Data-Centric Messaging

By Tony Rizzo

In digital marketing, the message makes the difference.

Data-centric marketing is a multi-pronged effort. Once you’ve identified your marketing goals, run predictive models, and settled on a segmentation approach, it’s time to craft the type of messaging that will optimize your digital marketing strategy.

You’ll need to build brand trust.

As defined by a research paper published in the Journal of Marketing Management, brand trust is the willingness to believe in a brand—specifically, the kind of willingness that’s based on personal conviction, and that holds up despite the risk or uncertainty connected with that brand. Ultimately, a financial institution wants customers to demonstrate this type of support for the firm by making purchases, providing positive referrals, and opposing rival brands.

In this context, brand trust becomes the foundation of an intense pattern of communication and consumption that can result when a customer forms a deep bond with a brand.

How will you get there?

From a communications perspective, the key concept is personalization.

Broadly speaking, personalization is a company’s decision on the particular marketing mix (product, place, promotion, and price) that makes a communication experience suitable for a given individual. You’ll need to delineate personalization and make it actionable. To do that, and to make your communications more effective, evaluate them based on three criteria: relevancy, specificity, and timeliness.

  • Relevancy Refers to the ability to match a customer’s behavior to the relationship with your bank. For example, if a customer has recently paid his or her mortgage loan to another financial institution via your online banking product, this is a relevant opportunity to reach out to the customer and explain that an expanded relationship with your organization can translate into superior value.
  • Specificity – Refers to the level of personalization you use to demonstrate that you mean business. Using our mortgage example from above, adding credit data to the offer can translate into a specific monthly payment that is congruent with the customer’s current mortgage balance.
  • Timeliness – Refers to your institution’s ability to react quickly and decisively to a customer’s behavior. Again continuing with our mortgage example, if this payment to another financial institution occurred yesterday, you must have the ability to act within a couple of days (if not hours!) from when the event occurred.

While you may not have a 100% response rate with this type of strategy, one thing is certain: by consistently acting on behaviors in a relevant, specific, and timely fashion, you will build customer trust. Combine this process with the content of your message to elevate your communications and rise above the competition.

Customize your message content.

At least 90% of customers find content that is customized to be useful. And 78% of customers believe firms providing this custom content are interested in building long-term relationships. In other words, the more research one puts into the message, the higher the return on marketing investment one will receive.

Additionally, good message content can be thought of in the same light as good customer service. And providing excellent customer service is a way any bank can differentiate itself from the competition. In fact, 70% of Americans are willing to spend up to 13% more with those firms they believe provide outstanding service.

Creating good marketing content that increases brand loyalty is the true magic of the financial services marketer. Examples of content-based marketing can be found in campaigns that leverage:

  • Home values
  • Vehicle identification numbers
  • Outside credit relationship information
  • Comparative product data from competitors

Each of these data sets is used to design a relevant, specific, and timely message that will provide the customer with valuable information as well as a specific product offer. Here are some examples of communications in which home, vehicle, credit, and account data are used respectively to demonstrate knowledge of the client’s financial condition. Bold markers indicate data that changes at the accountholder level.

Using home data. [click on image to enlarge]


Using vehicle data. [click on image to enlarge]


Using credit data. [click on image to enlarge]


Using account data. [click on image to enlarge]


Put it all together.

It’s a cluttered marketplace. With a multitude of traditional and non-traditional competitive threats, a financial institution must position its brand as one that evokes trust through its marketing efforts, while at the same time proving measurable ROI.

Remember the three universal goals of business:

  1. Increase volume at the point of sale
  2. Increase purchase frequency
  3. Increase new customers

And recognize that it is critically important for the bank to embrace its most valuable asset: data. By leveraging data gleaned from external sources, an institution can build segments of two primary categories: the most valuable customer and next-to-most-valuable customer. Armed with this knowledge, the firm can create multi-channel messages that are relevant, specific, and timely.

Those messages must contain the type of content that demonstrates customer knowledge in a way that elevates the bank to one of the customer’s most valued and trusted brands.

Tony Rizzo is General Manager of Creative Services at Marquis, a Plano, Tex. data analytics company specializing in the financial services industry. A 26-year veteran of financial marketing, Tony has been published in every major financial industry publication as well as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and is a frequent national speaker on leveraging data to increase retention and profitability from a marketing perspective. Email: [email protected].

Hear more from Tony when he presents at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference, September 25-27, 2016.  We look forward to seeing you in Nashville!