As mentioned earlier, in the world of advertising, communication has changed a lot in the last 15 years. In the 1990s, the internet was becoming popular, but it was very much restricted to business-to-business (B2B) interactions or to enthusiasts. By the late 1990s, some of the big players of today were already on the scene, such as Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and PayPal. At that time there were only a few thousand websites, but by the 2000s the first business-to-consumer (B2C) online sales started. In the following years, important new internet players arrived such as Facebook and Twitter.
The number of sites moved from thousands to millions in only ten years from the 1990s. More and more, the relationship between companies and their customers changed, with customers gaining gradual control. The important thing was not only the solution, product or service offered, but the customer’s experience in getting it, known as the ‘customer journey’. The interaction was becoming as important as the solution provided by the company.
The reason it is said that ‘the customer is in control’ is that they have easy access to information that allows them to compare product features, pricing, performance, and peer reviews.
Another major change in advertising and promotion using digital media is the fact the analytical and measurement capacity has significantly improved. Previously, banks could only define what it thought was the best strategy of coverage and frequency and measure the overall results. It was not clear which media was the best within the mix, so many advertising efforts, promotions and communications continued to use inefficient media or channels. Digital marketing provides very precise measurement and analysis that can provide a clear understanding of how each medium or channel performs. Data is a special part of any digital marketing strategy.
Digital Marketing, through a constant analysis of performance data, enables the bank’s marketing professionals to adjust ongoing campaigns to improve the return on the investment. In the past, that was a long and tedious process. Imagine stopping airing a TV advert, and then the time to assess it, create a new advert and air it again on a different channel. Today any company, including banks, can adjust campaigns in hours, ensuring the best return.
There are many ways to use digital marketing to promote the bank’s brand and to present and sell its solutions, products, and services.
It is fundamental to understand the characteristics of consumers on the internet. In the digital world, the term ‘persona’ is used to define the profile of the prospects that the bank is trying to gain.
Banks can use inbound marketing campaigns by generating content that interest their target ‘personas’, using a multiple of formats to get their attention. This includes using blogs, institutional sites, articles, and posts on social media, always aiming at placing them in the media that the target personas inhabit. As customers have more and more access to information, it is important that they link this effort to the values of the brand. The rise of social media has created some eminent threats from vocal, dissatisfied clients, but also opportunities to build a community around your brand: to have customers that ‘just not buy, but buy-in’.
The sites where the bank places its content will have to provide the bank with data that proves that the target market personas are there. Once the bank does this, it can acquire more of them using ‘click through’ buttons – driving prospects to the bank’s website where they can find more information, have an innovative experience, and ultimately buy the solution, product, or service.
Another way to attract customers to your company is to use Internet search engines such as Google or Bing. When the search engine returns the results to the consumer’s enquiry, it ranks websites (that have not paid to be advertised and positioned high in the results). To improve its ranking, the bank must understand how to optimise its website using ‘search engine optimisation (SEO) to allow the search engine to access meta-data attributes it can use to prioritise the bank’s website in the results.
Another way to have a good ranking position on the search engines is by paying for an advert and position that will appear on the first page of search results.
‘Pay-per-click’ payment to the search engine gives the advertiser a very good understanding of the efficiency of the message.
This is a contract with a search engine where the bank agrees to pay based on the number of prospects that have clicked the advert when search results are displayed.
The advertiser will only pay based on the number of people that interacted with the advert, taking them to their website. In the past, they based the cost of media on an estimate share of audience within the target market, but there was no guarantee that people were seeing or experiencing it or that they were within the target market.
As the bank drives prospects towards its site, it can create a lead generation engine, where anyone visiting the bank’s website can request further information concerning what the bank offers, giving it a good opportunity to use follow-up email marketing, or any other way by social media such as, WhatsApp, Telegram, or Facebook.
The bank can also use advertising on social media sites that have millions or billions of users, focusing on their target market persona, by providing a detailed description of their target market. Social media sites try to match advert placement using the persona defined, with the bank paying using the ‘pay-per-click’ method.
As people click through the adverts or follow posts in blogs and any other content media, banks can use ‘re-targeting’ to keep offering the product, brand, or solution anytime the individual uses that site or sites that are linked for advertising.
There are many creative ways for the bank to use digital marketing. The above examples are just the most used ones. What is important here is to have a clear target market to define what would be the best mix of tools to achieve it, including digital marketing.