Financial institutions often target consumers through pre-qualified marketing to deliver highly personalized offerings, pinpoint cross-selling opportunities, and establish long-term relationships. Through this strategy, as targets of pre-qualified messaging and marketing, consumers receive offers that are more relevant, valuable, and accessible. But too often, pre-qualified offers are reserved for one-off vendor programs or the deep pockets of large financial institutions.
In this article, we’ll discuss why pre-qualified marketing is so critical even in resource-strained financial marketing departments, how it can impact profitability by saving time and resources, and how financial institutions should think about targeting offers to specific consumers across their lines of business.
The Difference Between Pre-Qualified Offers and Other Leads
Your financial institution may attract a significant number of new prospects through digital advertising campaigns, online or in-person events, content marketing, and other types of inbound marketing activities today. People show interest by visiting your website, reading your blog posts, clicking on links to learn more, and sometimes filling out a relevant form or application. Interested prospects may match a key demographic that your FI targets, but they may not turn into qualified leads. These prospects require a longer, lead nurturing approach that feels overwhelming to build for each of their journeys, and these types of consumers aren’t guaranteed to open an account or engage with your institution’s offerings in the future. Many disappear due to poor nurturing and the absence of meaningful, contextual offers.
Pre-qualified leads are different. They are handpicked by financial marketers who select consumers that match the criteria for which they are looking. Pre-qualifying requires more frontend effort to ensure a compliant fit based on predetermined indicators, but it means leads are most likely to want, need and afford what you’re marketing. Instead of bringing a mass group of traditional leads into your institution’s offerings from inbound marketing tactics, your marketing team can target qualified leads that align with the benchmark demographic for a specific product or service as well as the financial parameters that help you retain a healthy portfolio.
Targeting Pre-Qualified Consumers
Through your financial institution’s consumer database or customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can identify your potential pre-qualified consumers based on a variety of factors. A popular method of pre-qualified targeting is based on the acronym BANT. Although your FI’s qualifying factors can expand upon or differ from BANT, it is a good starting point.
BANT stands for people’s current budget, authority, need, and timeline. The product or service should fit within a consumer’s socioeconomic status and budget, in addition to their authority to purchase or utilize the tool. Financial marketers can also qualify consumers based on whether a product/service fulfills a certain need or is useful for the life stage they’re in.
A basic example of pre-qualified marketing from a financial institution is marketing a wealth management advisor or investment product to a large deposit customer or active large transactor. A more complex example would be softer pulls on credit or usage of previous credit data to offer a balance transfer or personal loan at a potential rate. Pre-approval is another step in the loan approval process that typically requires more paperwork and a deeper look into your credit history so that lenders can provide you with a specified loan amount. Pre-qualification helps create a smoother approval process in a competitive lending marketplace, allowing you to use more meaningful multi-touch media and content on your website and in various promotional channels.
Financial institutions hold a vast amount of consumer data, but leveraging it appropriately is only half of the battle. How your FI applies this data to stronger offers can separate you from the onslaught of superficial advertising messages consumers see each day. And how your organization then scales these offers to make them repeatable and automated can turn your marketing department from a perceived cost center to a revenue-generating department.
Scaling Your Pre-Qualification Offers
Scaling pre-qualification content requires sound data practices and repeatable marketing infrastructure. Your FI should start by figuring out which products or services to prioritize, whether it is a revamped product or new service. Then, your marketing team should focus your data process on consumers that match the financial and behavioral personas for which your FI can compliantly serve. By concentrating on a select group, marketers can reduce unnecessary spending so that your time and resources can be used elsewhere.
Once your data process is focused and repeatable, you need to ensure your marketing process is the same. Today’s marketing infrastructure can and should include contextual offers on your website and within your digital banking tools. FIs should aspire to have marketing automation campaigns that are constantly running with updated data. With at least two always-on campaigns, offers are consistently being sent to current and new qualified leads every month. Your marketing should combine your customers’ most preferred communication channels to ensure they see the qualifying offers that matter most to them where and when they prefer to communicate. This could mean text, email, social media, or direct mail templates that help you simply tailor messaging for a variety of pre-qualification offers.
Your FI should not have to increase marketing spend exponentially to achieve growth and target the right consumers. By pre-qualifying your leads, you’ll distinguish those that will benefit from your offering and reveal other consumers that share similar attributes and needs. A hyper-focus on qualified leads allows your financial institution to scale efficiently while maintaining a healthy marketing budget and encouraging more consumers to benefit from your FI’s offerings. Although no purchase or successful cross-selling opportunity is guaranteed, this marketing strategy helps your financial institution discover which members/customers are the best fit. Some consumers may not need a certain product or service at the current moment, but they can become qualified leads in the future so it’s important to maintain consistent communication. Through pre-qualified marketing, your FI establishes a long-term trusted relationship by offering the most relevant and useful financial tools for your consumers.
Image credit: Adobe Stock & Prisma Campaigns
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