Building Trust With Your Customers

Posted by on August 27th, 2015

Privacy and SecurityThe latest hot topic and important marketing trend that will likely never go away, is the converging of technology and tools to collect and access consumer data. Marketers can now learn more about their customers than they ever could previously. It’s becoming increasingly easier to identify where exactly a customer is in the buyer’s journey and tailor messaging to help move them along the path to conversion. But, we can’t forget that intimate details about the customer’s interests cannot be accessed unless he/she willingly gives you access, and truth be told, obtaining that level of permission from customers, especially new customers, is becoming more difficult as questions of data protection and privacy are being raised.

According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Trust in businesses, media and non-government organizations has suffered over the last year. From a disappearing aircraft to a seemingly unstoppable pandemic to a rash of privacy and security breaches, the consequence was the dissolution of confidence, and the end of an era in which trust in business had been on a steady and upward trajectory since the end of The Great Recession.”1

Furthermore, the Chief Commissioner of the DMC, George Kidd, stated, “All the evidence suggests that there is a lack of trust and a lot of frustration. We could get to the point where consumers’ willingness to give up data, or leave the box unticked, will depend on how businesses go about their relationships.”2

While there are many areas that businesses should focus on to gain the trust of their consumers, the top priority should center on security and privacy. Only 35 percent of American adults across a variety of industries feel confident that their records will remain private and secure.3 This suggests that consumers will start to migrate towards those businesses they feel are the safest, and a recent Forrester report provided a variety of tips on how to not chase your customers away by coming off as “digitally creepy.”4

 1. Cover all your bases

If you are implementing a marketing automation and business intelligence platform, make sure you’ve done your research on current privacy laws. Customers want to know that you are going to protect their information and do so based on the guidelines that have been created with their best interests in mind. This goes further than marketing automation and business intelligence platforms. There are a variety of laws surrounding the collection of email addresses, which cannot fall beside the wayside.

2. Let Your Customers Decide

Because there is so much information and data that is out there and available, let your customers decide how much they want to give you. You don’t want to scare off a customer, because you, all of the sudden, know too much about him/her and he/she doesn’t even remember giving you access to that kind of information. Customers want a personalized experience, but for some, there is a line where it’s too much. Give them that option and keep them happy.

3. Testing Is Always a Good Idea

In marketing, we always say test, test and test again. Then, once you think you have it figured out, test it once more. Send some design options to a controlled group and measure engagement. Take note when customers are leaving the page or monitor if links are being clicked, forms are being completed, etc. While it’s clear that each customer’s level of comfort is different, start by deciding what your expectations are on a basic level and go from there. This simply means identifying what your objective is and what steps are expected from your customers to reach your end goal. You can always adjust the experience based on the insights you gather and retest.

 4. Be Transparent

Be very clear about what you intend to do with your customers’ data and explain how you will keep their information safe. Data-driven marketing is a powerful tool for any business, but if you leave your privacy policy, terms and conditions and security best practices up to interpretation, no customer will be willing to give you the data you crave thus negatively affecting that relationship.

Using data, businesses can better understand how to interact with their customers. Businesses need to create relationships with their customers, but it’s more than focusing on creating personalized and targeted communications and creating strategies to improve engagement. Customers want to know that their data is safe and secure, and your intentions are to only use that information to better enhance their experience with you and no one else. If privacy and security are not a main focus, you could lose current and potential customers, and your brand’s reputation could be tarnished.







Are Your Potential Leads Ready To Buy?

Posted by on August 26th, 2015

Mobile friendly Email DesignIn today’s digital world, marketers can reach consumers and target prospects through multiple channels. As consumers engage with your products and services via email, social media, your website, etc., each communication brings consumers one step closer to becoming potential leads. But, many marketers struggle with the next step — targeting those consumers with relevant information once their interest on a product or service has turned from interest to intent. Through data management and targeted messaging, organizations can identify, target and communicate with potential leads who are ready to buy.

The amount of information and data that is out there and available to organizations can give insight into more consumer information. Using reporting tools, marketers can take that collected data and turn it into digestible information that can lead to a better understanding of the consumer and where he/she is in the buying process. Once consumers are in a particular segment of the buyer journey, organizations can target their communications directly to those who have the intent to purchase.

