Skip to main content

Financial Marketing

6 Steps to Targeted Marketing for Your Marketing Strategy

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Targeted MarketingThe advantages of targeted marketing seem self-evident, yet many companies still use advertising strategies that would only be current in an episode of Mad Men. Too often in marketing strategy we use a bazooka to do the job of a hypodermic needle.

When you focus on the general market, you end up reaching a lot of people who are uninterested. This “spray and pray” method worked when you didn’t have to prove an ROI. In today’s marketing world, that isn’t relevant. Or smart.

A few weeks ago a national manufacturer decided to send me a sample of their product hoping to gain my business. It was a brightly displayed package and since it was a dimensional piece, it stood out in my mailbox.

There was one BIG problem: It was for pantyhose.

I’m sure there may be a market for people named Adam who wear their product. I just don’t happen to be one of them. They had wasted their money and effort. This mailing was not an example of targeted marketing.

One example of targeting a broad audience is an advertising legend. In the story, the media director of a large agency was presenting to her prospect, a manufacturer of a car steering wheel lock. She claimed she could cut his outdoor advertising in half and still maintain their current results. How? They would only run ads for the auto anti-theft device that commuters would see driving into the high-crime downtown area, not out. She won her agency the account.

That’s targeted marketing.

When you adopt a targeted strategy, your focus is greater, your results are better, and your prospects feel appreciated. And it all starts with defining your targeted customer.

Here are 6 easy steps:

  • Step One: Start with your current customers: Take a good look at the customers you already have. How old are they? Where do they live? Check out who’s following you on your social channels. These customers are so much more than an opportunity for repeat sales; they’re a wealth of targeted marketing information. Study them. Look for consistencies and you’ll find your focus.
  • Step Two: Leverage the competition: Do a little recon in your category. Find out what your competition is doing right and who they are reaching. After that, you have a strategic decision to make. You can either go after that same audience or steer clear of them and look for a niche of your own. Either way, you’re focusing in on a specific group.
  • Step Three: Study your offering: Take a close look at your product or service. List the features and the benefits. Then use that as a springboard to the type of person who would benefit most from what you have to offer. What you have could be good for everyone, but it is more than likely best for a specific target.
  • Step Four: Use demographics: You can get very focused with every feature you give your audience. What’s their age, their income level, gender and marital status? Are they well educated? What’s their ethnic background and location? The more specifics you choose, the better off you’ll be.
  • Step Five: Get in their heads: Now that you’ve focused on their demographics dig into their psychographics. How do they feel? What are their priorities in life? Imagine their opinions, interests and lifestyles. This way of thinking may seem like something that would help only your creative department, but it goes much deeper than that. Many companies have looked at psychographic and used them to influence their media strategy and on some occasions, their product development.
  • Step Six: Once you have your target audience, target them. Craft messages specific to their wants and needs. Develop media placements that hit their cities, zip codes, and even neighborhoods.

Your targeted marketing and marketing strategy will reap wonderful results. You’ll be more efficient and more effective. And you won’t waste time and money sending “Adam” pantyhose. And isn’t that what great marketing is all about?


Is Your UX Driving Your Mobile Users Crazy?

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Mobile Apps, User Experience

Mobile UX CrazyThere’s a lot of mobile user angst out there with mobile apps. If you don’t know definitively that you are NOT driving your mobile users crazy with the user experience (UX) on yours, you probably are.

Being a mobile pain is nothing to beat yourself up about. The mobile landscape is constantly changing as are the needs of its users. However, here are seven tips to keep your mobile users pleased and coming back for more.

