sales — they were able to acquire 60,000 new members, sell $186 million in loans and CDs, and send a massive spike in traffic to their corporate website. They accomplished this all within a six-week timeframe. They had a measurable goal in mind, and they didn’t let detractors stop them from trying. It sounds exactly like what my three year old would do.

( Read More: How Financial Marketers Are Investing In Digital )

3. My daughter knows how to use psychology

There is psychology at play when it comes to the difference between asking for permission and asking for forgiveness. For instance, when my daughter wants a cookie, she doesn’t just ask for one anymore. Instead, she will get a stool, get the cookie in her hand, then come and ask me for it. She has figured out that I will have a higher chance of saying yes if she already has the cookie, than if I have to get up and get it for her.

Now think about your compliance department. Many financial marketers use them as an excuse as to why they can’t be more creative with their marketing ideas. It is true that marketing in the financial sector does have more stringent compliance standards than others, but it is up to you to figure out how to work through their objections.

The best way to overcome this is to manifest your ideas on paper first, then take it to compliance for approval. When you ask for permission with your plan in hand, they are likely to be less strict than if you asked them for guidelines before you even begin.

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