Financial marketers are continually challenged to deliver better results, quicker, and at a lower cost than ever before. Additionally, there is increased pressure to measure and demonstrate the value of each marketing initiative. Without the right tools, these goals are difficult to achieve.
Originally published on The Financial Brand (April 17, 2017)
By Jim Marous, Co-Publisher of The Financial Brand and Owner/Publisher of the Digital Banking Report
The challenges have never been greater for bank and credit union marketers. Doing marketing the way we have done in the past is no longer adequate in a world where the demands are so much greater. Most marketers are faced with the following issues according to marketing automation provider, Marketo:
- Generate more leads, sales and revenue. ‘Seasonal’ marketing programs don’t deliver the needed results. Marketing communications need to be micro-targeted, with exponentially more initiatives being implemented over the same period.
- Manage more channels. To generate the best results, most programs run through multiple channels at the same time, adding complexity to both implementation and measurement.
- Prevent shopping cart abandonment. With much of the sales process occurring online, marketers need to manage each lead through the sales funnel so that potential sales are not lost.
- Improve targeting. Money can’t be wasted on prospects that won’t ultimately convert to sales or on prospects that won’t generate the revenue needed to make the marketing program profitable.
- Align marketing and sales. When multiple channels are used, potential leads need to be delivered to branch personnel and internal sales teams for maximum effectiveness.
- Demonstrate ROI. Research done by the Digital Banking Report makes it clear that organizations are holding marketers responsible for measurable results. Success in delivering a positive ROI usually results in increased budgets. Measurement is made difficult when there is a need to understand not only program success, but channel success.
Marketing automation can help organizations address many of these issues. “Marketing automation has the ability to help scale marketing initiatives, deliver more personalized and targeted communications, align with sales, and measure which channels and programs are the most effective,” states Marketo in the ebook, 10 Reasons to Consider Marketing Automation. Automation helps marketers do what they are already doing – but more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
What is Marketing Automation?
"The average decision-maker receives 3,000 messages per day."
Marketing automation is the technology that allows organizations to streamline, automate and measure marketing programs to improve ROI. According to Marketo, comprehensive marketing automation serves the following roles:
- A central marketing database. The central marketing database stores all prospect and customer interactions and behaviors. “It is the ‘system of record’ for all marketing information,” states Marketo.
- An engagement marketing engine. A platform for creation management and automation of marketing processes and conversations across all channels.
- An analytics engine. The overarching measurement tool for understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Commitment to purchasing marketing automation is driven by the number of messages a consumer receives daily (3,000+), and the number of qualified leads that are lost due to the lack of lead nurturing (79%).
Marketing automation helps you manage the communications process, making sure qualified leads are coming into the sales funnel, the right message(s) are getting to the right people at the right time, and that sales are not lost.
10 Reasons Financial Marketers Need Marketing Automation
"You have between 0-8 seconds to persuade a visitor with a headline or landing page."
The primary benefit of marketing automation is that it manages the entire sales funnel – from ‘Attract’ through ‘Engage’ to ‘Close’. Here are 10 reasons why marketing automation software is as important that ever for financial institutions of all sizes.
- Increase inbound leads at the top of the marketing funnel: From search engine optimization (SEO) to improved targeting of online and offline communications, it is more important than ever to create an ongoing flow of leads across all departments and channels. Marketing automation helps in this process, providing suggestions for better content and targeting options.
- Improve personalization: Marketing automation software allows you to personalize the message and the channel used to reach a prospect … in real time. This includes both prospects you know and prospects you don’t know. More importantly, if you catch the attention of a prospect, marketing automation helps you retarget the prospect, moving the sales process forward.
- Improve social media effectiveness: Adding social media marketing to an already complicated marketing process is close to impossible for most financial institutions. Marketing automation allows organizations to add social tools to websites, landing pages, campaigns, etc. to facilitate sharing or even referral campaigns.
- Test and learn: The best marketing campaigns are an iteration of programs done over time. Marketing automation allows you to test all elements of a marketing program, from content to channel, optimizing effectiveness along the way. Even the smallest changes can yield massive returns when measured over time.
- Replicate success: As you test and learn, you will come across successful programs. Being able to quickly replicate your success is a major benefit of marketing automation. If your staff is limited in size, this capability allows you to re-implement a program that works in minutes instead of weeks or months.
- Leverage timely triggers. Using marketing triggers through marketing automation allows you to take advantage of immediate opportunities based on an action of a prospect (visiting a page on your website or having a credit bureau hit as the prospect shops for a big-ticket item like a car). Setting up a communications flow based on an activity trigger is one of the most valuable tools in a financial marketer’s toolbox.
- Communicate based on real-time activity: Like the trigger benefit describes above, marketing automation allows a financial marketer to change scheduled communications based on real-time behavioral changes. These changes include the downloading of content, the opening of an account or even a visit to a social media page.
- Lead scoring: Just like a customer base, not all prospects are created equal. Marketing automation software allows for the continuous scoring of leads based on the probability of the lead becoming a valuable customer. This scoring not only considers the demographics of the household, but also the level of interest in your solution and how close the prospect may be to making a purchase (buying stage). Lead scoring helps determine if a message should be sent as well as what type of message.
- Integrate with sales software. The integration with sales software means that your direct sales team will never need to wonder whether a lead is qualified or what stage they are in with their buying process. Your team can prioritize their efforts and provide valuable input into the system that can be leveraged in future communications.
- Measurement of ROI. Most organizations in the 2017 State of Financial Marketing survey indicated an inability to effectively measure the results of marketing efforts. In many cases, this is because the same people who determine prospect lists also are assigned the role of measuring results. It’s just too much work. Marketing automation tracks the effectiveness of all marketing communication across the entire prospect universe and across all touchpoints. This helps determine who to contact as well as what sequence and cadence of communication.
Bottom line? Marketing automation software addresses many of the challenges of complexity in financial marketing today. It assists in each stage of the marketing funnel, helping you attract, engage and close sales. By automating much of the marketing process, you can manage more programs, more leads and more channels, while measuring results in real-time.
In the end, marketing automation impacts the efficiency, effectiveness and measurability of your marketing efforts. As stated by Marketo, “Marketing automation technology is no longer a nice-to-have for the modern marketer – now it’s a must-have.”