  1. Less is always more. The point of a mobile app is for a laser-fine, focused purpose. Your mobile app should be about a single tasks or benefit. It’s not supposed to communicate everything about your company (in fact, if it’s about you, then by definition it’s not about your user). Remember, your app should provide a service. If you can’t say in one sentence what your app does, it should probably be a mobile site instead.
  1. It’s OK to be old. Ever have a smartphone that gets a little long in the tooth way before its time? Too often this is done by developers creating for the cutting- edge phones. Users who have a phone that’s a generation or (gasp) two generations old, end up using apps that their hardware isn’t built to run. It’s OK to be current, but not at the cost of alienating a large percentage of your users. So, be leading edge without being bleeding edge and more people will enjoy what you have to offer.
  1. Be tutorial-free. Say what you want about Apple and the iPhone — and many hardcore mobile critics have — but every device they create is painfully intuitive. Ask someone if they read the user’s manual for their iPhone and they’ll give you that blank, confused look toddlers give you when you play “I’ve got your nose.” You don’t need a user’s manual because the user interface is that simple. Make that simplicity the goal for your user experience. If you think you’ll need a tutorial to guide your users through your mobile offering, you’ve got a problem.
  1. Be welcoming. Requiring user to log on using their Facebook account is cumbersome, obtrusive, and inhospitable. Not to mention there is a growing amount of users who have dropped their Facebook account. There are younger users who have never created one; they live on Instagram or Twitter (Yes, you are now allowed to feel very old).
  1. Is this really necessary? Before you create a native app, ask this vital question. Why are you creating this app? If it’s any version of, “We need to stay current to the mobile trends,” run, don’t walk, away from the project. Creating a web app for the sake of having one can do more harm than good. Native apps are very popular, but they are also very expensive. Look at your goals. If they are achievable with a mobile site, do that instead.
  1. Desktop experts aren’t mobile experts. Building an interface for touches and swipes is dramatically different from building for clicks. It’s like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it. Don’t make the common mistake of transferring your desktop UX to mobile. You’ll have users scratching their heads and dropping your app faster than you can keep track.
  1. Make it quick. Users download apps for speed. They expect your app to work as fast or faster than your mobile website. This audience wants to get things done quickly. They’re in line at the grocery store or waiting for the elevator. Every second is vital. That need for speed means your app should be responsive. Make them wait too long and they will disengage, forget they have the app on their phone and never come back.

The long track to mobile success is also twisty and narrow. Give it your time, discipline and patience to get it right. When you surprise and delight your user, they will let you into their mobile world, and you will become a vital part of their lives. And that makes all the time, discipline and patience worth it — and then some.


What the Heck is Loan Generation Anyway?

By Financial Marketing, Marketing Research, Marketing Strategy

Loan Generation Dollar SIgn RisingImagine a marketing program that tells you the customers that qualify for loans. All loans. Auto, home, credit cards and personal loans would be made available to the right customers. This results in better quality leading.

Balances are higher.

Interest rates are higher.

And credit scores average 720.

But it doesn’t stop there. Because this program doesn’t just tell you about these loans. This program tells customers about the loans in unique and dramatic ways.

The marketing is targeted.

Here’s an example. Say there’s a member who hasn’t purchased a car for over 24 months. That person would receive Next Car Purchase marketing materials letting them know they are qualified for a low-interest loan for their next car purchase. Imagine another person who just financed a car. That person would get messaging letting them know they can refinance at a lower rate. This form of targeted messaging is put to work for home loans, credit cards and personal loans as well.

The messaging reaches multiple channels.

You will reach your customers through email, direct mail, your website, your branches, call centers and even mobile. Smartphones open up a wealth of possibilities in these specific situations. Imagine getting financing for your car, via your smartphone, while on the lot. This form of loan marketing and processing is seamless, flexible and unprecedented.

The process is turnkey.

From tailored letters that help increase response rates to detailed ROI and analysis, this program is made to make things easier. Every piece of communication is FCRA/FACT compliant, and every channel is built to work together. And since these prospects are prescreened and targeted, you’ll have a campaign that is efficient and effective.

Starting is easy.

Taking on this program offers tremendous opportunity with minimal personnel. It all boils down to six simple steps:

  1. The Lead Generation team digs into your membership and finds the credit quality and loan type you need.
  2. They will then collaborate with you to develop a tailored and personalized marketing strategy.
  3. The team will send offers to the right people, with the right message using the right channels
  4. You happily close the loans resulting from your targeted offers.
  5. You follow up with your members.
  6. We conduct in-depth ROI analysis on your full campaign.

The detailed analysis is one of the big things make this program so powerful. There was a time when a marketer’s in-depth analysis on the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns involved waiting for the phone to ring or talking to the salespeople. Those days are happily over, and we are all better marketers because of it.

Sending out your messaging used to be the end. Now it’s when the fun begins. You can track everything. You can see what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, you can take that information into your next campaign.

People used to spend thousands on focus groups and surveys. They’d sit behind one-way glass, eat bad catered food and listen intently to people who knew they were in a focus group. The process tainted the answers.

Now what works and what doesn’t is all right there. You can quickly divert the most funds to the most effective message and medium. You are now in the know and knowledge is — as they say — power.

