What Can Data Do For Your Financial Institution?

Posted by on July 31st, 2015

DataOne of the biggest topics surrounding financial institutions and digital marketing professionals is data. There are countless articles, blog posts and white papers on data — how to use it, how to understand it and how it can impact the way financial institutions market to potential and current account holders. So what happens with collected data and how can it be used to make the most impact? Online behavior, transactions and social appending, are three ways data can be collected, and the benefits of the information gained by these three methods should not be overlooked.

Online behavior gives financial institutions the ability to track purchasing data that shows web browsing habits, consumer trends and insight into audience interests. With the ability to see the sites account holders connect with the most, financial institutions can zero in on common points of interest and send targeted promotions, reducing acquisition costs and allowing more targeted sales efforts.

Capturing real-time transactional information lets financial institutions understand individual account holder preferences, buying patters and budgeting goals. Understanding what an account holder is purchasing and when they are purchasing it, gives financial institutions insight into account holder needs, providing the opportunity to offer specials or credit card promotions. Transactional information also provides insight on how an account holder is interacting with the financial institution, offering a better understanding on how the relationship is viewed. Transactions also let financial institutions track account holder behavior, enhancing fraud prevention by raising a red flag if an unusual transaction has occurred.

By using data captured from social sites, financial institutions can understand account holder’s perceptions of their products and services and, in turn, prevent or reduce customer churn. By collecting information on how audiences are talking about their specific services, competitors and related topics that influence purchasing behavior, financial institutions can reach a segmented audience that is defined by common attitudes and behaviors. This allows financial institutions to craft targeted messages based on those specifications. Social appending also gives financial institutions a way to identify potential clients from their current account holders’ social media contacts.

Financial institutions can use gathered online behavioral information to find new account holders, offer additional products to current ones and learn how account holders interact with their service offerings. Transactional data gives financial institutions the ability to understand that online behavior in real-time and strategize targeted messaging based on that information. Social appending helps financial institutions understand their account holders on an emotional level and use that information to improve account holder perceptions and gain additional customers. While these are only a few ways data can be collected and used, they can have a significant impact for any financial institution.


Boost Engagement Rates with Inactive Resends

Posted by on July 30th, 2015

CreativityLike many of us, I sign up for and receive a lot of commercial email. Thanks to the nearly unlimited amount of storage offered by the free webmail providers, I have something like 15,000 emails across all of my personal inboxes. I don’t think I am alone in this.

Every now and then, I’ll find a past unopened message offering a great deal that has since expired. It’s not that I consciously decided not to read it; I just didn’t have time. Maybe it caught my eye but my phone rang, or the oven timer went off, and I had to deal with something else. By the time I get back to my inbox, which might even be the next day, I may have forgotten about that intriguing email. Now, it’s buried under a pile of other messages.

Looking at this from an email sender point-of-view, distracted customers can represent a largely untapped opportunity. We may assume each recipient is making a conscious decision to open or not open our email, but though testing Harland Clarke Digital™ has done with various clients in various industries, we have found that this is often just not the case. Resending the message can actually provide a lift in render and click rates… and this lift can be significant.

According to Bill Leming, VP Strategic Services at Harland Clarke Digital, “We’ve seen instances where it doubled the render rate and click through rates and instances where it increased responses by about 40 percent”.

These statistics will naturally vary by sender, offer and list segment. Like any other technique, it’s something that you need to test in order to see if it makes sense for you. Here are some additional considerations to take into account:

  • The easiest way to do this in SubscriberMail® is to create a Dynamic List Filter that will identify anyone who has opened or clicked on the original send. Then, you can copy your original message out of Sent Messages and redeploy it to the original list, making sure to suppress this list filter;
  • This technique will work best with your cleanest, most engaged list segments. If the list you are resending to has a high percentage of disengaged subscribers and/or spam trap addresses, it can actually work against your deliverability;
  • Thus, it makes sense to test with a small group first and, if there are no adverse effects, to expand the testing group;
  • While you are testing, you need to watch your unsubscribe rate carefully to make sure the resend doesn’t cause a spike in unsubscribes.
  • You should also use the TOS Complaint Summary report to see if the resend has a higher “user marked as spam” rate than the original email;
  • You can use the Compare Message Summary report to see how the render / click rates of the resend compare to the original send and discover what sort of boost you are getting, or use the Combine Message Summary report to get the aggregate statistics of both deployments combined.
  • Not every email is a good candidate for an inactive resend. You may not see a benefit from resending a largely informational email;
  • While inactive resends can provide a boost to campaigns that didn’t do as well as you wanted the first time around, they can also work on campaigns that did spectacularly the first time around. If you get a 50 percent unique confirmed open rate and a 20 percent click through rate on a particular message, it clearly resonated with your subscribers. Why not resend this message?
  • While it is not necessary to change anything about the message, you might consider escalating the urgency of the subject line in resends. For example, “Time is Running Out…”, “Last Chance…”, etc.. This may urge distracted customers to pay more attention this time around.

Harland Clarke Digital’s SubscriberMail platform includes tools that make it easy to test inactive resend techniques and measure the effect of these techniques on your campaigns. Contact us for a demo today.


Retaining Your Account Holders When Rates Rise

Posted by on July 28th, 2015

Today there is an ongoing and active topic within the financial services industry about rising interest rates and how that’s going to impact banks and credit unions. The Federal Reserve hints that interest rates will increase, which can be viewed as a sign of an improving economy as well as an increase in lending spreads among banks. This shift could potentially benefit account holders, because they will have the ability to realize higher yields on their deposit balances. But while the increased rates is a positive for account holders, it can be viewed as a disadvantage to financial institutions that are trying to retain deposit balances and generate long-term relationships.

