Three things financial services marketers need to know about digital

Richard Keogh, Managing Director, Consumer, Kantar Media, gives some digital advice to financial services marketers...

In the years following the global financial crisis, consumers have increasingly become not only more financially aware, but also more interested in the messages banks and finance providers share with them.

At the same time, the boom in digital and mobile have transformed the marketing world and now form a large part of UK advertising spend. With routes to consumers becoming smoother and more accessible than ever, brands must fight even harder to have their voice heard. Consumers are also becoming savvier to marketers’ attempts; they’re now more aware of the services and products on offer and know more about companies than they ever have before.

These broad trends apply equally to businesses in the financial sector, so at Kantar Media we have mined our TGI survey data to identify the three things financial services marketers need to do, to take full advantage of this potentially lucrative opportunity.

Know your audience inside out

If you’re a marketer in the financial services environment, it’s probably fair to say that you already know a lot about your customers: where they live, how much they earn, if they’re married and if they have children. But what about their aspirations, opinions or behaviours? Insight from consumer research can help paint a much clearer picture about your customers both current and prospective, providing necessary background and an easy route in to start conversations.

Take as an example those who have had a loan of at least £15,000. Our data shows that they’re more likely than the average adult to be well off in terms of their actual income, they also tend to be educated (50% more likely to have a university degree or higher qualification) and are 26% more likely to be in AB social grades.

When we explore why this group are taking out large loans, it’s clear that they are confident, fun-loving spenders who are ambitious and like to stand out: for instance, they are 36% more likely to want to get to the top of their career and 62% more likely to agree that they like to drive fast. As a marketer, it’s crucial then that you have a thorough understanding of both who your audience is and what it is that interests them – and drives them – to make sure you can reach them.

Become a part of the conversations your customers are having

Once you truly know who your audience is and what they care about, you can engage with them by becoming part of their conversations – discussing the topics and issues that are important to them, to show both your expertise and the solutions you can offer.

As an illustration, let’s look at the 2 million savers who opened a new savings account with a new, different bank or building society last year. They are more likely to be older consumers with a household income of £75,000 or more, meaning they are savvy when it comes to finances with more to lose and retirement on the horizon. As an audience that is highly attuned to financial services and how they can benefit from them, they won’t be fooled by bells and whistles. In fact, they’re much more likely to engage with content that provides them with clear advice, helping them make informed decisions and steadfast investments.

Engage and measure campaigns in a holistic way across multiple platforms

Having a more meaningful understanding of your audience is one thing. Communicating with them in the most sensitive and compelling way is another, especially when choosing between a bewildering array of potential channels. After all, having the right message means little if it’s reaching the wrong people.

It’s vital then that marketers match the channel they use to communicate to the preferences of their given audience segment.

Our group of individuals who have taken a loan of at least £15,000 are a useful illustration again here. They are more likely to be big internet users, with metered TGI internet usage data showing they are, for example, 60% more likely to be amongst the heaviest 20% of users of the Guardian’s mobile site than the average adult who owns a smartphone or tablet. Thus, targeting them effectively means prioritising online, digital channels.

Finally, regardless of the best message and means for communication, it’s vital for all marketers to be able to measure the success of campaigns holistically, across media. Accurately measuring and tracking the responses to different campaigns allows smart businesses to adapt and improve strategies for maximum impact.

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TGI Survey Data
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