7 Ways Financial Services Marketers Can Lead Digital Transformation

“Marketers need to stop thinking of themselves as ‘just marketers.’ You are now an IT department, a service organization. You are enterprise-wide,” said Lisa Nicholas, president of DBS, a Texas-based credit union service organization (CUSO) affiliated with the Credit Union of Texas. 

Nicholas is right; we’re seeing financial services marketers step up and own the customer experience from engaging customers in real-time to adopting and refining the journey strategy. In fact, 87% of the more than 500 financial services marketers we interviewed for our annual Trends in Financial Services Marketing report said that refining customer journey strategies are a priority.

That’s great news for marketers’ job stability, but the sheer pressure to own an omnichannel experience can be daunting — a challenge Nicholas and her team know all too well. 

When Nicholas and her team took over, DBS had four CRM systems, vendors underdelivering on promises, no website content, and zero automated journeys. Fourteen months later DBS has launched multiple automated journeys, increased conversation rates from 3% to 22%, and has banked a massive return on marketing spend.

Nicholas and her team are the first to admit that it wasn’t an overnight transformation. Here are their top seven tips for getting started with transformation in your own organization.

1. Know who you want to influence and get buy-in

Creating a great marketing strategy isn’t like driving a Ferrari – you can’t go from zero to 60 in three seconds. 

Look under the hood and conduct an assessment of your website. Perform a gap and cost analysis to identify the right people and resources. 

Then work with key stakeholders to create a firm understanding of where you want to go. Make sure your CEO has your back and that she is ready to deal with the inevitable friction that comes with change.

2. Modernize your old school marketing

When DBS first began its transformative journey, the company was spending $85,000 in direct mail to promote preapprovals.


After evaluating the website and landing pages, the team realized they could fully automate the process — a strategy that saved around $71,000 and produced a 40% average open rate.

Evaluate your content and the processes you’re asking your customers to engage in. Are they user-friendly? Would you be compelled to act if you were faced with a similar offer? 

These small wins can build the credibility you need to make even more substantial changes in the future.

3. Treat your website like a digital branch

Just like a physical branch, you want your website to be a reflection of your brand. Your location should be appealing, customer-focused, and easy to navigate. 

After evaluating the Credit Union of Texas website, the DBS team realized its structure gave away valuable real estate to pages that had little SEO value. When they reconfigured the homepage, they saw a nearly overnight 80% increase in total impressions.

Looking to get started? Conduct an audit of your website for technical deficiencies and consider if your current content management system (CMS) can handle personalization. Build your SEO keyword strategy and provide options for your customers to interact with your site. 

4. Craft journeys with a purpose

Once you’ve done your digital housekeeping, you’re ready to start developing customer journeys that take into account your customers’ digital body language. 

Consider what your customers need and what triggers compel them to engage. Collaborate with your key stakeholders and business units. Think about what you want to measure and identify the real-time data that can help you adjust if you’ve made a mistake.

5. Reach your customer in their moment of need

It all comes down to knowing your customers and understanding what compels them to act. To do this, we recommend connecting all of your customer data from across your organization and managing it in one place to give you a holistic view of each customer. This helps you make the right decisions in real-time and on the channels that are important to them. It’s about what they want, not what you think they should have.

6. Up your lead gen game

Okay, so you’ve developed an incredible website with an SEO and ad strategy churning out ridiculous potential customers.

Congratulations, your funnel is full! You can go home now. 

Just kidding! 

You forgot about the people who process all those new leads.

Don’t spend all the time and energy cultivating a huge lead funnel, but give up the game when it comes time to convert. 

Develop the back-end processes to handle incoming form submissions, phone calls, and chats. Build queues and call lists for every team in your organization and then hold them accountable for converting leads into sales.

7. Get a handle on your analytics

Tracking progress and effectiveness are often the most onerous tasks we face as marketers. 

Start by using resources like UTM parameters to track your campaign and email effectiveness. DBS is able to track leads from advertising down to the content level. It’s the only way to understand if the budget allocated to your marketing efforts is actually turning around meaningful return.

You’ll need to test, test, and test again. Stay involved across the business and build scorecards that track true cost per lead. 

Transforming your marketing means asking everyone to pitch in and collaborate. It might seem challenging, but with a data-driven approach, an understanding of your customers, and a mind toward your goal, that transformation will be achieved in no time.



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