Today, technology is making it easier for account holders to rapidly take advantage of the best rate deals. In a recent American Banker article, Marianne Lake, CFO of JPMorgan Chase, mentioned that with account holders adopting mobile banking, it has made it easier “to move money to chase rates,” which creates challenges for banks and credit unions trying to retain those deposit balances.1

To help keep account holders’ accounts and balances, it’s critical for financial institutions to have an ongoing communication strategy to enhance account holder relationships, increase retention rates and improve overall satisfaction. A solid onboarding and ongoing communication strategy will help establish and maintain timely contacts with your account holders. It’s critical to welcome new customers and thank existing customers for opening new accounts. When done correctly, this type of communication strategy helps to “kick-start” the new account holder relationship and paves the way for productive cross-selling, and improved loyalty and satisfaction.

Communicating quickly after any new account is opened improves satisfaction and enhances the overall experience. According to the JD Power & Associates’ 2015 US Retail Banking Satisfaction study, satisfaction increases the faster a new account holder is contacted and is contacted by the same banking representative who opened the account.2



JD Power & Associates research also consistently shows that customer satisfaction and cross-sell effectiveness improves with the increased number of contacts.3



Onboarding should focus on those engagement services like direct deposit, bill pay, electronic statements, debit card, mobile and online banking. This type of communication helps to build the foundation of account engagement and loyalty before focusing on tailored cross-sell contacts.

Start early by building a consist communication strategy targeting both new and existing customers in order to create improved loyalty, satisfaction and retention especially those highly important deposit balances.


1. American Banker, (14, July 2015).

2. US Retail Banking Satisfaction. JD Power & Associates. (2015).

3. US Retail Banking Satisfaction. JD Power & Associates. (2015).


Not All Fonts Are Appropriate for Email

Posted by on July 20th, 2015

CreativityI love fonts. My current favorite is Piel Script by Argentinean art director, Alejandro Paul. But Piel Script, like many other beautiful typefaces, would not be appropriate in the body of an email message. I could use this script, but I’d need to flatten it into artwork, because the typefaces available across all email clients are limited. Many of the fonts we commonly use in print or even web design are not found across all devices, which means they won’t be visible by everyone who reads your email.

When you design email, especially if you want it to look nice on a mobile device, you are limited to web-safe fonts, meaning that you are designing for the reader with only the system installed fonts. It is a best practice to set all the HTML text in one of the commonly used font groups.

For example:

1. Serif fonts: “Times New Roman”, Times, serif

This is a heading

This is a paragraph

2. Sans Serif fonts: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif

This is a heading

This is a paragraph

When you setup your email design in photoshop, you should think about how the message body will display once your design is coded. In general, any sans serif font will be replaced with the most common sans serif font group shown above. I don’t want to setup my design with another of my favorites, Helvetica Neue Light, because even though I have this font loaded on my computer, and I can see it just fine, most of my email message recipients won’t. Their message will display in Arial as a default.

Another thing to remember when moving from print to email design, is that everything is specified in pixels, including fonts. We recommend a font size no smaller than 13 pixels for good readability across devices. Many fonts also have different word or letter spacing and when the font changes, this can alter your design by reflowing text.

Here’s an example:


So remember when designing email, use fancy fonts only as images. Flatten your fonts into artwork for a banner or image. Keep the body of the email simple by using web-safe fonts only, and you can control what your recipients see across all devices.


5 Tips To Implement An Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy

Posted by on July 14th, 2015

Omni-channel marketing is the newest shift marketers are seeing thanks to the improvement of technology, availability of data and the growing importance of business intelligence and marketing automation. The idea is simple – provide your customers with a seamless experience regardless of how they engage with your business (email, in-person, social media, website, mobile app, customer call centers, etc.). Also, don’t forget to consider the device being used whether a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

So, how can you implement and successfully utilize an omni-channel strategy to improve your customers’ experience?

1. Test The Experience Out For Yourself

It’s important to experience the buyer’s journey as if you were a customer at your business, and to do so, you have to interact with your marketing channels regularly. Is every step of the buyer journey a pleasant one regardless of the device being used? The message and experience needs to be integrated and consistent, and the only way to ensure this is the case is to test it out for yourself.

2. Measure and Analyze

There is so much information available, and it’s all attainable from a variety of sources such as a CRM, website activity, customer feedback, social media, etc. Using all your collected data, you can learn more about who your customers are outside of basic demographic information by focusing more on behavioral data and asking the right questions leading to deeper meanings and insights.

3. Build Customer Profiles

As this information is gathered, it can be pushed into a business intelligence engine, which helps marketers analyze customer behavior and build more complete profiles. As profiles are populated, segmentation becomes easier and buyer personas can be created.

4. Develop Targeted Content

Once you’ve identified patterns and behaviors, you can translate your findings to speak with your customers in meaningful ways thus establishing a higher level of satisfaction and loyalty. You can map out what types of content are needed as well as which communication channels are preferred to improve the overall experience. By truly understanding who your customers are, you can develop stronger messages that are tailor-made for them forming a deeper connection.

5. Refine Your Strategy 

The journey doesn’t stop once you’ve gone through the process once. We know that behavior is constantly changing as new technologies and trends emerge. It’s important to constantly evaluate your strategies and improve your segmentation process in order to keep your business relevant and strong in the minds of your customers.

The foundation of omni-channel marketing is big data. By truly understanding who your customers are, and the different channels being utilized as they navigate their way through the buyer journey, you can connect the dots and understand how they interact with each channel and what works and what doesn’t. This deeper understanding can improve the customer experience and satisfaction leading, hopefully, to increased loyalty and advocacy.