Measurement shapes strategy and impacts budget allocations
Despite many advancements that help Financial Services companies target the most appropriate consumers, there are many challenges that are raising the degree of difficulty with marketing performance. One of the top priorities for Financial Services marketers should be mastering the ability to measure the results of their marketing efforts.
In recent years, marketing and branding have become a larger part of banks’ strategies, because marketing, not branch or ATM share, is playing a larger role in driving customer acquisition. The level of investment in marketing has never been higher. Yet, many Financial Services companies are still asking themselves, “Am I spending my marketing dollars efficiently?”
Allocation of marketing dollars is an important factor in marketing performance, making spend allocation imperative. The practice of effective measurement often lags behind customer acquisition marketing strategies and capabilities. The new focus is on the ability to deliver accurate, people-based unified marketing measurement across online and offline channels to maximize media spend, creative rotation, brand impact, account openings and, ultimately, marketing ROI. Given these challenges, what actions do Financial Services marketers need to take?
Set the right metrics
Marketing metrics serve as important way to assess and communicate marketing performance, yet many marketers struggle to determine which metrics are the right ones to deploy. A key component in marketing success has become the ability to demonstrate the impact of marketing initiatives on key business outcomes. Metrics that are perceived as objective, relevant and numerically credible can be a powerful tool, in particular when dealing with financially oriented senior management.
Use closed-loop measurement
The ability to connect digital and offline transactional data underpins closed-loop measurement of marketing impact. We live in a world where many consumers may initially engage with a brand via digital channels; however, they may then open their account in a branch or via a call center. This can make it challenging to connect an offline transaction to related digital touch points. Further complicating the situation, there can be siloed agency or platform (social, direct mail, mass media) reports that do not generate a central source of truth.
Set-up ‘test-and-control’ experiments
Experimental design is a proven methodology that helps Financial Services companies answer questions like “Did my marketing campaign drive new account openings, or would consumers have opened the accounts anyway?” Financial Services marketers should use test-and-control experiments for digital and offline marketing campaigns to objectively measure the lift in new business associated with their marketing programs. This methodology requires a defined “test” group of campaign-exposed individuals and a “control” group of non-exposed individuals.
Minimize ‘audience dropoff’
As marketers enter a more advanced world of digital marketing they depend more on new platforms and partners where data flows and are utilized by DSPs and ad networks. Marketers should review match rates from ad networks or platforms prior to starting a campaign and request their definitions to evaluate each network properly. By doing so, marketers can plan for and neutralize exposure bias, which help them reach their target audience and mitigate the biases generated by audience drop-off due to match rate variations.
Audit your data and analytics
The lack of good input data will lead to poor conclusions. Data is available at different levels of granularity (i.e. individual vs. household), which can impact a true comparative analysis. As a result, it is important to collect and audit all data across touch points so you have the necessary information to answer measurement and attribution questions.
For many Financial Services companies, this can be a complex process as data can exist across multiple lines of business, reports from agencies, social media platforms, and other sources. Lack of comprehensive data makes it difficult to answer performance questions.
Sharpen marketing performance with attribution analysis
Once campaign performance is understood, Financial Services companies should pursue attribution analysis. Attribution focuses on understanding the impact of omnichannel campaigns over a longer period of time and assigning credit to the channels or campaigns that “touched” consumers along their journey (resulting in conversion events).
The goal is straightforward; however, achieving the measurement objective is anything but simple.
Mastering measurement has become an urgent imperative as it evolves into more than a tool for simply understanding campaign performance. More than ever, measurement shapes strategy and impacts budget allocations.
Financial Services marketers must prioritize areas for investment and growth to remain competitive and achieve expected returns on marketing investment. By following the strategies and actions outlined in this article, Financial Services companies can begin to advance their marketing capabilities and create a competitive advantage.
1 “US Digital Ad Spending to Surpass TV this Year: Digital will represent 37% of US total media ad spending,” eMarketer, Sept 2016
2 “US Time Spent with Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates and Forecast for 2013–2018,” eMarketer, Nov 2016