Break down those marketing silos

How many financial institutions consider their brand to be a multisensory, personal experience? Not that many. Too bougie for financial services? Maybe. But more institutions should see themselves that way. Apple does. Amazon and Netflix do, too.

It’s hard to argue with those companies’ ability to make consumers feel like they’re part of a seamless, connected, multitouch brand experience that speaks more clearly to consumer wants and needs than anything else.

It’s not because these companies have more money to spend – good strategy isn’t expensive. It’s because they’ve embraced a holistic, multichannel marketing strategy whose only real price is the boss’s buy-in.

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Implementing such a strategy doesn’t happen by accident. Cohesive multichannel communications share a common look, feel and language rooted in the essential elements of your brand. Surprisingly, the strength and simplicity of this strategy is often overlooked.

The key is turning random, sporadic communications into continuous, consistent, seamless interactions that, over time, create a feeling of connection, acceptance, inclusion and loyalty that form the basis for new and ongoing consumer relationships.

Here’s a simple action plan for delivering a multitouch, cohesive multichannel marketing experience through every stage of the customer lifecycle:

Start with direct mail: Going to the mailbox is now an event. With people oversaturated by email, and much of the U.S. labor force still working from home, direct mail has re-emerged as a channel consumers can touch, feel and trust. About 90 percent of direct mail gets opened and three-quarters of households read or scan advertisements in their mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service

Plus, direct mail is a hit with millennials. More than 80 percent of millennials take the time to look through their mail, according to the USPS, and 92 percent are influenced by direct mail to make purchase decisions, as opposed to 78 percent influenced by email.

Direct mail is still a powerful marketing tool for financial institutions that want to connect with customers and prospects. It provides a valuable “phase one” for campaigns seeking to gain the trust and confidence of today’s tech-savvy consumer.

Follow with digital ads: Because the average user spends more than six hours each day online, it’s imperative to deliver a great message on any device. Online display advertising utilizes the ease, relevance and popularity of the digital channel. It reaches more consumers in more places with highly targeted promotions that not only drive response, but also deliver the instant gratification that today’s consumer craves.

In addition, digital ads are a proven, cost-effective way to compete with rivals of any size to capture attention. The digital channel levels the playing field because of the ability to time and target ads, as well as to anticipate consumer needs and deliver high-impact marketing. No customer acquisition, retention or product growth strategy is complete without the endless reach offered by a complementary digital component.

Seal the deal with great customer support: Digital ads, maybe more than any other channel, benefit most from the one-to-one follow-up dialogue of more personal channels.

That’s because humans want to talk to humans. Nothing can replace the lasting impact of an excellent customer experience only a knowledgeable, experienced and empathetic contact center representative can deliver. Engaging customers with a personal touch can create and cultivate lifelong relationships.

Now more than ever, contact centers are expected to serve as revenue centers that drive sales, gather customer insight and deliver leads. A high-performance contact center provides the human touchpoint that is a crucial to any successful omnichannel marketing strategy.

Proactive outbound calling of customers and prospects ensure that your omnichannel campaign is delivering quality, on-brand, emotional engagement that consumers expect and demand. And skilled inbound contact center professionals who can close interested buyers ensure that you maximize campaign ROI and get the most from your marketing dollars.

Now more than ever, financial institutions are forced to shift their focus from simply providing “service” to using vast amounts of existing customer data to deliver “experiences” in order to stand out and compete.

To be a customer-centric institution, you need to be in touch with your customers’ experiences. Gathering actionable insight from every engagement touchpoint is necessary to deliver world-class service and build a consistent customer experience.

Jeff Hassemer is the senior vice president of marketing Harland Clarke.