The charts and graphs in this program present your results in stunning and easy to analyze detail. This analysis can everything from the channels you use to the way you offer a call to action to colors used in the background.

So check out Loan Generation. Your loan acquisition costs will go down. Your loan volume will go up while your relationships with your members will deepen. And that is the best proof of success you can achieve.

The Content Game Plan — Creating the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

By Blog, Financial Marketing

Who needs a content strategy?


You do. Seriously.


For many companies, content marketing has become the link between brand awareness and lead generation. If you can nail it, you’ll build trust with future and current customers. In fact, according to recent studies, search queries for “content strategy” has more than doubled in the past two years. It’s becoming its own medium. It can seem daunting, but with careful planning, a focused strategy, and precise execution, content strategy can work for you.


Wow. Okay, so how do we even begin?


The first thing you need to do when considering a content strategy is to get support from your stakeholders. Content marketing is not something that is short-term. It’s a long-term commitment and requires everyone to be on board and supportive to the point of involvement sometimes.


Having everyone on board means you’ll have to sell the idea to your executive team as well as other people with key roles in your company. When you talk to these people, make it about them, not about the content strategy. Talk about the company’s goals and then prove how content strategy and marketing can help meet those goals. There is a return on investment when it comes to content, but that return is not instant. This exercise is about building a relationship. Like all relationships, that takes time. Make sure you manage those expectations when pitching your content marketing plan.


They’re on board. Now what?


To be successful, you must understand your audience. All content needs to be relevant to their needs and what they want from you. To figure this out, figure out who your customer is. Ask questions like


  • Who is our ideal customer?
  • How do they make purchasing decisions?
  • What makes them happy?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What areas of their life can we speak into as experts?


Answering these questions will allow you to build a picture of the person to whom you are talking. Once you have that person, give him or her a name. Make it personal.


Gotcha. Did it. What’s next?


Great. So far, so good. Time to figure out what content to create.

Now is the time for research. To create content that will be most relevant to your customer, you need to know what’s out there already — and identify holes that you can fill with your information. Some ways to do that include:


  • Looking at social media channels with listening tools (a variety of which are free) to figure out what people are talking about, meaning what conversations are already happening around your area of expertise.
  • Take a look at your website analytics and see what brings people to you in the first place.
  • Look at the industry as a whole and find new trends and relevant things. Be a thought-leader.
  • Yes, just ask your customers what they want to know more about, what they care about, and what they want you to teach them.


Remember: It’s not all about you. When it comes to actually creating the content, it’s about making things your customers want. Is this a video about financial planning? Is it a case study about the current things happening in the market and how they should react?


This fact brings us to the next most important point: make sure your content is cross-channel and cross-media. Oh, and don’t just create content, curate it. Tons of information exists already and can be re-purposed and reshaped to meet the needs of your customers. Plus, finding existing content just shows that you’re out there looking and not stuck inside your brain (or boardroom).


We have lots of great stuff gathered. What do we do with it?


Plan, plan. And then plan. Think of content marketing sort of like writing a magazine. Each “issue” or month must be carefully planned out. Put together an editorial calendar to map out topics and methods of capturing them. This approach is good for overall content campaign strategy, and also a tool to show the executive board that willingly (or reluctantly) agreed to let you begin marketing this way in the first place. Let them in on this process. Let them approve the calendar before a single piece of content gets produced. Then there are no surprises for them, and you can go off to the races. The race to create the most relevant pieces of content for growing your customer loyalty — and your customer base.

Let’s Grow – And let’s start using strategy to get there.

By Blog, Financial Marketing

No matter the size of an organization, everyone is searching for the perfect formula: The one that will grow their customer base and their ROI. Honestly, a company that isn’t growing is dying. It’s a basic Business 101 concept.


There are plenty of formulas out there businesses like yours are using to achieve a great deal of success. Our goal is to help you capitalize on models that already exist — while not breaking the bank in the process.


That sounds great, what’s actually working?


Start with checking account acquisition. If it seems too easy, maybe that’s because it is. It’s the simplest way to attract and convert new people, create lasting relationships, and serve as a reason to contact them with cross-channel promotions.


Think about it. Everyone needs a checking account. No matter how digital things go and how much people hate to write checks, they still need to be able to write them. And every banking transaction typically goes through this account, whether by debit, EBT or a classic, old-school paper check.


How exactly does this work?


Start by understanding your market. Spend some time on the front-end doing analysis so that you fully understand the objectives to set. One way to do this is by using predictive analytics to target your future market as well as existing customers. Then commit to an offer and make it appealing.


