3 Reasons Cross-Channel Marketing Should Be a Priority for Financial Teams

Sep 09, 2019
Will Devlin

Effective cross-channel marketing is a critical part of the marketing strategy for enterprise-level companies that want to compete in today’s market, and this is particularly true in the world of finance.

Perhaps even more so than with other industries, the financial sector must prioritize building sustainable brand equity and providing an impeccable experience for their customers if they’re going to maintain something that’s never been more essential — trust. Major breaches of that trust are still fresh on the minds of many and, while people’s confidence in banks has rebounded a bit from its 21% low in 2012, Gallup’s 36% is still a historically poor number for the industry.

Strategic cross-channel marketing contributes significantly to building trust in the brand. Every message a financial institution sends carries a message about the brand. Opt-in alerts and automated messages communicate service and security. Relevant and personalized content shows customers the institution understands customers’ unique needs. Marketing messages are limited to those topics where the customer expresses interest. Control over message frequency and subject matter lets the customer tailor their experience.

Financial institutions have a number of key touchpoints where they interact with their consumers, and the inbox is one of them. Here are three ways banks can improve their cross-channel marketing and use it to build their brand:

1. Use the channel that works

More than 40 years in existence, email is still king in many ways when it comes to ROI and customer acquisition. The email marketing spending was $2.67 billion in 2017, more than doubling in a few years. In our 2019 research report on cross-channel messaging, 33% of marketers said email generated more than half their revenue, easily beating out social (23%), mobile push (19%), and SMS (16%). And, in the early stages of nurturing customers, email may be particularly important for financial institutions as they try to begin laying the groundwork for a trustworthy relationship.

33% of marketers said email generated more than half their revenue.

“Statistically speaking, the majority of products and services someone is going to acquire with a financial institution will be opened in the first 90 days,” Adrenaline’s Gina Bleedorn told The Financial Brand. “That onboarding period is a critical and advantageous time for email marketing.”

But financial institutions can’t afford to ignore the other channels at their disposal either. While many such companies are very large and can have a difficult time staying nimble into new marketing avenues, there are plenty of examples of the Fintech world of how effective these migrations can be. And there’s plenty of reason to think that Millennials prefer mobile messaging from their banks in many cases.

Much of this comes down to paying attention to the customer and what they’re telling you, along with not having a one-size-fits-all approach to the channel you use. You may find email works best for transaction confirmations, but push is more effective when it comes to fraud alerts. Be open to testing, and use the right channel for the right job to the right person.

2. Let Them Have Data

In finance, analysts with the best information can typically make the best decisions. The same goes for marketing. Marketers need access to the most current information to effectively meet buyers’ expectations and deliver a personalized experience to each and every customer, regardless of the channel they’re using. For our 2018 ESP Satisfaction Report, we found that real-time data access was the most commonly cited quality marketers would most like their ESP to improve upon.

Real-time data access was the most commonly cited quality marketers would most like their ESP to improve upon.

So why is access to data an issue? Many companies rely on cloud services to store portions of their data. But retrieving this information can be time consuming and risky. You can hold customer data in different departments and vendor tools, requiring time and I.T. involvement to locate and retrieve. The ability to access real-time data and information relevant to a sale is key to marketing success.

Consider performing a technology audit to identify what data should be moved to a centralized database, perhaps considering a modern data warehouse option. Following the audit, you can explore solutions that allow you to bridge silos while saving processing and delivery for the cloud. With more data at their fingertips, marketers can quickly tap into the customers’ complete profiles and histories. This allows them to be more creative and responsive with the ways they segment emails and target their marketing.

3. Keep Banking Secure

When someone hacks a company and steals customer data, the impact is largely negative and long lasting. Customers are inconvenienced and assume the company was either unprepared or negligent, both reasons to take their accounts elsewhere. The company inevitably loses the public’s trust, and their profits decline. This could not be more true than in the financial industry. Security in banking, when dealing with people’s money, assets, resources, and accounts, is paramount. Moreover, financial institutions must comply with countless legal regulations and requirements.

In the marketing cloud model, clients of an email vendor send pieces of customer data back and forth between the ESP and their internal database. This puts them at a greater security risk and requires considerable time. Businesses can improve their data security and turn-around by keeping key information behind their own firewall in their internal database and utilizing a Hybrid cloud solution to access it directly from where the data lives.

Competition in the financial industry is fierce, and new technology is upending many long-standing rules and players. Banks have a golden opportunity to wow their customers and introduce relevant new products with the messages they send via email, mobile push, and SMS. They can either show how advanced, personalized, cost effective, and useful they are, or they can prove themselves obsolete and out of touch. Cross-channel marketing can be a key point in making sure you strive for the former rather than the latter.

About the Author

Will Devlin

A 20-year email marketing veteran, Will has focused on marketing strategy and execution for MessageGears since 2014. He has extensive experience on both the retail customer and service side of email marketing, and he’s interested in helping businesses better understand how they can make the most of the work they put into their email campaigns.