Privacy and user data management have become primary considerations among financial services marketers, advertisers, consumers and legislators. Financial institutions must carefully and responsibly secure and use any consumer data they collect — completely changing how they advertise going forward.

Now, banks and credit unions have the additional challenge of doing that in a new, cookie-free world.

As people take more control of their personal information, financial institutions will be increasingly restricted in how and when they do targeting. It does not mean that you can never use data or must only advertise generically. Instead, they have to treat your prospects and customers as people — as humans — not merely data points. Financial marketers must use data in ways that respect consumer choices and preferences.

Relevance still wins

People have always appreciated relevant advertising. Targeting with relevant content is the best tool financial services marketers have to maintain and respect consumer privacy. Anything that violates those expectations is likely to generate a negative response. Yet what does it look like to engage consumers in a privacy-safe but relevant way? Here are four practical recommendations for marketers:

1. Find partners with both brains and brawn

Those who get it, get it – and that is especially true in financial services marketing.

The formula for relevance is data-driven insight plus the tactical prowess to execute marketing across the channels that matter. Just getting the data right — ensuring opt-in, using advanced modeling, and the like — is only half the battle. Even if you have a willing and interested audience, they may not want to learn about your loan or deposit products in their social media feed. But they may be very open to an offer in their mailbox.

Being relevant means being able to identify your audience in a privacy-sensitive way. You can then engage those right people in the ways that resonate with them — email, display ads, mobile devices, connected TV, social media, direct mail, etc. — without losing the power of your data.

That puts getting the right martech partners at the top of your list. It would help if you had companies on your side that could take on the twin challenges of intelligence (the brains) and execution (the brawn) to win the hearts and minds of everyone in your audience.

2. Don’t put all your efforts into one technique

With consumers taking more control of their data, the finance industry is poised to see a decrease in precise location data and fewer device signals to target against. Smaller audiences will, in turn, limit the ability to reach consumers at scale to drive performance. Similarly, the digital identifiers used to deliver individualized ad experiences may be limited. For example, mobile device IDs and cookies may soon be off the table, requiring finance advertisers to look to other means of understanding consumer behavior.

Changes like these are a constant in the world of digital advertising. But, instead of fearing these changes, embrace them!

Partner with companies that can easily adapt to these changes and continue to drive performance. The right partners should put you out front in the data and privacy revolution—and on the side of the consumer.

3. Build on what you know to get the scale you need

In conversations about consumer privacy, so much emphasis tends to be put on what you don’t or can’t know. But you likely know a lot about your best and most loyal financial services customers — and much of it was given to you with their permission.

You certainly want to meet and engage more customers. But that can be a matter of leveraging your owned and opted-in first-party data to build predictive look-alike models. One of the best ways to do this is by targeting at the neighborhood level. This natural grouping of customers enables you to make reasonable and intelligent assumptions and can be your most sustainable method of targeted marketing. And with an integrated marketing platform that gets smarter each time you reach out to your audience, you can identify people who have interests similar to your top prospects — and you can reach them at scale.

But this will require good partners that can analyze diverse data sources and use proven advanced modeling techniques to go beyond one-to-one targeting to reach people who fit your ideal profile.

4. Never underestimate the power of creativity

Being an attractive financial brand means having a sense of what your audience cares about and speaking to it compellingly. That makes creativity a vital element of relevance, regardless of whether you’re taking an entertaining or informational approach. Best-in-breed technologies play a crucial role in making this a reality.

As people, we’re more complex than any single dimension of interest or past purchase may suggest. The best financial services marketing services have technology that can combine compelling insight about in-person visits, past transactions, financial products used and a host of other data points to help you identify larger segments — locally, regionally or across the country — of qualified customers likely to be in the market for certain financial products or services.

Finance marketing and consumer privacy

Marketing financial services is a lot like being invited to a party. Once you’re at that party, you still must create, cultivate and curate the contacts that you make. You have to be engaging, relevant, and — yes — privacy-compliant. But it all starts with making authentic connections with people who have a genuine interest in your financial products and services and then respectfully engaging with them as people first.

To learn more about how consumer privacy affects your marketing plans, download Vericast’s 2022 Financial Services TrendWatch report.