Why would someone choose to go with you over another institution? Incentivize the heck out of whatever you offer. (Sorry if we used strong language there, but this is important!) Do this and you’ll see results.


Consider offering a set interest rate for opening a checking account with you or offer a pre-paid debit card as a thank-you for joining. Then blast this offer out wherever you can. That means maximizing the offer across channels. Promote it in branches, on the internet and anywhere else you get traffic.


Once you get new members, retain them with a set onboarding strategy. Gather their email address and send follow-up offers, news, and incentives. Thank them for trusting you as a financial partner. Sure it takes a little legwork upfront, but it pays dividends.


What does the research say?


Okay, checking account acquisition is a great place to start. Next let’s take a look at the mindset people are in when they’re making the decision to change and how that impacts what you should do.


Research finds that there are certain reasons consumers decide on a primary financial institution. Marketing, negative experiences and life events are drivers in the market for people to switch. Some shifts in consumer mindset show that organizations like yours need to be “always on” as this is a driver for people considering a switch. If your brand as seen as available and caring, it’s easier to secure a new customer. Especially when they are shopping different institutions at once.


It’s also important to remember that the financial services path to purchase is not as predictable as it was before. Take checking accounts for example. Most consumers visit at least one bank or credit union website prior to purchase, with a majority visiting multiple sites. For this reason, it’s challenging for financial marketers that want to be where the consumer is shopping for new checking accounts. Sure, digital retargeting is still a smart tactic, but it’s time to start thinking outside of that box, too.


One more thing before we go.


Okay, the fact times are changing is apparent, and that can be daunting based on your goals and needs. But don’t let that get you down. Here’s why: Our research shows that prescreen credit data can be your most powerful marketing tool.


Great news, right?


Make sure to use this data to its full potential; it can be segmented tons of ways to identify a large pool of qualified members. In acquisition speak, that means targeting specific messages and incentives to people based on their needs, needs identified before your second point of contact with them. And that is the first step to acquiring new members — and growing.

The Value of Brand Values

By Blog, Financial Marketing

Brand ValuesWho are you and what do you stand for?

There is nothing more important for a business than knowing who they are. I’m using “who” because that’s how a brand should be seen — as a person. It’s the best way to start and deepen your relationship with your audience.

So as a brand ask yourself, what do you believe? What do you sound like, look like, and feel like? Who are you talking to? How are talking to them? And what do you want people to feel when they hear you speak?

You don’t invent this meaning. You uncover it. Branding starts inside an organization and then grows to meet the public. It’s important that everyone who represents the company understands and represents the brand. A brand is a promise. The people in your organization handle fulfilling that promise. That’s why it’s vital that your brand is communicated clearly and consistently across all channels — and every touch-point for consumers.

Okay, so how do we figure out who we are?

Start by asking yourself some basic questions. Then survey several key people within your company to answer them, too. Things like:

  • What’s the most important thing we want people to think about our company?
  • Do we want to talk at people or talk with people?
  • What are some keywords that you think customers use to describe the company?
  • Are these the keywords you want them to be using?
  • Write down a list of brands you admire. How can you get closer to their type of branding?

You might notice some inconsistency in what you’re hearing. If that’s the case, consider hiring an agency to take a look at your brand and evaluate it/grade it. A complete rebrand isn’t always necessary, but sometimes it is.

As the saying goes: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

Once you figure out who your brand is, it must stand for something. To figure out what that is, start looking into the different channels.

Right now, the buzzword is “content.” Content marketing might be right for you, but not necessarily. Would your customers benefit from content? Would they even want it? The answer here requires an in-depth analysis of their daily habits and where they get information. Once you understand their information-gathering patterns, you’ll know if targeting them with content is smart – or not.

So if it’s not content, what is it?

Good question. A lot of brands find success by being altruistic. They help make the world a better place. We’ve seen this work with huge brands like TOMS and Apple, but it can work for your brand, too.

Consider partnering with a cause you believe in and committing to donate a percentage of your profits each year to benefit them. Partnerships like this not only help create an emotional connection for Customers with your brand, but they also help give you a reason for being or a “Why.” And every brand needs a “Why.”

Is a brand a logo?

So glad you asked. A logo (or a mark in old-school advertising speak) is only part of your brand. While it’s a vital visual representation of you that is consistent across all channels, it’s not who you are. If your logo is green — not everything you do has to be green. If your logo has a star in it, you don’t have to be named Star Company, Inc.

