In Marketing

We all know the importance of data in our marketing campaigns but we don’t always know how to do it successfully. Here’s what, especially, financial marketers need to do to ensure they realize the value of customer data and maximize the ROI of their marketing campaigns. Frank Koechlein from has 4 main fundamentals to see success from your data.

Earlier this year, a bank marketer and I were discussing their latest direct marketing campaign. Unfortunately the results weren’t as good as had been projected. When I asked what went wrong, the answer was disturbing: “We don’t know.”

The campaign in question was a special mailing to a specific segment of checking account customers that was cross-selling a variable rate savings product. The predictive index of demographics and other targeting criteria suggested this group would be predisposed to this type of savings product. So they were looking forward to a very successful campaign. However, there were no responses after six weeks — now what? What will they do differently next time to ensure success?

Successful direct marketing campaigns use data to support decision making at every step along way; from initial concept to interpreting the results. Here is a list of four critical success activities/skills that should always be part of your campaign development process. These tried and true activities ensure that you will not end up with poor campaign results and no explanations.

1. Conceptual Resonance and Campaign Relevance

You have to use campaign concepts that will resonate with your customers and prospects. Where do you get your ideas for marketing campaigns? Many small banks and credit unions take the safe route and/or follow the lead of their CEO, but this isn’t always be the best approach. It is important to build campaigns that focus on enhancing the customer’s journey with your institution. This means offering appropriate products or services with messaging that is consistent with their relationship with your institution.

Another option for gathering relevant campaign ideas is to go directly to your target audience in the context of focus groups, in-branch intercepts and online surveys. These methods are more qualitative in nature, and can yield a lot of new concepts you can review and evaluate. Keep in mind, this approach may reflect specific customer biases and shed light on shortcomings with either your products or services (or both). Your objective may be to discover the strengths and key themes you should stress in your campaign, but if you also uncover some weaknesses — that’s a good thing, too.

Then there are your customer-facing personnel. Not only are they a reliable source of customer insight, but they can also follow-up on research initiated by marketing teams to further examine specific questions. Customer-facing personnel include branch staff, business bankers, mortgage originators, and service reps. Collecting possible campaign ideas can be done in several ways — surveys, a suggestion box (think: online or email), focus groups.

A marketing leader can be designated to act as a clearing house for all these inbound concepts. Then an internal group can be formed from of a cross-section of managers from various customer-facing departments. The purpose of the group is to identify sales and marketing ideas that merit further evaluation and development. Campaign ideas that survive this process are then input to the marketing department for scheduling and development.

Of course a lot of CRM ideas can come directly from the analytics on your customer data. The use of predictive analytics can provide the starting point for new cross-sell ideas. With details and expenses worked out projecting response rates and determining the total opportunity are within the capabilities of your analytics.

2. Test, Learn and Evaluate Multiple Outcomes

For all campaigns, make sure to establish not only new business goals but “learning” goals as well. As you go through the process in step one — assessing your various campaign ideas — there will no doubt be debate on the best way to implement the campaign concept. Many times these debates can be decided by including a test to determine which of the campaign are the most effective.

By incorporating these tests into your campaign, you can begin to determine what specific campaign elements are more effective at increasing responses. Testing can include not only how you present your offer but where you present it to your target audience. Learning goals can also help to identify the optimal use of individual and combinations of media. To be able to interpret the results of these tests, it’s critical to make sure that with every campaign you maintain a complete promotional history of everyone receiving the campaign. This history must be specific enough to identify each component of the campaign.

Building a campaign with just one creative approach, one offer and one message is risky. You’re putting all your eggs in one basket. This type of campaign structure creates an all or nothing scenario — the campaign either works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, you are back to square one.

Establishing learning goals in the conext provides your team the opportunity to learn more about what elements of your campaign work and which ones don’t work.

There is a science to structuring your media, creative and pricing to maximize learning. It doesn’t matter if you’re using digital, traditional broadcast, snail/email or outbound telemarketing, it is important to isolate just those variables you want to test.

It’s important to isolate the individual campaign elements so that only the elements of the campaign that you are testing are variable – all other factors must remain constant. That’s basically the methodology to create learning goals. You can accomplish this type of evaluation with almost any component of your campaign including; messaging, pricing, creative, call to action and individual brand elements.

-Frank Koechlein

To read the next 2 fundamentals and learn more about how to get a better ROI from your Data, click here.

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