Marketing is About Signals: How data influences all channels

Rich Walker October 7th, 2016
Marketing Insights

In financial services, it’s very tempting for marketers to think of their activities in terms of channels. In fact, some of you might be tasked with being an expert in one of them which means you have a singularly threaded focus and goal. Each channel has its own idiosyncrasies, its own processes, its own KPI’s, its own strengths, its own weaknesses. And they’re not really interchangeable – each is unique.

  • Search is a way to steer hand-raisers toward your brand
  • Display is a targeted, but somewhat passive way to get a message across
  • Direct mail is highly personalized, but not always relevant means of communication
  • Affiliates are easy, but can be expensive and limited in scale (and you always have that feeling that someone else is getting the better of you)
  • Email is cheap, but sometimes cluttered

So while each is different – there is a thread that ties them all together: Signals.

Marketing is about signals

A signal is an indication or information that is passed actively or passively from participants in a market. Consumers create signals as they interact with the economy. They may make purchases and payments, search for things, click on ads, take on new loans, and close out paid down loans.  Each of those activities are signals – and those signals can be tracked, monitored, and acted upon by organizations like yours.

Another type of signal is the one that is emitted when a consumer meets a predefined profile.  Whether it’s X number of months of accident-free driving, a debt-to-income ratio that falls below a certain point, or a credit score that finally makes it up to (or down to) a certain range – it’s a signal – and it can also be tracked, monitored, and acted upon.

Signals aren’t new to marketers – new mover lists, mortgage refinance triggers, and search engine marketing are all examples of well-known and reliable signal activities.  We find, though, that viewing your marketing goals through a lens of signals being left and picked up is a powerful way to help make sense of Omnichannel marketing capabilities, which on their own can be overwhelming.

Signals fall into three categories

Here at Deluxe, we help our clients monitor and act on signals every day (technically in real-time).  We think of signals as falling into three basic categories:

  • Behavior-based signals: think of this as the search signal – consumers act in a way that sets off a marketing signal. Mining your CRM file or transaction file is a great way to deliver value from behavior-based signals.
  • Event-based signals: slightly more passive, but still crucially important. Think of an auto lease expiring, or a child going off to college.  If one of your customers is considering refinancing their mortgage, a credit inquiry appearing on their credit file is a sure event-based signal – our clients see huge benefits from reaching out on that signal to keep the business in-house
  • Predictive signals: we’ve trained enough on Signals to build out data and models to find as many consumers as possible who meet your precise criteria for communication. Whether its retaining existing customers, deepening relationships, or finding new customers who look like your best customers – we have predictive signals to help deliver for your business.

Drop us a line (that’s a behavior-based signal) and let us tell you how we can help you use signals to grow your business


This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.