Campaign automation coupled with data intelligence allows organizations to effectively communicate with and provide relevant information to consumers who are ready to buy. By creating targeted messages that give leads up-to-date, relevant information on their chosen product or service, organizations can effectively ensure their potential customers are being communicated with appropriate information in real-time.

The emergence of new technologies have given organizations the ability to identify and target potential leads that have indicated more than just an interest in the product or service being offered, they have shown an intent to purchase. Organizations have the ability to collect and analyze data from a variety of sources to discern where the consumer is in his/her buying journey. Using intelligent reporting and automation, companies can put more targeted efforts into intent marketing.


Adopting a Mobile Email Design Mindset

Posted by on August 21st, 2015

Mobile friendly Email DesignWhile the percentage of emails opened on a mobile device varies by industry, the overall average is 49 percent, which is a 500 percent increase since 2011.1 Within the financial services industry, mobile email has increased signicantly over the past few years and currently accounts for 31.5 percent of all email opens.2

So what does this mean to Financial Services marketers?

Standard email designs are intended for viewing on a desktop computer versus a mobile device. Sometimes they include columns or navigation that is best viewed at a larger size. In general, these types of emails simply shrink to the size of the device on which they are viewed. It is now essential that financial marketers adopt a mobile email design mindset and develop mobile design strategies to ensure account holders will have a positive viewing experience across their devices.

Mobile Email Design Mindset

Having a mobile email design mindset means learning how to visualize mobile email rendering and designing email from that visualization as a starting point. Essentially, after understanding mobile viewport size parameters, there are two approaches designers can take: 1) they can design what is commonly referred to as “mobile aware” or “mobile friendly” email, or 2) they can use responsive design.

Let’s review each one in more detail.

Mobile Friendly

Mobile-friendly email design is created with mobile device viewing in mind and follows best practices for smaller screen sizes, legibility and easy click through on a mobile device. More specifically, fonts are set a bit larger and buttons are given more space around them to make them easier to click with a finger on a smaller screen. This design approach intentionally eliminates things that might be difficult to read such as a navigation menu.  A banner might be a table cell with a background color that can change width versus an image that would be tiny on a mobile device.


Advantages Disadvantages
Single design that works across all email viewing environments Provides a one-size-fits-all mobile experience
Does not require any media query support Slightly compromises some device experiences
Less resource intensive to produce May require horizontal scrolling on some devices

Responsive Design

Responsive design includes special code in the header of an email that will determine the device on which your email is viewed and adjust the layout accordingly. Fully responsive email designs should include a desktop version at 600 pixels wide and a mobile version at 320 pixels wide.


Advantages Disadvantages
Provides a custom mobile experience when @media support is present Not fully supported across all devices or email clients
Consistent experience across a wide range of devices HTML coding requires a greater level of complexity
Rearranges or hides specific content Incremental level of effort and resources for production needed
It provides the ability to collapse content areas with a finger tap

No matter which type of mobile email design approach you choose, it is best to keep things simple. Due to the lack of standardization across email clients, it’s difficult to predict how a complex design will work for your email recipients.

  • Designs should be approximately 600 pixels wide.
  • Keep it simple by using a baseline grid and avoiding complicated elements
  • Anticipate that images can be blocked by email clients, and background images should be avoided as they commonly fail to load at all.
  • Image heavy emails perform poorly.
  • Use web-safe fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Georgia and Times New Roman which work well across all platforms.
  • Design with mobile in mind. Increase font sizes in the body of your email to 14 pixels or larger, and make sure there is enough white space around your buttons for easy clicking.


1. Litmus. (June 2015). “Email Analytics.”



Acquisition Anyone?

Posted by on August 18th, 2015

Let’s face it … when it comes to help with managing money, there’s a lot of competition out there, and account holders have plenty of choices. Each state has a multitude of banks or credit unions for account holders to choose from…all within driving distance of their homes. In addition, dozens of investment firms can provide account holders with alternative investment products, along with a checking account.

Unfortunately, many financial institutions rely on serendipity when it comes to account holder acquisition. They think if they have a branch location somewhere along account holders’ work or Saturday errand routes, then new account holders will come. However, you shouldn’t take a “maybe” approach to account holder acquisition. Instead, be strategic and aggressive when it comes to growing your account holder portfolio.

