The toughest challenge for bank marketers this year continues to be the measurement and attribution of their marketing efforts — proving return on investment, in other words — according to the Digital Banking Report’s sixth annual Financial Marketing Trends survey, which you can now download for free from our website (a $495 value).
The DBR asked execs in 300 financial institutions about key trends shaping banks’ and credit unions’ marketing objectives and investments and found that, as in past years, only 8 percent of financial organizations said proving ROI was not a challenge. That means the marketing departments in the vast majority of banks and credit unions nationwide are struggling with proving the worth of their efforts related to their organization’s bottom line.
And that’s a problem. Organizations are holding marketers responsible for measurable results. Successfully showing the impact marketing has on a bank’s bottom line usually results in increased budgets, but measurement is made difficult when there is a need to understand not only program success but channel success as well.
Assessing marketing effectiveness and budget
Large and small financial institutions have the same problems with ROI, according to the report. When asked to rank the statements that best reflect their organizations’ approach to assessing marketing effectiveness, large banks, small banks and credit unions all agreed on two key points.
- “We could do a better job establishing marketing ROI” was the truest statement for all three types of institutions, large, small and credit unions.
- “We use a sophisticated and/or accurate marketing attribution model” was the least true.
So, what does that tell us? Financial institutions of all types are having trouble proving ROI, and they’re not using sophisticated measuring tools. The correlation seems clear.
Similarly, when asked what their top concerns were about their marketing budgets for 2017, the three top concerns had to do with digital marketing, marketing technologies and ROI.
- “How much should we allocate to digital marketing channels?” was the top concern for 63 percent of financial execs surveyed.
- “How much should we be investing in marketing technologies?” was the top concern for 62 percent.
- “How do we establish marketing ROI?” was the top concern for 60 percent.
Better measurement can help to alleviate some of these budget challenges. When you can prove the value of marketing and shift it from being only thought of as an expense, it helps to create a better story to get more budget. Measurement also helps clear up the challenges around how much to spend and where to spend it.
Marketing automation can address these issues
The solution may lie in technology. Marketing automation software helps marketers work more efficiently and effectively. It’s the technology that streamlines and measures marketing programs to improve their ROI.
According to the report, what it will do for your department is store and analyze data, giving you:
- A central marketing database. The central marketing database stores all prospect and customer interactions and behaviors.
- An engagement marketing engine. A platform for creative management and automation of marketing processes and conversations across all channels.
- An analytics engine. The overarching measurement tool for understanding what works and what doesn’t.
How does it help with demonstrating ROI? It tracks the effectiveness of all marketing communication across the entire prospect universe and across all touchpoints. This helps determine who to contact and how to contact them. But it’s not just about ROI. Marketing automation software helps you in each stage of the marketing funnel with the end goal of attracting and engaging customers and closing sales. By automating much of the marketing process, you’re working smarter, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your efforts and measuring the results in real time.
Bottom line from the Digital Banking Report: The 2017 Financial Marketing Trends report found that most marketers are acutely aware of what needs to be accomplished, but have not made the required changes to their marketing organization or their priorities to succeed. Instead of making the evolutionary adjustments to marketing plans, most organizations need to start from scratch and completely rebuild their marketing plans.
Until financial marketers can put it all together with confidence, they will continue to feel overwhelmed and digital opportunities will not be optimized. Until the available tools for advanced data analytics and marketing automation are purchased (and used), it will be close to impossible to keep pace with marketplace changes.
Organizations that recognize the need to change past behaviors and respond to marketing challenges by investing in digital tools, training, staffing and inside/outside support for digital activities will be rewarded with better results and more satisfied customers.
Financial service organizations must invest in digital tools to succeed in the future.
At Deluxe, we’re here to help you elevate your ROI; leverage scalable, data-driven strategies and pinpoint your ideal targets. For more information on how we measure campaigns unlike anyone else, watch our on-demand webinar, Secrets of Accurately Measuring the Full Impact of Direct Marketing.