That said, a logo and proper brand materials are important to have a well-received, established brand. Partnering with a design firm who specializes in branding is a good place to start for this project. They should be able to provide you with multiple options of logos, taglines and ways to talk about your company as well as ideas for cross-channel collateral and incentive programs.

Brands tell stories.

So enough about what we think, let’s talk about you. Or rather, let’s have you talk about you. That’s the beginning of defining your brand — and it sets you on the path to telling the beautiful story of who your company is, why it exists, and what it has to offer the world.

Highly Recommended – Growing through referral incentives.

By Blog, Financial Marketing

Highly Recommended

Incent, incent, incent. And after that, try using an incentive. In our over-cluttered, over-informed world, one of the best ways to grow it through referrals. If you think that think this strategy sounds like you’ll be paying people to sing your praises, you’d be right.

There’s no shame in rewarding people for expressing what they already believe. These folks have enjoyed working with you. With the proper motivation, they will happily refer their friends, family, and inner-most circle. And that’s when the magic happens. Once more people find out you’re incentivizing referrals, the more referrals you’ll get. And then, boom. It’s like a waterfall of new business.

So we’re not going to be losing money on these incentives?

Absolutely not. Well, maybe on the first one. But after that, the returns pay dividends.

Companies like Airbnb and Starbucks see huge results by incentivizing referrals. But you have to go about it correctly. A lot of banks and credit unions view referrals on a small scale — typically implementing them as short referral campaigns and then shelving them.

We think we know why. The process needs to be easy for the customer. We’ve seen a lot of referral programs advertised on a website or email, which is fine — until the customer is required to take an extra step like printing out a PDF to make the referral. This one extra step can lose you a referral. People want to be rewarded — but with the minimum amount of work. The easier you make it, the more effective you’ll become.

Okay, what’s the right way to do it?

Look into using a digital referral platform. But not your old stand-by. In fact, we’ve seen that the typical digital referral platforms aren’t as effective as a few new things out there. Let’s take a look at some examples of companies that are using new digital referral techniques and seeing success:

  • Several neo-banks including Simple and Coin are making digital referrals an integral part of their lead generation and acquisition strategy.
  • Outside of our industry, services like Uber, Airbnb and Clear use these programs and continue to gain customers — and market share.
  • Banking institutions who are using referral programs correctly — like Simple, view it as not just a once-a-year campaign but as a key piece of their digital marketing and lead generation strategy. Especially when it comes to onboarding and cross-selling. Simple even has a referral function within their online banking platform to make it easy for their customers to do this. But they don’t stop there. They follow through with referral call to actions across onboarding emails once someone has applied for an account with them. They make the process (you guessed it) simple.

Not totally convinced?

It can be scary to change the way you approach referrals, but it doesn’t have to be. Talk to the people behind the scenes of your digital marketing and ask about testing a new referral system.

Sometimes, taking a small step in the right direction is the right place to start. Once you begin to see positive results, look into implementing the new strategy across multiple channels. You won’t be disappointed by the results you see; chances are you’ll experience exactly the opposite.

You must understand what your customers need and want – and what would be the right way to incentivize them. No one wants an incentive they don’t need. So spend some time on the front-end doing research. Find out what’s working in similar institutions. And then, sit back and watch the referrals flow.

Just don’t forget …

The single most important part of this puzzle is to track your referrals — and follow up. Say thank you. It creates a positive reinforcement loop that sends a message your institution is all about action and accountability. People aren’t required to refer you to anyone. The fact they did so is a big deal — an extra step. Sure, you’ve made it easier for them by digitizing it, but it’s still something they did because they believe in you. Prove to them that you believe in them, too.

Going Mobile: Tips on reaching consumers when they’re on the go.

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Millennials, Technology

Going mobileMobile is still booming. People now spend more time on their smartphones than on their desktops and laptops combined. And the gap is widening. We are now officially past the smartphone tipping point. Now that users are in the mobile world, how do we get them into our mobile world? Here are a few tips to encourage them to download and use your mobile banking app.


Tip #1 — Keep it simple


Work with your IT team from the very beginning to make the process of downloading and using your banking app as painless as walking into one of your branches and opening up a checking account. On the other end of the process, train your in-branch team members as well as your online and telephone helpline staff on guiding your users through downloading and setting up your app.
These associates should know everything about this process just like they are expected to know everything about the other products you offer. The people jumping into a mobile banking app at this point aren’t exactly early adopters. They’ll need a little technology hand holding, and the financial institutions that do that will capture this end of the adoption bell curve.


