How ‘Intent Signaling’ Lets Financial Marketers Fully Leverage Data

Intent marketing is a mid-funnel strategy to gain better visibility into prospects just as their online behavior and other data indicate what they're looking for. It's a prime opportunity for new account acquisition and cross-selling. Here's how it works.

There was a time when bank and credit union marketers could rely solely on geographic and demographic information to target their market area for new checking accounts, loans and services.

Today, that spray and pray marketing strategy is a quick career-killer. It’s too expensive to push out blind mass marketing with the hope that some of those consumers convert.

Consumers are not interested in what financial institutions want to sell them. They are busy, bombarded with all kinds of offers in every channel, and can only focus on what they want or need right now.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to connect individually on intent — in other words, on what prospective customers want or need right now.

Data is the most important tool in your marketing mix, as long as you have the ability to listen to what it tells you and the power to act on it.

3 Insights You Need to Understand Customer Intent

The following three essential insights are the foundation to drive new account acquisition and cross-selling to existing account holders:

1. You need to know WHO your account holders really are. You’ve got the basics, but you also need a 360° view of the demographics, geographics and lifecycle data of current and prospective consumers at the individual and household levels. This starts with first party data and predictive modeling.

2. You need to know WHAT they buy and how they behave. When prospective consumers are in-market, offline data collections can provide very highly qualified insights into who is showing strong purchase signals, along with insights into their buying behavior. If you are doing any form of trigger marketing, from new movers to homebuyers, you’ve got a start here. But there are many more resources to build a more robust picture.

3. You need to understand what they are LOOKING FOR right now. Online behavior — including search history, clicks, downloads and more — signals what they are interested in, researching and considering. This data lets you reach prospects as they are starting to exhibit behaviors that signal future purchases. And when this signaling data is combined with the 360° consumer data, you have a goldmine.

This brings us to intent marketing.

The Magic of Intent and How It Powers Marketing

Intent marketing brings magical serendipity to your marketing arsenal with the ability to listen to important signals and act on them. It enables you to make offers to prospects based on their unique interests and most pressing needs at exactly the right time.

Intent marketing is a mid-funnel strategy to gain better visibility into your prospects right when they start to exhibit those online behaviors that signal a potent opportunity for conversion. Online activities give you real insights about consumer interests, curiosities, knowledge-seeking and tangential purchases in real time. And by moving up the funnel for intent signals you can experience less competition to gain your prospect’s attention.

Intent marketing's position in the digital sales funnel

Using machine learning to combine first-party data, offline behavior data and online signals, you have the power to market with laser-sharp precision.

Intent Marketing Is Now Within Reach for Mid-Market Institutions

Today’s largest banking providers rely on this kind of data solution to guide marketing. But mid-sized banks and credit unions have been challenged to harness the right data, employ the data science skills and build the platforms needed to harness data to this degree. But that is changing.

Regardless of institution size, marketers need to grow account bases and protect account holders from competitive poaching by entities using intent marketing. There are obstacles including the high costs of creating or accessing a data management platform (DMP) as well as the difficulties of attracting and affording the internal expertise to deploy it effectively. But that is changing with new opportunities for managed solutions, such as those that data-focused marketing services agencies like Amsive are bringing to the mid-market.

A Multi-Source Approach to Data-Driven Marketing

Intent marketing begins with the first-party data you already have. By applying strategic modeling and lookalike data strategies, with third-party offline behavior data, you can start to use your existing consumer data to effectively build a strong audience strategy.

You then combine that with online data that helps to reveal who your customers truly are, what influences and interests them, and what ultimately leads them to buy a particular financial services product. These are the signals you need.

A cornerstone of this signal-based approach is being able to understand when your prospects are in the market for your products or services. Common examples include knowing when a current checking account holder is exploring a mortgage refinancing, an equity line of credit, an auto loan, credit card or insurance products.

You can layer this information with your existing insight on your audience’s life events, demographic profile and offline shopping and purchasing activity. The sum of this information, combined effectively, gives you everything you need to reach your prospects with highly relevant offers at exactly the right time through the marketing channels that will have the greatest impact. This gain in efficiency makes the most of every marketing dollar.

To Win Big:

Start with the data you already have. Combine it with online data that shows who your customers actually are and when they are in the market. Then, use this enhanced data to make highly relevant offers.

Intent Marketing and Your Plan

Intent marketing gives you the information you need to identify the best audiences to target for a particular financial service. And you can combine this with your customer data to create a highly relevant offer at just the right time.

Intent strategy guides how to connect with prospects. This information gives you a strong starting place from which to develop the offer, creative and messaging that aligns with their interests and addresses their pain points.

Data shows you where to reach consumers. You will also know the communication channels they prefer. You will know where to reach them and how to distribute your marketing dollars by channel for the biggest impact.

See impact of every marketing dollar. When you utilize a data platform that makes effective intent marketing possible, you also get closer to full attribution. You will be able to see the impact of every dollar you spend. And while intent marketing primarily focuses on enhancing your mid-funnel marketing success, the tracking abilities that accompany its implementation give you the ability to link specific marketing messages and channels to conversion results.

Prove your value. Because you can attribute complete ROI to all your marketing activities, you have all the ammunition you need to prove the value of your marketing strategy. Proven results will justify further organizational investment in these profitable, difference-making activities.

The ability to use this data-driven approach to measure, analyze and continually improve your marketing can provide benefits that are much greater. You will gain the deeper insights into your own marketing that you need to get a better payback on every marketing dollar you spend..

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