The Myth of Evil Loan Offers

Posted by on December 18th, 2014

MFBlog_121814In 2014, I’ve placed more focus on helping my financial institution clients use consumer credit data to extend pre-screened loan offers to their customers and members. While I believe offering pre-screened loans is important for both my clients and their account holders, I often receive more than my share of looks of distain from those outside the financial services industry, usually accompanied by, “Oh, so you actually spend your time trying to convince consumers to get into more debt?”

FIs are never trying to persuade consumers to take on more debt than they can afford or place loans in the hands of those without sufficient ability to repay, because loans are not inherently bad. In fact, banks and credit unions exist primarily to extend loans in lieu of the alternative…consumers having to borrow from a neighborhood loan shark. Truthfully, without loans, most people wouldn’t be able to afford things like a home or a car.

No reputable FI wants to put poor quality loans on its books or make offers to consumers who are unable to afford them. By using credit data to pre-screen offers, my clients can ensure they are effectively using their marketing dollars and reaching the consumers they are most likely able to assist. While in some cases, this does mean extending a new loan to customers/members for new car or home purchases. But, in many other instances, the offered loan is actually helping the consumer by refinancing or consolidating existing, higher interest rate loans.

These types of loans help strengthen FIs’ balance sheets, making them sounder, while simultaneously helping the public reduce their debt. In fact, offers to refinance existing loans at a lower rate serve as a sanity check, almost a “second opinion,” which allows consumers to be informed about the validity of the rates they are currently paying.

Society seems to have given “loans” a negative connotation and people often fail to understand the long-term value loans can provide. But, the goal of any FI is to offer pre-approved loans to credit worthy consumers in hopes to help lead them down the path to meet their financial goals.

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3 Digital Marketing Trends That Won’t Fade Away in 2015

Posted by on December 16th, 2014

MGBlog_121614If anything is clear about digital marketing, it’s that trends and best practices are always evolving. And as we move into the New Year, there is one thing about digital marketing that will not change, the importance an organization places on its brand’s ability to adapt to new trends at warp speed. But as 2014 comes to a close, there are a few trends that more than likely will not fade away in the coming year.

Content Marketing

The idea of providing useful and relevant content to consumers is not a brand new idea, but it really started to gain momentum in 2014. This has to do with the growing importance of the customer experience.

Because of the availability of the Internet, customers are constantly connected and looking for new ways to experience brands to educate themselves on products and services. This is best done through company blogs, which can generate 67% more leads per month than those companies who do not have a blog.1

A company blog is the perfect place to offer insight into what you have to offer, and it can be done in a variety of ways. This virtual space is the perfect place to show expertise and be viewed as an innovator and thought leader. It allows brands to give themselves a voice that is more personalized and less promotional.

While blogging is an excellent way to provide content to consumers, it’s also important to utilize other options such as white papers, infographics, email communications, videos and more.

Analytics

Analytics is a major player in digital marketing that will only become more sophisticated as time goes on. By incorporating analytics into any marketing strategy, it is easier to see and understand the behavior of your consumers. Currently, businesses are relying heavily on Google Analytics and even opting to allocate some of their marketing budget for customized, high-end options.

This type of data provides numbers and statistics around what is and isn’t working with your digital marketing strategy by closely examining how customers interact with your content. Are your consumers drawn to certain colors? Is a specific topic more interesting than another? Are certain layouts more engaging than others? By seeing the numbers next to these types of questions, you can make educated decisions on how to revise your strategies moving forward to build consumer engagement.

Brand Transparency

Recently, the tides have shifted. The control has been taken away from brands and given to consumers. This change in behavior can be attributed to the Internet, which is a platform for consumers to share their opinions. They are looking to cyberspace to find out what others say about a product or a service and take those reviews into serious consideration.

This has put brands in a position they have never been in before. They have to be more forthcoming about the inner workings of their business and allow consumers see them for what they really are. This essentially means dealing with the good and bad publicity in an open forum. Consumers want to find your brand relatable through the good, bad and ugly.

As we will surely see new trends come and go in 2015, the importance and impact of these three strategies should continue to grow from here on out. At the end of the day, brands must put their consumers first, and the foundation of providing an optimum consumer experience lies within content marketing, analytics and brand transparency.