Tip #2 — Get them watching


We all know how much it costs to process a check deposit at the branch level. If we can get our customers to utilize mobile bank deposits, we’ll be able to provide a more convenient service for a fraction of the price.


Enter video tutorials. By creating an easy-to-view, easy-to-follow video on how to deposit checks with your phone, you will send adoption rates soaring and ease up on all the time consumers spend on customer helplines.The phrase “Content is King” has run its course and is now about as trite and worn out as “You go girl”. But it became a cliche’ for a reason. And video content is the perfect way to train your new user on how to utilize their handy dandy new mobile app.


Tip #3 — Use every option


This moment is the perfect chance to leverage every marketing channel you have. When you launch an app shout it from every marketing rooftop you can find. Make sure you hit them with the formats they are most familiar with and then branch out to make a splash. After your launch, don’t abandon your promotion. Too many marketers make this mistake. Support your application with continuous marketing support.


Tip #4 — Keep it digital


By reaching out to your base with your digital channels, you’re one step closer to application download and adoption. Carve out a consistent and noticeable spot on your banking home page and use it to drive your customers to mobile. Use your social channels to promote the release of the app and then gently remind your audience of the mobile banking advantages.


Tip #5 — Don’t forget email


Recent studies have shown that 49% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. In this particular case, your email list is very useful because email from your financial institution gets opened. Once your customers do open your email make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Also, make sure there are direct links to the most popular app stores — iTunes and Google Play. Finally, make sure you’re tagging these links for tracking and analytics.


Tip #6 — Include snail mail


Yes, as outdated as this might sound, consider the audience. Reaching the percentage of your customers who have yet to start using your mobile banking app through a more traditional form of communication makes a lot of sense. Nothing crazy or flashy is required. Something as simple as a statement stuffer might work wonders and, at the very least, be a solid reinforcement of your message. For these reasons, this traditional form of advertising still has a useful place in your campaign.


Tip #7 — The human touch


What better place than your branch to walk people through downloading and using an app? If a member of your staff can make the life of a customer easier and more convenient, you’ve hit a home run. The branch is also a great place to promote your mobile banking with signage and collateral.



To sum it all up, the best branch your customer could have may not be a branch at all. The idea of banking convenience is being redefined one smartphone at a time. Get them to use your app and you’ve deepened the relationship that leads to a customer for life.



Keeping Track — ROI measurement tools to better assess your marketing


Advertising legend has it that in 1951 many major cities began to experience a massive loss in water pressure at the same time on the same night of the week. After studying this odd phenomenon, a wise water department official soon made the connection.


It was The Lucy Show.


The red-haired comedianne was so popular that nearly the entire city was quickly going to the bathroom and flushing their collective toilets all at the same time. And tracking advertising effectiveness (or lack thereof if your commercial ran at the beginning of the break) was born.


Oh, how things have changed! Gone are the Mad Men days of throwing a message out into the vast semi-empty world and waiting with bated breath to see if sales somehow magically went up. It was a golden era when marketing wasn’t trackable and in turn, marketers weren’t completely responsible. Media buying was less about direct results and more of a “spray and pray” discipline.


Define ROI? These guys couldn’t spell ROI.


You, on the other hand, market in a world where you need to show a substantial return on nearly every dollar.


Here are five tips that will help you become a more effective marketer:

  • Plan ahead. Put measurement into your marketing plan from the start. It’s vital and will help you make many of your channel decisions. And add a channel hierarchy into your plan. When you have multiple channels working together, the analytics on each channel can be blurred. But they should be. That means that your efforts aren’t siloed. Just manage those expectations in your plan with a clear channel hierarchy.
  • Use control groups. To determine true results, you’ll need to create a control group. With the growth of multi-channel digital marketing, this can be a difficult endeavor, but it’s worth the effort. Without a control group, your results can easily be criticized. Credit for success can be given to other outside events beyond your marketing’s influence. With solid marketing planning and campaign management tools, you can create and maintain a pure control group that will in turn maintain the integrity of your results.
  • Define your metrics. To gain a more accurate measurement of your marketing be sure to define the metrics of your successes. This step seems elementary, but when the metrics aren’t well defined, marketing results can be seen as “fuzzy”. Your results, on the other hand, need to be crystal clear. Making sure your metrics are defined and well communicated to all stakeholders will get you the detailed measurements your well-spent money deserves.
  • Give credit per channel. Each channel should have its set of measurements for the simple reason that every channel is different. So make the rules different. Rolling out a campaign means that certain channels will get the credit for a first impression, and other channels may get credit for a sale. They all work together but manage the results by the different definitions of success that each different channel will have.
  • Manage and communicate the results. With all the pieces of communication going out and the massive amounts of information from your analytics coming in, it may feel like you’re trying to drink from a fire hose. Automation is the key. Leverage the many great tools out there to automate your information gathering. Then make sure your results are effectively distilled and expertly communicated.


