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Personalized Banking: How Direct Mail Helps Banks Stay Ahead of Competitors

Personalization and Banking
By Brandon Beatty July 12, 2021 No Comments


At this point, banks should realize that personalization will be critical to their success, as emerging competitors — upstart financial services companies that are nibbling, sometimes chomping, away at their customers — are staking their claim with innovative digital marketing and winning. In response, more banks should turn to a traditional channel — Direct Mail — for a competitive advantage over their digitally innovative foes.

Why Direct Mail?

As the competition has heated up, bank marketing teams have looked for new ways to drive leads, often recognizing that they weren’t getting enough penetration into their most valuable segments.

It’s not from a data shortage. Banks have made significant investments in data and marketing automation capabilities, modeling customer data based on online behaviors and segmenting buyers into personas. But how can they leverage all this data to engage their audience in a different way?

The answer, increasingly often, is Direct Mail. Even weighed down by antiquated legacy systems, Direct Mail consistently outperforms digital returns. Digitally transforming Direct Mail — improving campaign results while reducing program and process complexities — makes this route even more appealing.

Definitive Guide to Digital Transformation in Enterprise Direct Marketing

Where to Start?

Direct Mail marketers at financial institutions need to consider their Direct Mail strategy across several dimensions before deploying programs:

  1. They need to be able to target each of their buyer personas with unique content. They know what products, offers and messaging resonate with those personas, and the communications should speak to their specific needs.
  2. Their next step is to leverage existing propensity modeling and behavioral data to forecast well-timed deployments.
  3. Knowing they need to test and prove out results before really hitting the gas, Direct Mail teams need to come up with a simple test plan to evaluate the impact Direct Mail has on customers that have only received digital communications thus far.
  4. Last, they need to vary the content in their Direct Mail. Teams need to keep it fresh and test the impact of different messaging, offers and creative.

Personalizing Direct Mail: Best Practices & Hurdles

The plan often starts out looking like this:

  1. Teams examine all available customer data to identify a set of major audience segments based on variables such as geo-location, demographics, purchase history, etc.
  2. Within those segments, data would be further analyzed to personalize offer codes and messaging based on consistencies and trends.
  3. Personalization tests will also be set up to determine the optimal personalization strategy.
  4. Sending Direct Mail would progress customers through the buyer's journey.

But marketers often face a familiar hurdle at this point: Banks don’t have the capabilities to rapidly segment customers and run multivariate testing and predictive modeling to determine the optimal variables for personalization.

Plus, it takes them roughly 30 days to coordinate creative development with suppliers, have them develop multiple versions of creative, review proofs, discuss edits/updates, and review and approve re-worked creative.

The limits of traditional Direct Mail campaign execution start becoming clear.

It takes too long, the personalization is limited and results fall short. They aren't able to fully execute their detailed, innovative strategy to deliver relevant, well-timed Direct Mail.

Getting the most from best practices means turning to digital transformation.

Boosting Direct Mail Results with Digital Transformation

So, how do Direct Mail teams at banks create an ideal Direct Marketing environment where campaigns are highly personalized, data management and multivariate testing is automated, and Direct Mail communications are coordinated with digital efforts?

The key is integrating data management, campaign management, content management and response reporting systems into the bank’s overall technology stack.

Think about it — the reason digital teams can be so agile executing campaigns is because:

  1. They have the tools to automate testing and data analytics.
  2. They leverage a centralized platform housing various campaign libraries that can be replicated and repurposed for future use.
  3. They have real-time reporting that allows them to make data-driven strategy and execution decisions at the drop of a hat.

With digital transformation, banks can apply these same advantages to their personalized Direct Mail. Whether banks decide to custom-build these technologies and integrate them with existing platforms or research and vet available Direct Marketing technologies, they have the ability to execute on a targeted, hyper-personalized, well-timed Direct Mail strategy. It’s just a matter of getting the necessary systems in place.

Faced with consumers demanding just the right amount of personalization while upstart competitors chip away at their clients, banks need to innovate. Leveraging digitally transformed Direct Mail is proving to be a competitive advantage they can’t afford to overlook.

Could your bank benefit from a personalized, well-timed Direct Mail strategy? Submit a Request for Consultation and a KleerMail Solutions Specialist will reach out to see how we can help your organization.

This article originally appeared in Bank News.

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