No matter which sector of the financial industry you're in, if you're targeting prospects for mortgage loans, payday loans, installment loans, consumer finance loans, etc., one of the most important ways to create valuable target segments and market accurately and effectively, is through using tri-bureau credit data in order to pull your best prospects. A consumer's credit history is a valuable tool to use in marketing efforts, and tells you a lot about who your prospects are, how your offers impact them (extremely valuable knowledge for the team working to design your creative), and how your products and services fit into their buying and lending patterns. On the other hand, you don't want to implement only credit data into your analysis and targeting. Other factors can make a huge impact as well. Take for example, new movers - their recent move may not impact their credit attributes, but new movers are 3x more likely to buy a new car after their move, meaning that taking relocation status into account may be just as valuable to those offering car loans as their credit history.
So it seems simple, right? More data, especially more accurate and fresh data, means more knowledge, which means you can make better decisions. That's true...except with the amount of attributes, criteria, and selections available, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which ones are significant to your marketing efforts, and which ones have lower priority and impact. After all, you don't want to cast too wide of a net and get low quality prospects, but you also don't want to narrow your criteria to the point that you don't have any prospects at all. So what's the best way to create a refined targeting strategy that encompasses the most important attributes that indicate significance among your prospect pool, without being too exclusionary?
1. Analyze your current customer profile
The best way to start is by analyzing your current customer file to find statistical similarities among your customers - keep in mind however, that just because many of your customers share certain traits or behaviors, not all of these shared attributes are equally important. For example, the estimated income among your clients may be similar, but the gains attributed to income may be much lower than the gains associated with the number of credit inquiries they've made in the past year. Each attribute can stack up differently, and their weight should be taken into account when creating a marketing plan as well. You'll want to work with your data provider in order to determine the weight of importance of each attribute by comparing your clients to a random sample of the population in the same geography.
Once you understand the best attributes to use, utilize at least the top 5 attributes in your selection of targeting, and you can select less important attributes to output to track trends and understand their impact. It also helps to pull across all three major credit bureaus in order to get more prospects, more data points, and more accuracy. By combining credit bureau data, you'll know you're getting the most prospects possible that meet your most influential criteria.
2. Understand prospect behavior indicators
Some buyer behaviors are obvious indicators that the consumer is on the market to buy. One of the first stages after a buyer has made a decision to purchase any service or good is the information search. For example, once a consumer has decided that they're ready to buy a new car, the first thing they'll do is begin searching through brands, models, and pricing to narrow down their decision further. This is the best time to extend an offer, since the first buying decision has already been made and now they're in the research stage to determine which offer suits them the best.
One of the best ways to reach a credit prospect when they're in the research phase is through implementing daily tri-bureau triggers into your marketing program. Customize your attributes, and then every day, within 24 hours of hitting, you'll receive a daily file of actively inquiring customers who are applying for credit, mortgages, etc. These are some of the freshest leads possible, and they're extremely valuable to marketing efforts; providing a much higher ROI due to the fast turn-around of these prospects.
There are other indicators, which can still really affect your marketing efforts, such as certain life events that may be correlated to financial investments that are prompted by these life events. For example, new parents are more likely to be on the market for certain credit card offers from stores that offer baby-care products, and more likely to want credit cards that offer rewards such as gas and food discounts, as opposed to travel rewards. On the other hand, recent college graduates or parents of recent college graduates are more likely to be on the market for student loan refinance offers. Knowing which life events may affect how you're targeting a current prospect or customer, allows you to change your marketing tactics accordingly and boosts response rates.
3. Always use accurate data
When it comes to monitoring your current clients, or running an acquisition campaign, never make assumptions or guesses. Intuition is great, and can inspire great ideas, but it's always important to combine this intuition with proven data to achieve the best results. Predictive models are often incredibly powerful and can help guide your marketing efforts so you know that you're targeting responsive and active audiences. By layering your client data on top of a predictive model, you'll find characteristics and attributes that you may not have even known were important to your prospects. This impacts not only who you target, but how you target.
It's important to remain cohesive across targeting efforts and marketing efforts. A/B versioning can be incredibly helpful in knowing which segments you target respond to which efforts. Which is why, when it comes to implementing these data-driven programs, you don't want to just stop at targeting. Instead, data processing should be considered a cycle:
Always use data to measure your progress, track the impact of program changes, understand how creative impacts different prospect segments, and finally, choose a length of time to measure your marketing results and analyze your customer data once again. Trends change, people change, your offers and services may change...by updating and re-analyzing your customer data about every 6 months, you'll always know that your marketing efforts are up to date and realistic, based not just on industry predictions, but on true data about how your prospects and customers are continuously changing.
For more information on how to begin implementing data into your targeting processes, or how to measure and analyze campaign results in an effective way, click the link below: