Targeting Strategic Segments to Acquire Account Holders & Grow Revenue

Data-driven audience strategies can change the way you market. Great first-party data is invaluable, but even if your data isn't marketing-friendly there are other options that can make your bank or credit union's marketing much more effective.
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Today, the most effective financial marketing is powered by data and enabled by insights. But if you don’t have an effective insights program in place where do you start? Who do you target, how do you reach them, and what will make them convert? We examine these age-old questions with now-age strategies.

You need to build a target audience…but where do you start? If your bank or credit union doesn’t have a data-focused marketing plan, start with where you are and what you know. Learn more and gain deeper insights about the account holders you have, why you have them and how you can gain more consumers like them.

The Basics: Digging Into Your Data

Account holder profiles: The most important tool in your arsenal is your first-party data. If you don’t have customer insights, it’s time to develop comprehensive profiles of your current account holder base. Without solid profiles, it will be challenging to deliver a personalized customer experience.

Key Point:

Account holder profiles — typically called first-party data — are essential in growing the services per household and lifetime value of your account holders and in driving new account acquisition.

When it comes to account holder data, some financial institutions have great first-party data files to work with, but not all. If your data files are not marketing-friendly, you are not alone. There are options in both scenarios, but the paths are different. So let’s examine them.

Scenario 1: You Have Good Account Holder Data. Start with Model Audience Strategies

If you have solid account holder data files or first-party data, model strategies hold great opportunity for audience targeting. You can start by layering additional data points from multiple sources into your files. There are tens of thousands of attributes available on U.S. consumers via third-party data.

You can gain rich consumer insights about your current account holders to guide you in growing revenue per household. But equally important is that the insights you gain will help you acquire and grow with new individuals and households.

In applying and adding third-party data to your account holder profiles, you can focus on consumer data characteristics at the individual or household level that are specific to financial products and services you offer. These characteristics strengthen the insights, give you a clear picture of your target consumer and also help inform the channel strategies (both online and offline) that will be most effective in reaching this audience.

The result is better account holder growth strategies and a solid audience model for new consumers, and it all pays off in more targeted and effective campaigns.

But what if you don’t have good first-party data today? Many financial institutions still do not have a good account profiles built from first-party data. In the next scenario, we show how a segmentation strategy is the alternate path.

Scenario 2: You Lack Good Account Holder Data and First-Party Data. Start with Segmentation Audience Strategies

Segmentation audiences are the place to start for building a prospect file when you don’t have good first-party account holder data. With the segmentation approach, you look at demographic and lifestyle attributes that indicate a likelihood to purchase. These attributes include age and income and often cluster your account holders into groups. Segmentation-driven audiences can be built with both offline and online data.

Look-alike online audience strategies

Look-alike audiences are created from numerous online channels, but there are two different paths to look-alikes.

When you are modeling your audience off your first-party data, you can target prospects based on what they do in those channels. You can actually find people who behave online like your best account holders. You are going to look for consumers who have similar browsing and purchasing behavior and target them during this activity.

But if you are light on first-party data and taking the segmentation path to your audience strategy, you can still create a look-alike audience based on who the consumers are. These same platforms can provide audiences with the geographic, demographic and lifestyle attributes that are likely to purchase your products.

Once your audience strategy is set, your insights should guide your campaign choices.

  • Let your audience strategy steer your channel strategy: Your audience strategy will guide you to the optimal channel strategy. The right third-party data points applied to your first-party data will help you understand the best way to reach the audience. That might mean a mix of paid social and paid search. Or it might tell you that your target audience responds best to a mix of traditional direct mail and native online ads. You gain insights that tell you which social and digital channels this target audience engages with across digital media and traditional direct marketing.
  • Capturing attribution: With the target audience defined, it is critical to capture attribution from your campaign activities. Measuring visits and conversions is a starting point, but if you can integrate the full impact of specific advertising activities and channels into your target profiles, you will get on the path to calculating precise marketing ROI and lifetime customer value.

Adding random control measurements to all aspects of your campaign will give you even more clarity and confidence about the impact of individual channels. It will help you understand whether the channels you are impacting are the top, middle or lower part of your marketing funnel. Control measures and testing can also help you determine the relative performance of each channel activity along with paid versus non-paid brand activities (think social, search and PR).

  • Proving your marketing ROI: An insights-driven plan lets you optimize your marketing spend to get targeted results from account holders and prospects alike. It gives you the data you need to use channels like levers to impact all stages of your marketing funnel more effectively. The best part is that this plan will give you the analytics you need to prove the impact on revenue and define your marketing ROI to leadership.

A Final Note:

Powerful marketing today requires solid account holder data and deep insights. Getting to the insights and using what you learn there is the first step in the shift to data-centric marketing. It can be daunting, but the results are worth the work.

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