Recent data shows the growth rate of year-over-year spending in digital marketing for the financial services industry is slowing down. That does not mean that online sales and marketing tools are not working; it means the finance industry’s digital marketing efforts are maturing. The next step will be to fine-tune those efforts with better reporting and a greater focus on marketing according to consumer preferences.

According to a new eMarketer report, “The US Financial Services Industry 2013: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Key Trends,” spending in digital marketing for the US financial services industry will rise to $7.38 billion in 2017. But growth has slowed since the 27.7% jump in marketing spend between 2010 and 2011, and the financial services is expected to be usurped by the automotive industry for the second-highest marketing spending next year.

This is good news. The financial services industry remains ahead of the curve in digital marketing and focused on investing in that area in the coming years, but its new focus will likely be getting the most out of that investment. Having put the infrastructure in place, you can bet that financial brands will focus next on improving the effectiveness of their campaigns with better reporting and through the integration of consumer marketing preferences.

That’s where multi-channel marketing campaign management tools can help. Centralizing data for email, text, social media, and direct mail marketing campaigns into a single repository not only guarantees compliance with the many varying laws governing marketing in those channels, but also simplifies reporting on which channels, as well as specific marketing messages, are most effective.

Marketing preferences matter for mobile

One area where the rate of spending growth is not slowing down is the financial industry’s mobile marketing efforts.

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) predicted the financial services, insurance, and real estate industry will spend $2.08 billion on US mobile marketing in 2013, which is a 36% increase over 2012 spending. By 2015, spending is expected to almost double. These numbers indicate a long-term commitment to mobile marketing in these industries, according to the eMarketer report authors.

Mobile represents a huge opportunity for the financial services industry. American consumers have been quick to adopt digital and even mobile banking as their preferred method of conducting financial transactions. Recent research found the percentage of Americans using mobile banking services increased from 20% in 2010 to 30% in 2012.

With years of experience ahead of other industries, the financial services industry should be looking to fine tune and improve its digital and mobile marketing campaigns through the integration of consumer marketing preferences.

Too many industries – even the financial services industry – are too focused on consumer data, especially demographic data, and crunching the numbers to decide who to target with what message and when.

While that can certainly be effective, ultimately all that data is based on assumptions about consumer behavior.

Truly targeted marketing that delivers the right message to the right consumer at the right time adheres to that consumer’s stated marketing preferences. Delivering the marketing messaging a consumer is interested in via the channel they pay the most attention to at the time they are ready to receive it is targeting consumers on an individual level and that is proven to increase sales.

This is particularly true when marketing to mobile devices, which are seen both by consumers and regulators as a more intimate channel than landline telephone calls or direct mail.

Fortunately, many consumers are accustomed to and interested in interacting with financial brands online and through their mobile device. Advances in internet and mobile networks, as well as new technologies and applications for mobile e-commerce, will further consumer interest.

Businesses in any industry can and will benefit from greater investment in digital and mobile marketing. Those that rely on intelligent campaign reporting and consumer marketing preferences to reach the right prospect at the right time with the right message, however, will be far ahead of the pack.

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