Promote Checking Accounts

When acquiring new account holders, you should always promote new checking accounts. Surprised? Everyone needs a checking account to manage finances. Checking accounts will likely appeal to those who are new in their careers or have recently moved into the area because of a job. They may also appeal to account holders who are generally dissatisfied with their current financial institution and seeking a new banking relationship.

What was the reason for opening a new checking account?

*Synergistics Research Corporation, Checking Account Acquisition and Retention Survey, 2015

A checking account provides approximately $268 a year in revenue to a financial institution.1 It also opens the door to that new account holder acquiring more products and services as his/her relationship grows with the primary financial institution.

Take the time to target account holders with whom you have a likelihood of establishing strong relationships through cross sell opportunities to gain strong share of wallet. Financial institutions have a wealth of account holder data at their fingertips that can be used to profile existing checking account holders. They should use that information to target “lookalikes” in their market footprint.

Ensure that you reach young account holders opening new checking accounts through mediums and messaging that resonates with them to build strong awareness of your financial institution and its products.

Make Doing Business Convenient

Branch locations still play a large role in the banking relationship. Be sure to include messaging about the convenience of banking with you – whether it is access through a branch, ATM or digital banking options.
How likely are you to obtain another checking account in the next year?

*Synergistics Research Corporation, Checking Account Acquisition and Retention Survey, 2015

Which features were most important in choosing a financial institution when you recently opened a checking account?


*Synergistics Research Corporation, Checking Account Acquisition and Retention Survey, 2015

A consistent, multichannel approach works best when marketing to prospective account holders. Nearly a third of prospects cite direct mail and digital ads as the strongest vehicles a financial institution can use in order to make them aware of a product opportunity.

*AOL/Oliver Wyman, 2014

Don’t Forget the Offer

Finally, don’t forget to make an attractive offer when promoting a checking account. Many financial institutions are actively targeting new checking account holders.2 In some cases, the offers are rich (as high as $500). Don’t let this intimidate you.

*The Financial Brand

The “Davids” of the banking world can go up against the “Goliaths” by relying on offers that will get noticed, even $50 to $100. Community roots, consistent communications and targeting will help ensure your marketing dollars are spent as effectively and efficiently as possible.


1. Moebs Services (2011).

2. The Financial Brand, 2015 State of Bank & Credit Union Marketing, February 3, 2015.


Don’t Forget About Suppression Lists

Posted by on August 13th, 2015

List Suppression SegmentationI have noticed that when it comes to deploying emails, many financial institutions do not consider ALL of their list options… meaning while it is critical to target your emails by getting the right promotion or message to the right person, it is equally important to identify segments that shouldn’t receive all your deployments and suppress them from future mailings.

Working with financial institutions, I have noticed that many are under utilizing this tactic, which may have negative results on deliverability as well as click-through rates, opens and renders, etc. Here are a few suggestions on the types of list suppressions you should create and implement into your best practices:

 1. Suppressing account holders who are younger than 18 years of age.

Although I am not an attorney, I would suggest reviewing this website for additional information on communicating with children online. And just to be safe, consider suppressing anyone younger than 16 even if they fall within the guidelines of COPPA.

 2. Suppressing account holders who are in default on loans.

It is most definitely not a best practice to send promotional emails to anyone who is in default of paying a loan, consistently misses payments or has declared bankruptcy. The sale that you make can actually cost you more money later on especially if they have a poor financial history.

 3. Suppressing screaming deletes

Screaming deletes are those customers who do not want your email communications no matter what. In fact, when you find a customer that is so disgruntled by your communications, check your file for any additional email addresses that you might have for them. Add ALL of the email addresses to the ‘screaming deletes’ file. This will save you some headaches down the road.

 4. Create a file for long term disengaged account holders

I recommend putting older email addresses with zero activity in at least 12 months or more into their own list. Not only will it be helpful to see the results from customers with current activity versus those without, but also you can identify older email addresses that may have become part of a spam trap. This will help keep your deliverability at its highest standards.

Although sending out emails is less expensive than sending out direct mail pieces, the same rules should still be considered and applied… just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.