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Walking the Line of Effectiveness and Compliance –Three Strategies FinServ Marketers Should Consider


By Ryan Britton, Executive Director, Finance, Valassis Digital and Stefan Mayo, Executive Director, Media, Valassis Digital

With digital advertising spend topping $10 billion last year, the financial services industry is clearly focused on customer acquisition.

In fact, according to the same study, financial services now ranks as the third largest ad sector behind retail and automotive.

But, as financial services companies are increasing their spend, they also need to ensure their marketing budgets are used effectively and efficiently.

Today’s consumers are looking for more personalized experiences, and delivering on these expectations requires the collection, analysis and activation of customer data.

This would seem like a standard practice. However, the financial services industry has the additional obstacle of abiding by fair lending laws and privacy regulations, which prohibit the use of certain data for advertising purposes.

Marketers in the financial services industry are challenged with being compliant—while meeting the expectations of customers.

These two concepts—effectiveness and compliance—don’t have to be contradictory. Both can be achieved in financial services marketing by following these three tips:

  1. Make all data collection mutually beneficial. 

Abiding by fair lending laws and following data collection and privacy regulations is an everyday practice in the financial services industry. That said, effective marketers should also make their own guidelines—ensuring all data collected is used to provide specific benefits to the targeted customers.

Marketers can then use the customer data on interests and locations to create educational content tailored to specific audiences. By segmenting consumers and understanding where they live, work, and bank, marketers can deliver personalized messages and content to the right person. This allows for a win-win scenario: Marketers achieve their campaign goals and their customers receive helpful and valuable messages.

In addition, offering opt-in and opt-out options to the consumer enables them to control what data is used to improve their experience across all channels. Consumers tend to be willing to provide and allow the use of their data when the value is clear that there will be a reduction in ads that are not relevant to their life stage and needs.

  1. Deliver on the insights provided by customers. 

Once all regulation-approved data has been collected and analyzed, it must be made actionable. Financial services companies should determine what products, services, information and messaging will be most relevant to each customer and across what channel.

To do this, rely on customer data to determine which channels will be most effective for each individual. While the ultimate goal of advertising a new product could be the same across multiple audience segments, each segment should be approached in a unique and personalized matter to achieve the best results.

For example, a marketer may be more effective in sending information about a new auto loan to a parent of a household via email, whereas a mobile ad advertising a low-fee checking account to a teenager going to college may resonate more with him or her.

Moreover, combining what is known about customers from both offline and online data sources helps to provide a more holistic view of an audience. Offline data, such as demographics and lifestyle, can help identify high-value consumer personas within geographic locations. Capturing online data from digital devices brings real-time, consumer-centric insight. By pairing the two together, a rich picture of the target audience emerges, revealing how, when, and where to activate them.

  1. Learn and improve with every customer interaction. 

Campaign success is not just about measuring impact—marketers need to track and analyze the metrics so they can start their next campaign with a more informed perspective. Don’t waste the customer interaction by not collecting insights that work best for a specific target market.

Furthermore, marketers need to consider that traditional online metrics might not be the way to demonstrate success for every campaign.

Instead, they should develop specific KPIs that matter to them, which could be more account sign-ups, new investor prospects or incremental insurance policies, etc. Measuring with a clear goal in mind helps keep the team and campaign strategy on track for the desired results.

While developing personalized marketing campaigns in today’s financial services landscape has its obstacles, creating effective marketing strategies and remaining compliant are not mutually exclusive.

By focusing on making all data collection beneficial for consumers, taking an omnichannel approach, and measuring results to improve each campaign, financial services companies can set themselves up for success to attract and retain the right customers.

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