First Up: Credit-Crunched Consumers
2. Pay Attention to Consumer Attitudes
"How the customers feel about the relationship with the product and service, and in particular today, how confident they are with their personal economic condition[s], is going to drive their purchase behavior[s]," says Hopkins, who is working with financial companies to better understand how to market to households with college-bound children or households nearing retirement. "Those tend to be two real high-risk categories where they're looking for a relationship with a financial services company that will help them feel more stable than what the stock market has provided for them," she details.
Rice says a warm touch and a soft sell are more comfortable to prospects right now. In financial services, he advises focusing on informing and educating the consumer instead of trying to make immediate sales. "I think the feeling of ‘you're not alone' and ‘this is what's going on' and ‘this is how we're going to reach out to you' are really important right now," he describes.
3. Use Multiple Channels
Use online, mail and telephone channels to penetrate to the consumer and provide convenient response paths for follow-up. "You can generate interest in direct mail and catalogs, and then you can be very personal in your communication in the online channel," Hopkins notes. The web is an important component in reaching prospects with financial offers, and Rice says video enhances the overall online experience. However, he adds that penetration and conversion remain strongest via direct mail.
4. Consider Consumer Risk Scoring
"Consumer risk scoring is just becoming an amazing business," Rice exclaims. Companies like Experian and Red Clay Media offer modeling capabilities where thousands of elements can be overlaid onto a model to determine the risk and worthiness of a consumer to a company. Both Rice and Hopkins agree that risk scoring is no longer entirely confined to financial services or collections efforts. "Marketers are using geodemographical data to look for what may be high-risk areas within their branch networks and their service areas," Hopkins points out. She gives an example of a retailer using risk analysis to look at the customers living within a drive time of its stores to see how they are impacted by economic conditions, then realigning its marketing to best meet the needs of these consumers.