Sources:
1. https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/top-4-list-things-come-digital-marketing-2015-142340708.html

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Real Time Mobile Alerts Are Coming To A Store Near You

Posted by on December 11th, 2014

KJBlog_121114Black Friday has come and gone and, now, as everyone is preparing for the fast-approaching holidays, businesses are doing everything they can to notify consumers about the latest sales, offerings and deals. Through social media and email, these businesses can update consumers with product and service information with a click of a button, which goes directly to mobile phones or tablets. Consumers have begun to rely on those alerts and, in some instances, expect to receive product information through digital channels. As the consumer expectation for real-time product and service information rises, organizations need something to stay on top of the increasing demand. Luckily, they can now do so with a beacon.

Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware that uses battery-friendly, low energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a mobile or tablet device while inside a particular business.1 A small enough device to attach to a wall, beacon hardware has the capability to locate mobile and tablet devices without being blocked by poor reception or cell service.

With beacon technology, organizations can offer customers an efficient and informational shopping experience by providing product information and up-to-date deals to shoppers while they are perusing the aisles. The beacon is also designed as as a payment system so consumers do not have to stand in the check out line. With first runs of these devices showing up in retail stores, they are expected to go beyond commercial industries and offer information on travel timings and updates, event information, educational information and more.

Consumers may view this hardware as a technological advancement that can enhance their shopping experience by combining in-store offerings with the efficiency of digital technology. But in order for consumers to receive notifications from the beacon, they must have their Bluetooth signal on, because the device uses a location services app that must be accepted by the consumer and, additionally, he/she would have to opt-in to receive the alerts.

As of right now, beacon is relatively new and many organizations are fine-tuning the technology to work for their industry. Some consumers may find the notifications to be more of a nuisance than a benefit, but they have the option to turn off the alerts or not sign up for the service. Others may see it this as a “must have” and continue to use it for everything they can get information for. Whatever route consumers choose, organizations can now use this technology to stay ahead of the demand and promote their products and services in real-time.

Source:

1. http://www.businessinsider.com/beacons-and-ibeacons-create-a-new-market-2013-12

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Looking Back As We Leap Forward

Posted by on December 9th, 2014

WintersBlog_1214As we draw closer to the end of 2014, many of our clients are focusing on 2015 planning. With that in mind as this year is coming to a close, I began to look back at my past blog posts for any past notes and ideas that may be beneficial as 2015 email marketing planning is underway.

I hope that you find the following old posts helpful and perhaps they can spark your interest in taking the next step in elevating your program in 2015!

If you need any assistance regarding your digital marketing plan for 2015, please feel free to contact our support team – we would love to help!

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Survey Question Design: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Posted by on December 5th, 2014

Vector iconReaching out to customers for their opinions and feedback is vital for any successful organization. However, the process of developing the perfect survey content can be daunting to even the most seasoned CRM or CEM team. This is primarily due to the fact that the survey must collect the appropriate responses in the appropriate manner to provide the most valid and reliable data. The most successful surveys consist of a combination of closed-ended and open-ended questions, which allows for the capture of quantitative data as well as qualitative data.

“Good” closed-ended questions are those that have specific and limited response sets. Examples of these types of closed-ended questions include those with Likert rating scales (e.g.1 = Poor and 5 = Excellent), those with “Yes/No” responses or those with a known definite response set such as gender and age. These close-ended questions are the most direct, straight forward and easily analyzed.

Now, let’s skip directly to the “ugly” closed-ended question response set.   In many cases, a survey question response set will be developed with a finite set of options, whereby all options are not listed. Poorly developed close-ended questions typically involve a categorical response set where all possible answers are not included. For example, “What do you like most about ABC organization?” that includes only the following responses: “Reputation; Location; Pricing.” This design may lead a participant to endorse an inaccurate response since his/her true response might not be listed, which could have quite a negative impact on the resulting data and analysis.

There still remains one level between the “good” and the “ugly”, and that is the “bad.” The most typical mistake in creating a bad response set is usually done with good intentions. This also most frequently occurs with a categorical response set and usually involves the inclusion of the response “Other.” However, this does not completely alleviate the problem of the “ugly” response set, but merely provides the option to endorse “Other” rather than an incorrect response. But, what happens when you conduct a frequency on such a question and have 30% of the participants endorsing “Other?” How do you interpret the data when you have no idea what that “Other” response is?

The way to take both the bad and the ugly response sets and morph them into good response sets is by adding the opportunity for an open-ended response. This can be accomplished quite easily by replacing the “Other” response with “Other, please specify” and allowing a space for open-ended input.

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