Let’s admit it, one of the first thoughts that come to mind when thinking of advertising by banks and other financial institutions like credit societies, is that of suit and tie bankers exhorting everyone to become their customer. Even as the world has been going digital and with the institutions too following through, somehow, they have limited themselves to the technical aspects of things. Marketing, especially in the digital domain has been restricted on a major part to promotional containers that are otherwise known as banner ads. This has been the case for all but the big guns in the industry, which have had the resources necessary for a full blown digital marketing blitz at their disposal.
All things D:
For many out there, the digital initiatives have not expanded beyond their core website. However digital today encompasses multiple platforms that exist in the online world together with the various handheld device categories. From acquiring new customers to retaining the already existing ones, any marketing activity carried out in the digital domain falls under this. And this is usually the point where savvy marketers start to realize that digital marketing is in reality a sub-section of the whole promotional paradigm. Just as conventional marketing aims revolve round the building up of excitement, engagement and loyalty from customers, so do the digital aims. Those on the lookout for differentiating factors would be well served to look in the direction of the technological role and its influence over the execution of marketing initiatives.
The past decade has seen an entire generation of people being tagged as early adopters of all things tech. As the numbers start to swell, so do the expectations that their brands similarly embrace the technological advances as quickly as they do. It therefore makes for a prudent judgement to get onto the tech highway rather than risk losing out and get left behind in the dirt of obsolescence.
The thing about errors is that everyone makes them; even the most successful firms out there have made their share of mistakes over time. Marketing and especially the digital domain is no different. Retail giants, production majors, banks and the lot, they all have their share of ‘experience’ it their kitty. But just because they can’t be fully eliminated doesn’t mean that one sits back and does nothing to prevent them from occurring. Especially because a great majority of these errors are avoidable in the first place!
It saddens us to no end when we come across artificial silos being created among the marketing division at many firms. Marketing, whether in the conventional or the digital iteration, can be most effective when there is a seamless exchange of information and ideas. Putting up barriers to appease the misplaced notions of divisional hierarchy and protocols actually ends up preventing organizations from realizing their true marketing potential.
Lining up the Sights:
It could be that game of darts or a session of target practice, what matters is getting it closer to the bull’s-eye. Every business worth their binaries has a website these days. Many put up a reasonably good effort but then let it go downhill from there. The website is soon neglected, like a castaway that is of no real value. The truth couldn’t be further away from that.
Corporate websites are the digital outposts of businesses and indeed, the first lookout for information searches are made on them. While Facebook posts and tweets are great, the first property to be updated must ALWAYS be the company website. Unfortunately, those in the financial sectors either relegate their websites to the bottom of the updates hierarchy or end up creating an informational nightmare. Bestowing the title of an investment on a website and restoring it to its rightful pride of place is the best way to stem this rot.
Collection, Measurement & Analysis Cycle:
The verdict may yet be out on the pros and cons of Google’s free analytics program over the other enterprise options available in the market. But what successful firms vouch for, is the rich data being generated by visitors to the website. However, one can accumulate data by the terabytes and yet be clueless about its significance. This is commonly found in businesses who do not know the ‘what and whys’ of data collection in the first place. Thankfully, they can mount their own rescue ops by identifying the Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s. While the website performance indicators for each business would be different, there are a few key ones that need to be mapped across all sites. These include:
- Percentage of New vs. Repeat visitors
- Number of pages viewed in total by each visitor at every instance
- Pages viewed by new visitors and the time spent on each one of them
- Pages from where visitors tend to quit the website
- Total number of instances where visitors leave after visiting a single page (Bounce Rate)
- Pages featuring details about the products and services on the site and the amount of time spent on them by new visitors
Besides these, from a financial services point-of-view, it is important to track the percentage number of pure visitors to the inquiries generated from the site. The branch locator page too is another parameter that should be looked into.
The ‘Click’ Factor:
When people talk about getting onto the social media ad campaign bandwagon, it is imperative to check if they’ve leveraged the most powerful ad network out there – Google. Its AdWords program is indeed the leading product in the market and by a huge margin at that. While others are struggling to play catch, it is still some time before anyone is going to get close to this behemoth. The paid search platform offers a highly effective way to get the message across to the right type of audience. These ads can be tailored to target on the basis of an extremely detailed set of parameters ranging from demographics to geo-political preferences and pretty much everything in between. To top it off, the costs involved in leveraging this highly potent tool can start from a couple of cents per click and go up to a few dollars, depending upon the bidding. But do ensure that the budget’s in place for the campaign. One of the worst things that could happen would be to run out of funds, just as the clicks start to pour in.
At the end of it all, there is no single approach to marketing supremacy. We are all part of the learning curve, albeit, for some it appears steep, while some find it to be smooth runnings. That said, a watertight website and a finely tuned paid search campaign are sure to go a long way in ironing out the bumps. The choice though, is yours to be made!