Financial Services Industry on the Path to Marketing Automation Maturity

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Marketing Automation

If you work in the financial services industry, you know that most companies have a pretty lean marketing department, which means a few people are required to wear several different hats. In some ways, this can be a good thing. Less people with more responsibilities means more accountability for and control over the campaigns they create. And as necessity is the mother of invention, marketers on small teams are forced to learn and develop new skills that give them a better grasp on how to achieve the company’s goals. Further, smaller groups usually engage in more effective communications, allowing them to make smarter decisions and get on the same track in short order.

Unfortunately, there are also several drawbacks to working with smaller marketing teams; chief among them being the matter of limited resources. There are only so many hours in the day and dollars in the budget, which means these individuals have to do more with less — and they have to do so efficiently. Not only can this be taxing for marketers, but it can also lead to random acts of marketing (misaligned campaigns that are launched haphazardly with poor results), costly errors, and further disconnection between marketing and sales teams.

Thankfully, many financial services marketing departments have discovered a more efficient and effective way to align their departments and for team members to work cross-functionally developing campaigns and delivering high-quality leads to sales. Of course, I’m talking about marketing automation — an all-in-one marketing software hub that allows users to develop, launch, track, report, and optimize their campaigns from a single convenient source (that also usually integrates with one or more popular CRMs).

In today’s blog, we’re going to examine how financial services marketers are using marketing automation and the greatest challenge they face in getting the most out of their software.

These Financial Services Industry Marketing Stats Tell the Story

Earlier this year, Act-On partnered with London Research to conduct an international survey of more than 500 marketers from companies of all sizes, industries, and locations. We noticed a surprising lack of research around marketing automation usage, benefits, and challenges, so we decided to develop our own study to learn more about how marketers are using digital marketing software, whether or not they’re using it to its full potential, and what their main pain points are. The result is the State of Marketing Automation report, which you should definitely download here. By way of a preview, here’s a quick snapshot of how financial services members are faring in their journey toward digital marketing maturity.

How Is the Financial Services Industry Utilizing Marketing Automation Software?

As you can see, financial services marketers have a lot of room to grow and improve on their current marketing automation usage. While more than half of all marketers surveyed are already using marketing automation, and 28% are planning to invest in a new platform this year, less than half polled in the financial services industry are currently using marketing automation. Further, 27% of marketers in financial services aren’t using any form of marketing automation whatsoever.

The good news is that there’s only one way to go from here, and that direction is up! And our study bears that out, as 48% of financial marketers polled are planning on purchasing some form of digital marketing software in the next year — a strong step in the right direction.

Why Financial Services Firms Need Marketing Automation Software to Improve Their Marketing Efforts

As we mentioned earlier, most financial services firms have smaller marketing teams, so adopting new marketing automation software will help them be more agile while pushing out better campaigns that generate more revenue for their organization. Features such as audience segmentation will empower them to deliver more targeted and personalized messaging along the way — especially if they’re using adaptive technology, such as website personalization and progressive profiling with their contact and download forms. We know this because it’s exactly what the Act-On platform is designed to help marketers do, and our clients in the financial services industry tell us this time and time again.

For instance, Trustone Financial Credit Union — a member-owned credit union with 14 branches across Minnesota and Wisconsin with $1.4 billion in total assets — has leveraged the Act-On platform to drastically increase their email open rates. They’re currently averaging 69% open rates on nurture emails and have achieved 83% open rates for highly segmented emails. This success led Steve Steen, TruStone’s Chief Business Officer, to state, “Act-On helps us better serve our members so that we can offer timely and relevant messages on company updates, financial education, and production solutions. We are now better able to send the right message to the right member at the right time.”

Another prime example of Act-On being the perfect solution for a financial services company is AuditFile — a cloud-native, all-in-one audit automation platform for accounting professionals. Since implementing Act-On, AuditFile is consistently achieving conversion rates from trial sign up to paid customer of 60-67%, which is about 20-25% higher than the industry average. According to Erika Schonberg, AuditFile’s Head of Marketing and Sales, “Having limited resources forces us to be really smart about how we spend our marketing dollars and where we invest our time. Leveraging Act-On to automate our marketing and sales processes enables us to do that.”

If your bank, credit union, or financial institution wants to achieve similar results, please contact us today to get the conversation started!

Check out our additional related content:

Lead Nurturing Guide: 7 Steps Toward Setting Up Your Next Campaign

The Major Marketing Challenge Facing Financial Services Marketers

Yet, even as the financial services sector sets their sights on marketing automation, there remains a major obstacle for those companies that have already implemented the software: tracking, measuring, and reporting actionable data and analytics. This challenge not only prevents marketers from understanding which campaigns are working and which campaigns need to be updated (or abandoned altogether), but it also prevents them from understanding and forecasting ROI, which could lead to a lack of faith from key stakeholders.

We’ve seen a lot of companies struggle heavily to track their progress using other marketing automation software, and it usually leads to the C-Suite choosing to abandon the use of marketing automation altogether — or at least to switch vendors, which can take time to implement and devour resources as a result.

Usually, tracking issues are the result of poor integrations between marketing software and a company’s CRM. At Act-On, we rarely run into this problem because our platform has a native integration with several of the most popular CRMs — including Salesforce, SugarCRM, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics, among several others. This integration allows sales professionals to view every touchpoint along the customer journey without ever having to leave their CRM. Additionally, it allows marketers to better track their prospects, engage them through more segmented content, and deliver highly targeted messaging at the perfect time.

The State of Marketing Automation Has Everything You Need to Assess the Digital Marketing Landscape

The infographic above tells an interesting story, but it’s only a small piece of a larger narrative. Please download the full State of Marketing Automation report to learn more about how marketers from all industries, company sizes, and locations are using marketing automation and to what end. And if you’d like to learn more about Act-On’s commitment to marketing made personal, you can take a virtual tour by clicking here.