The numbers from your findings won’t mean a lot if they can’t be properly digested. Visual representation of your results through dynamic graphs and infographics will make your results shine. They will also make your findings easier to understand.

And there you are. By creating a plan, using control groups, metrics, separation and automation you can garner effective measurement ROI for your marketing. This practice is part art and part science. The more experience you have analyzing your results, the more accurate your results will be.


The opportunities are out there. By tracking the channels that lead to a successful sale, you’ll ensure your marketing is working. By making decisions and changes based off your analytics, you’ll be able to speak to the right person at the right time with the right message.


And that is the ultimate goal of all effective marketing.




Let’s get personal – creating a unique and individualized consumer experience

By Blog, Consumer Experience, Financial Marketing

Lets Get PersonalRelevance.


If you remember one word from the next few paragraphs, remember this: relevance.

The User Experience on the Internet is tracked, and that information is used. The web, the great equalizer when it comes to information, is evolving to fit the individual. It’s an equal trade off when looking through the proper lens. Users are giving up information about themselves through their activity. In return, they are receiving information from outside sources that fit that activity. They are repaid with relevance.


As marketers, this is a vital facet of understanding our customers and creating a web experience tailored to them. These tailored experiences are quickly changing from a pleasant surprise to a user expectation.


Our privacy is our currency.


When it comes to our online lives, we are all being watched. Everything from our last purchase to how long we hovered over a photograph of a scantily-clad model is being monitored.


As awareness of this fundamental truth grows, so does concern about it. Privacy settings are made available to users who don’t want Big Brother watching so much. What is the best way to keep the access of information flowing? Be a better Big Brother. For us to have access to how that experience is being used, we need to make it useful. Make it important. Make it relevant. When that happens our customers won’t see it as being watched, they’ll see it as being listened to, and that’s something everyone wants.


Who’s doing personalization right?


When it comes to creating a cutting-edge personalized user experience, it should come as no surprise that Google leads the way. Using an innovative algorithm, Google will give different results depending on the user. For example, the term “Modern Warfare” will get different search results if the person searching is a hardcore gamer versus a history student.


Netflix, the corporation who seamlessly transitioned from a DVD rental company to a streaming entertainment giant, sees the future too. They are investing $150 million in creating a customized experience through recommendation systems. And they have hired 300 people to create fresh, humanized and relevant recommendations. Why? We will all soon grow to expect a personalized experience.


Where’s personalization headed?


Now that we’re all on our mobile devices — and checking in on everything from Facebook to Foursquare – our location behavior is being added to our online behavior. In short, we’re bringing our online world into the real world. As this behavior continues to get tracked, we will soon have our content delivered based off where both our passport and our browser history has taken us. Things are about to get real. Very real.


What can we do about it?


As marketers, the opportunity is as relevant is the phenomenon. We can deepen our brand loyalty by making sure our brand fits the lives of our customers. We brag about treating people in person as more than a number. Now we can do that with our online customer service as well.


Here are four steps to personalizing your brand:

  1. Get to know them. By using web analytics, you can discover who your customer is by finding out what they want, when they want it and now even where they want it. You can then create the world where everything is in front of them. Everything just fits. Their online experience is as effortless as their experience in your branch.
  2. Give them an incentive. Here’s a great idea to solidify your personalization reputation. Do more than a broad promotion. Do a personalized promotion. Imagine getting a discount on a financial product in which you’re already interested. Now imagine trying to resist that temptation. Say a customer gave up on a loan application. It happens; life often gets in the way. Now imagine how that customer would feel if they were offered a discount to finish their application. How great would that be? That’s deepening your online brand experience.
  3. Give them assistance. Navigating the swarm of financial products can be intimidating for even the more experienced customer. Offer up a little human help that will be more valuable than 17 pages of FAQs. Investing in a 24/7 customer service rep or even making an online chat available to your user wandering through your website could be a lifesaver.
  4. Recruit them. We live in the Recommendation Age. If you have a fan of your company, it doesn’t take much effort to turn a customer into a brand ambassador. A referral program offering them $20 for every new customer they bring in to open a checking account is a great brand building combination. You bring in new business while deepening your relationship with a current customer.

