By Megan Allinson, Integrated Marketing Director, BKM Marketing
Banking has gone digital. At last count, roughly 203 million consumers currently use some form of digital banking in the United States alone, up from 196.8 million in 2021. That number is projected to grow over the next three years to a total of 216.8 million.
Because of this and the accelerated pace of technological innovation, banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions require a digital presence more than ever before — and not just an informational website about your available financial products and services. Social media, mobile apps, display, and other digital marketing channels can all be beneficial in building awareness and acquiring new customers for your institution’s brand.
Digital, in all its iterations, is the ideal platform to communicate with today’s consumers. It’s where people do business, after all. Mobile should definitely be on your radar, as 78% of U.S consumers prefer to bank through mobile apps and their financial institution’s website. This isn’t to say in-person banking is a thing of the past; you’ve still got plenty of customers heading directly to a branch, but the tides are turning. An increasing number of consumers want the ability to transfer funds between accounts, make mobile deposits, view account balances, and pay bills through mobile apps.
A word of warning, however: Some organizations simply employ the latest digital tools to keep up with the competition. They do the same with digital tactics. Don’t fall prey to this shiny-object syndrome. Every strategy or piece of technology used should make sense and provide real value to your institution. More importantly, don’t fall prey to those vanity metrics. They only tell part of the story and aren’t true measurements of success.
Take something like an impression, for instance. It’s a good indicator that a consumer has seen the content and that you’re building brand awareness, but what action did that person take next? Did they inquire about an offer? Did they apply for a loan? Was there an actual conversion? You want to capture information that relates to performance, which, admittedly, can be difficult in the digital realm if back-end tracking is not employed correctly or precisely.
It’s not like sending out a mailer and at the end of the campaign, you can easily look back to see who on the mailing list opened new accounts during a certain timeframe. Then you would know the effectiveness, and then you could make adjustments accordingly to improve the messaging involved with marketing campaign.
Digital works a bit differently.
The conundrum of showing digital marketing value
The difference between digital and more “traditional” channels can be problematic for marketing teams. At some point, senior leadership teams will want to know what marketing channels are actually driving business. If you’re only tracking impressions and clicks, there’s no way to say that the campaign moved the needle in the intended direction. Sure, the messaging might have sparked interest, but you can’t confidently say that it drove business.
Many banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are currently missing the analysis step in the digital marketing process. For some, it’s a matter of miscommunication. They’ve tapped an outside agency and haven’t been explicit in their objectives. So, tracking wasn’t carried out correctly. Others might be unsure of what they’re looking for. One survey found that just 23% of marketers know what KPIs to track.
To ensure a digital marketing campaign isn’t a one-off, your team must be able to demonstrate its value. Being in financial services, you already know it’ll come down to the numbers. The following can get you started on how to set the stage for success:
- Get everyone on the same page.
Planning a digital marketing campaign is no small feat. Many pieces must come together during its development and execution for the campaign to be a success — chief among them being the team. Not just the marketing team, however. Make sure sales, product, and a host of other stakeholders are on the same page, particularly when it comes to the importance of measuring the campaign. Even if you’ve had multiple brainstorming sessions with these team members, communicate the objectives of the campaign, how it will help deliver on the business strategy, and how you plan to measure success.Though always nice to know, remember that clicks, likes, followers, and impressions are nothing more than vanity metrics. Marketing will need something more tangible than this to secure funding for the campaign. Confirm that all team members have come to a consensus on the success metrics tied to the overarching strategy and sales numbers, such as accounts opened, loans purchased, and so on. Additionally, limit the number of metrics used to keep it manageable. A few meaningful metrics, such as conversion, will often provide more value to your organization than dozens that place optics over performance.
- Discuss tracking and coding.
Settling on the metrics is one thing. Capturing the necessary data points is another. There are a number of different tags or codes — also referred to as parameters — you can use to monitor and track the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign. If you don’t have a team internally, you may need to discuss your options with a digital partner to determine the best type of tracking and coding, as well as the length of time to gather data, based on your chosen success metrics.Just make sure the tracking is done across the entire buyer journey to monitor all digital interactions and get a clearer picture of your target audience. Perhaps consumers fall off at a particular touchpoint or channel. Maybe there’s an unknown gap between online and offline interactions. When inputting a UTM code, it must track all the way through to the point of sale. Otherwise, you never know where exactly to focus additional resources to eliminate any friction along the path to purchase.
- Implement a formal reporting process.Though this should go without saying, the reporting process involves a series of different activities to convert raw data into any sort of useful or digestible format. Centralizing the data is key, as it will improve your reporting capabilities. Oftentimes, companies use a single system to store and analyze the information.
From a reporting standpoint, your marketing team will need another team — either internal or external — to manage the data collection and aggregation, as well as to help interpret the performance results. Also, consider establishing a set reporting schedule and how you’d like to see the data. The information will be simple to use if it’s in an unambiguous, easy-to-understand format.
Conversion is often the metric overlooked. Without this number, you just have clicks, and this doesn’t tell anyone anything about sales. Tracking conversions, whether accounts opened or loans applied for, will allow you to tweak your strategy according to where the majority of the movement is coming from. This will also allow you to invest your team’s time and your budget more strategically and efficiently — if not get more money for your next digital marketing campaign.
In other words, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. If you’re not tracking the right metrics or reporting in the right way, your marketing team will be back to direct mail campaigns in no time. And what’s the fun it that?