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Using Offline Data to Target with Online Media

Direct mail is a large part of the marketing mix for most lenders, and they continue to send millions of direct mail pieces each year. While direct mail should still be a large part of every lender’s business, we believe that lenders must supplement this initiative with digital channels to acquire new customers, especially as more and more consumers use the Internet to purchase financial products. To capture these segments and to reinforce the offline media, lenders should use their offline targeting assets to reach these otherwise non-responsive segments in an online environment.

Using first- and third-party data from offline marketing programs is a great way for financial services companies to jump start their online media portfolio or supplement existing media. Here are three ways lending marketers can use offline data to target consumers via online media, from top of funnel awareness to lower funnel conversion and lead nurturing.

1. Generating awareness for lending:

The top of funnel has always been addressable with email or direct mail media. However, direct mail typically has not been cost effective for generating awareness, and the use of email has generally been avoided by financial institutions due to potential negative effects on brand equity. Display is now a viable media for measurable upper funnel marketing. We can identify relevant consumers and deliver media to create brand and product awareness. The key difference between this approach and mass media is that we are starting with a targeted audience of known consumers that score high in terms of need for different types of credit versus a broader list.

2. Building offline direct response models to jump-start online media programs:

Further down the funnel we can build more targeted lists for direct response campaigns. In this case, online media can be a strong component of the overall marketing mix. Initially, we can start with the same list that we would use in direct mail, but over time we would evolve with a model that has been specifically tuned for display media. Because we have the offline list, we can measure exactly who responded whether through online or offline channels. Display creative and the online customer experience are critical in this type of program. We need to drive response with attractive offers and through response channels optimized for click-to-call, mobile, and desktop.

3. Building lead nurturing programs with targeted online media:

[whitepaper nid="3219" width="50%" align="right" title="Read White Paper"][/whitepaper]Many lending programs should utilize engagement devices to capture hand-raiser PII. For these programs, direct mail, telemarketing, and email are typical ways to educate and keep consumers engaged throughout the buying cycle. Display media, however, with highly addressable platforms like Facebook and Twitter, can also be a strong part of the communication mix. Marketing analytics plays a lead role here with measurement, predictive analytics, attribution, and optimization solutions to maximize the effectiveness of spend across channels.

This blog post is an excerpt from Merkle’s white paper, Impactful Offline and Online Marketing Strategies for Consumer Lenders.