For financial services marketers aiming to improve targeted prospecting efforts, it isn’t enough to just throw out a banner ad or run a limited direct-marketing campaign, tick off that you’ve met certain impression or response rate thresholds, and consider your efforts a success.
Nowadays, a deeper understanding of your ideal prospects and how to best communicate with them is essential to any customer acquisition effort. Here are three steps every financial marketer can take to help their prospecting efforts pay off.
1. Identify your ‘ultimate’ goals. Hint – goals should be a customer behavior!
To acquire new customers (or expand relationships with current customers), you first need to have a clear sense of how you will measure success. For many marketers, “goals” are metrics such as response rate, online ad impressions, and email opens. Those are definitely benchmarks to reach for along the way, but they are not always the best end goals.
Goals should be tied to things that matter to your overall business not just marketing related goals. Do you want prospects to open an account with you? Set up an appointment with a private banker? Request more information about your savings or loan offerings?
Essentially, what is the desired end result of your marketing program? Marketers need that vital piece of information before they can get a sense of what marketing strategies they need and what kind of prospects they need to target. It doesn’t really matter if you’re attracting thousands of clicks or impressions if they aren’t the right clicks or aren’t converting.
2. Profile your best customers . . . and target prospects just like them
Before you begin to cast your net, you first need to identify your optimal target audience. The best place to start is to look towards your current customers. Who are your most profitable customers? What are their common characteristics?
Create profiles of your best current customers (whether you define that by profitability, revenue, number of services, etc.) and then develop targeted prospect segments that have similar characteristics and communications preferences as your best customers. Your brand, product offering, distribution channel, and pricing already resonate with your best customers – you just need to find more like them.
Marketers should look beyond traditional demographics when creating profiles. Households with similar demographics (age, marital status, presence of children, etc.) may have vastly different financial preferences and behaviors. Are they savers? Spenders? Credit-dependent? Focused on retirement planning? Savvy investors? Paying down debts? Building a nest egg?
To help identify prospects that are likely to have specific financial behaviors and preferences, marketers can utilize wealth-based insights and financial-oriented segmentation systems from third party sources such as Equifax’s IXI Services division. These types of insights help you ensure your marketing efforts are targeted to the right people.
When profiling your customers, understanding their communications preferences is also an important part of the puzzle. Do they utilize online resources? What about apps? Do they go into the branch? If your firm doesn’t keep track of this type of information, you can easily gather insights into media/channel preferences from third party sources such IXI Services as well.
Utilizing additional wealth and behavioral insights in your prospecting efforts can help you focus on achieving actual conversions instead of vague, less meaningful metrics.
3. Optimize your omni-channel marketing mix
In today’s world, effective marketing requires a multiple touch points for a new product, so adopting an omni-channel mix and combining audience segmentation with a more platform-agnostic approach can help companies get their message through.
Your prospects should dictate your media strategy. Once you have a sense of their channel preferences, you can determine the right channel mixes for your campaigns. Perhaps you’ll do a mix of radio commercials, bus ads, and online ads for one target group. Another group could be marketed to via direct-mail promotions, email communications, and customized landing pages.
Determining the mix of channels and related metrics (ex. clicks, impressions, etc.) generally comes last, not first. There is no point setting a goal of reaching 100,000 clicks on a banner ad if the types of households you’re trying to attract aren’t likely to click on online ads or be interested in your products and services.
By honing in on the preferences of specific target groups and staying focused on the end goal, marketing dollars can be allocated in a more cost-effective manner to help you reach the right household with the right message via the right medium.
In today’s complicated media landscape, you can make your marketing efforts outperform competitors by knowing your audience and media options. With the right data and audience segmentation tools, marketing can yield valuable leads that can turn into high value long-term customers.
Image source: Flickr