Today’s consumer differs drastically from the consumer from 10 years earlier. Gone are the days when people would consume most of their information from newspapers and magazines. Now, everywhere you look, you’re bound to see someone on a desktop, smartphone, tablet, or any number of devices, catching up on the latest news headlines, shopping online or checking email.
In fact, recent research shows consumers look at their smartphones an average of 150 times per day. It’s how most of us communicate and interact on a daily basis. It’s the new digital world we live in.
While many brands and industries have adapted to this new world, the financial services sector has been somewhat reluctant to join the party. For decades, financial institutions have relied on direct mail marketing and mass media for credit card offers and invitations to apply for loans. And while direct mailers and mass media still serve a purpose, they have become somewhat less effective as of late.
Simply put, too many consumers have become numb to this type of marketing. And that means thousands of marketing dollars are wasted on postage, printing, ad buys and fulfillment costs.
So how do banks and lenders not only reach consumers, but also deliver a message that resonates and encourages them to take action?
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Two Words: Go Digital.
Instead of relying solely on traditional communication channels, such as direct mail and mass media, the technology exists to help financial institutions deliver firm offers of credit via email and digital display advertisements. This enables them to reach consumers through their preferred communication channels. But it needs to go a step further.
Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages on a minute-to-minute basis. And oftentimes, the messages are irrelevant. In the new digital world, consumers expect and deserve an experience that is customized to their needs. So how do banks and lenders avoid sending out pre-approved offers of credit to non-qualified consumers, or advertising on channels consumers just ignore or never see?
In the digital world, data is king. Financial marketers can gain insight into how their best customers behave, as well as their preferences.
Through a combination of third-party information and its own credit criteria selection process, financial institutions can cut through the noise and deliver a highly personalized credit offer that resonates with their intended audiences at the exact time of need.
Measurement is Key
While there are many advantages to digital marketing, perhaps the most beneficial is that campaign performance can be tracked much more easily. For instance, financial marketers can see if offer emails have been opened, if banners have been clicked and if forms have been completed, enabling them to adjust content if needed.
Marketers can track campaign performance through the sales funnel, and better understand which channels are most effective. Not only does current campaign performance get a lift, but marketers can be more strategic in the future.
Go Across Channels
By no means are we advocating for the discontinued use of direct mail or other channels. Every channel, traditional and digital, serves a purpose. But every communication, regardless of channel, needs to work together to tell one cohesive story.
Firms also need to analyze the cost to acquire with the ability to generate loans. When doing so, you’ll find that advanced targeting and digital channels are a winning combination.
That means your direct mail piece needs to complement your email messaging, and so forth. The consumer needs to be at the heart of the communication strategy. Marketers can amplify their communications by implementing an omnichannel strategy. With consumers constantly bouncing from one screen to the next, financial marketers need to ensure their message tells the same story across all channels.
Consumer behavior has changed, and financial marketers need to adapt to the new digital environment. But it doesn’t have to be a difficult transition.
The technology and data already exists to help marketers identify their best audiences and improve the customer experience. Unwanted credit offers will be a thing of the past. The marketers who can bridge the gap digitally, are the ones who will connect with their customers and succeed.