Welcome to the new world; make sure you own it.


Our world of personalization is constantly evolving. Do more than embrace it. Celebrate it. Web personalization is a great opportunity to give your customer a voice, a passion, and a reason to love your brand. The time is now to make our information and our brand relevant in their lives — one customer at a time.



Cracking the Millennial Code

By Blog, Consumer Experience, Financial Marketing

Cracking the Millennial CodeGuess what marketing strategy would get Millennials to switch to your financial institution? Go ahead. Guess. Would you need to build more branches? Hire more staff? A slew of marketing tips? Place a small army of ATMs in prime locations? Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

You’d just need to build a better app.

In a recent survey involving more than 4,000 respondents the majority said that their current mobile banking app was “lacking” (53%). They also said they would switch to a different financial institution if a better app were available. And the generation that made the majority of that majority? Millennials.

Yes, the secret to the current marketing fad de jour “Millennials” — a buzz word that has quickly surpassed “Big Data” as the next, next big thing — has been revealed. The newest and strongest demographic, now surpassing Boomers in purchasing power, can be captured and converted into new members through mobile banking.

These smartphone savvy users are also very interested in “Branchless Banking” and would be most receptive to even paying a monthly fee, in this case, $3, to use a better banking app.

The big reveal in this survey is this: for Millennials, your most important branch is their most important and most personal device, their smartphone. Creating and marketing a better mobile banking experience will enable you to tap into a demographic that is 80 million strong.

This insight presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to endear yourself to a group that can become the coveted member-for-life at the very beginning of their banking life. Let’s dig deeper to see how this generation ticks and why they will shape the future of banking.


Your timing couldn’t be better

The age of Millennials 19-37 is the prime occasion to find and deepen a relationship with a financial institution. It is the perfect time to win loyalty for a lifetime. This generation sees technology as connective and intuitive. For many it is not the means to an end. It is the beginning, middle and end. They came of age in the internet era. As a result, they are “connected” with their peers and their institutions like no other generation. Formerly known as Generation Y or Echo Boomers, they are more diverse and more educated than any other age group before them.

And here’s the very interesting tidbit when it comes to financial products, they are buying their first homes much later in life. Meaning the opportunity to capture a mortgage bearing member is still possible even if you’ve come late to the marketing-to-Millennials game.

They really are that into you.

A fairly common misconception that has gotten way too much attention is the rumor that Millennials are into anything but finances. Recent studies have proven this rumor to be a myth. This generation craves more financial information than the others, and they’re not afraid to ask for help. As they hit more significant life stages like advancement at work, having a child and as we mentioned before, owning their first home this need will only increase.

Additionally, this generation absorbs information in a completely different way. Long blocks of text are often avoided as they have been trained to scan their information for photos, videos and bullet points. Infographics seem to be custom made for their kind of information gathering.

Cash isn’t king.

More than any other generation before them, Millennials don’t rely on cash to get through their day. When asked in a recent study about the amount of cash they carry, nearly a quarter of them say they carry less than $5 with them seven days a week. Imagine putting your marketing dollars behind a campaign touting your convenient ATMs to this market. It would be more than wasted money. You’d be spending precious dollars letting them know you are out-of-touch with them and their lives.

They think globally and bank locally.

Most financial institutions are born and raised in their local communities. Does this point of differentiation matter to this young, fast-moving generation? Absolutely. More than half of the Millennials surveyed said that working with a local financial institution was important to them. And 40% of Millennials will pay more for a service if it’s local. The reason? They see their purchases and financial choices as a way to stay connected the their communities.

What to do with them once you have them.

In summary, the key to Millennials banking-hearts is through their phones. And once you have them, make them feel connected. Stress you’re impact on the local economy. Emphasize your digital offerings and let your employees reach out to them via social networks, texting and emails. And when they’re ready to learn about your credit union and how it can affect their lives, communicate in the way they best absorb information.

The bottom line is this: as different as Millennials may seem, at their core they have more in common with other generations than you might think. They’re grounded, community-focused, and can become loyal and lifelong supporters when you correctly present them to your institution.