In today's fast-paced digital world, financial marketers face an ever-evolving landscape where customer preferences and behaviors are shifting rapidly.
Customers now expect personalized experiences and seamless interactions across various channels. To stay competitive and meet these demands, financial services must embrace an omnichannel marketing strategy. This approach ensures that customers receive consistent and tailored messaging, whether they engage online or offline.
The multi-channel strategy means there is data coming from all over the place at a rapid rate, and for many marketers, the sheer amount of data can be a double-edged sword. Without the right data strategy, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by your data. Still, for those who have streamlined their data insights, it’s become much easier to measure and optimize marketing activities and finetune the network of touchpoints that today’s financial customers expect.
Here, we'll dive into the five crucial steps financial services can take to optimize their omnichannel marketing strategy, using real-world examples. From hypothesizing and testing to measuring and optimizing, we'll explore how these strategies can empower financial institutions to connect with customers effectively and drive growth.
Step 1: Develop your hypotheses
Effective omnichannel marketing starts with informed hypotheses. Financial institutions can hypothesize about customer behavior, preferences, and the impact of various marketing strategies. For instance, a bank might hypothesize that sending personalized investment advice via email will increase customer engagement and conversions.
Say a Credit Union hypothesized that offering customized financial planning webinars would attract more millennials to their services. They can act on this hypothesis by designing a series of webinars focusing on topics like budgeting, investing, and retirement planning.
The first two things you should do is leverage data integration and deep-dive analysis. Data integration will come in handy in the steps to follow and can be seen as the most critical step you can take. This includes consolidating data from various sources such as CRM systems, social media, and advertising platforms. If you want to really make sure you’ve got a strong hypothesis in place, the importance of pulling your historical data across these platforms is vital. By examining historical data, you can identify patterns and insights that inform your hypotheses and ensure your strategies are not solely based on recent or short-term information.
Step 2: Test your hypotheses
Once hypotheses are in place, financial services can test them using controlled experiments. These tests help identify what works and what doesn't in the real world. In the example above, the bank would test the impact of their customized webinars on millennial engagement and conversion rates.
To put this in use, imagine you’re a marketer at a bank and you conducted A/B tests by offering the webinars to one group of targets and not to another. They found that the group exposed to webinars engaged more opened new accounts, and invested more with the bank.
In your own efforts, you can employ this tactic by setting up automated data fetches to occur on the frequency you need to constantly check on performance. For most, this is daily fetches of data so that you can act nimbly based on what your data is telling you.
Step 3: Measure success metrics
To assess the effectiveness of your omnichannel marketing efforts, measurement is essential. Financial institutions can track key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyze data to gauge the impact of their strategies. In the webinar example, measuring success might involve tracking the number of attendees, their demographic data, and their subsequent financial behaviors.
Let’s say a regional bank measured the success of its webinars by analyzing attendance data and correlating it with account openings and investment activities. They may pull the data together and discover a strong positive correlation between webinar participation and increased financial engagement.
To measure success, this is where data visualization will come in handy. By getting a visualization in place that you can constantly check back to and see the performance, you’ll be able to quickly determine what levers you need to pull on your campaigns to ensure the best outcomes. Data stuck in spreadsheets makes it hard to see where improvements can be made - so challenge yourself and the organization to get meaningful visualizations in place.
Step 4: Optimize based on results
Optimization is an ongoing process in omnichannel marketing for financial services - and quite frankly, the hardest part. Based on the results and insights from previous steps, institutions can refine their strategies to enhance performance continuously.
For example, if paid search ads were successful in booking appointments with reps, the bank could optimize by expanding its paid search strategy and putting more marketing dollars in this channel.
If a financial services company optimized its strategy by offering more ads targeting a broader range of topics and promoting them through multiple search engines - this could result in even higher visibility and conversions.
Step 5: Innovate for future success
As the financial services industry continues to evolve, innovation is crucial for staying ahead. Embrace emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain to enhance customer experiences and security. Explore new channels and platforms to reach a wider audience. Moreover, regularly revisit and adapt your omnichannel strategy to align with changing customer behaviors and preferences.
So, for example, a forward-thinking financial institution might leverage blockchain technology to streamline cross-border transactions, offering customers faster and more cost-effective international money transfers. This innovation not only improves customer satisfaction but also attracts new clients seeking modern and efficient financial solutions.
Building an effective omnichannel marketing strategy in the financial services industry requires a systematic approach of hypothesizing, testing, measuring, and optimizing. By embracing innovation and leaning into data, financial institutions can create seamless customer experiences, improve engagement, and drive growth in an ever-evolving digital landscape. With the right strategies and a commitment to continuous improvement, financial services can thrive in the era of omnichannel marketing.