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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Interactive marketing expenditures for financial service products are expected to double by 2012, according to a new report from Forrester Research.These efforts, however, must feature tangible return on investment along with the other measurements applied to more traditional sales efforts, the report’s author said.“Marketers tell us that in uncertain economic conditions they plan to spend more, not less, on interactive marketing because of its measurability and cost effectiveness,” said Forrester’s Shar VanBoskirk.In fact, 72% of 333 marketers surveyed said they would keep interactive spend on budget or increase it during a recession.With marketing expected to encompass nearly 10% of overall financial services spending, its no wonder accountability is a must-have dance partner. Forrester estimates the marketing bill for the entire financial services industry at $5.9 billion in four years, growing 42% (CAGR) annually.These numbers-despite their enormity-do not translate to conscience-free spending. VanBoskirk expects these expenditures to possess unprecedented checks on effectiveness to ensure proper allocation. The ideal method, she said, lies in Web-based techniques.“To realize successful interactive growth at their own firms, financial services interactive marketers should apply analytics and treat interactive as part of lead generation,” VanBoskirk said.To accomplish these goals, interactive marketing will feature-among others things-search engine optimization, expanded keyword buys and more robust e-mail databases and relevancy.“Chase [Bank],” found VanBoskirk, “actually worked with Avenue A Razorfish to create a smarter search program that drives direct response and boosts brand affinity.”Combined with the above, the Chase solution is a prime example of using Web 2.0 tools to enhance both financial service marketing and user experiences, the Forrester report said. VanBoskirk believes this marriage will bear fruit in the form of enhanced brand and service stickiness for this sector.First steps should feature data points to inspire more targeted future messages. For instance, VanBoskirk suggests integrating interactivity with lead generation, likewise applying existing analytics to improve the quality of future data outputs.The Forrester analyst also said that the financial services industry is “at last awakening” to the influence that the Web has on how financial service products are chosen and made.“To improve site usability, facilitate product research and attract younger investors, financial marketers will experiment with emerging media like on-site video, peer reviews and expert blogs as well as off-site media and social network campaigns,” VanBoskirk said.“As one credit union we interviewed explains, ‘We can’t keep using old media to attract new customers. We will move toward mobile banking and optimizing our site to stay relevant to Web 2.0-era consumers.’”–[email protected]

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