March 15, 2023

Activity-Based and ESG-Based Marketing: 2 Strategies for a Perfect Union

Activity-Based and ESG-Based Marketing: 2 Strategies for a Perfect Union

Why it is smart to start investing in the stock market?

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Should I be a trader to invest in the stock market?

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What app should I use to invest in the stock market?

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Is it risky to invest in the stock market? If so, how much?

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Tell us if you are already investing in the stock market

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Non-traditional marketing methods are the new loyalty-drivers and differentiators.

The marketer’s to-do list is growing: brand development and communications are no longer enough. Consumers today are barraged with choice for every product and service; their new challenge is not finding options, but finding the right option - the companies that deserve their loyalty. And predicting the right marketing cues to earn loyalty is becoming increasingly challenging for companies: 70% of consumers are embracing new paradoxical decision-making habits and 66% feel that companies are not keeping up.

As consumer choice has evolved, so have the methods used by marketers to drive growth. Among those at the forefront are two key marketing methods: activity-based and ESG-based. What many companies have yet to discover is that the two are stronger together.

Activity-based marketing: transforming the consumer experience

The decision to purchase can take place anywhere along the customer journey. Activity-based marketing meets consumers halfway, whether they are researching, shopping or deliberating a purchase . Ads are delivered in real time, at moments where they will be most impactful. The “secret sauce” of activity-based marketing lies in its ability to change consumers’ behavior and their point of interaction with financial institutions. Through activity-based marketing, financial institutions can target their marketing to reach customers as they first identify the need or want for a product or service. 

JP Morgan Chase was one of the first financial institutions to make waves by strategically disrupting the travel industry with its activity-based marketing. From launching a full-service travel business equipped with its own fleet of travel agents to building branded airport lounges, Chase has found a way to be present throughout cardholders’ travel experience from research to booking to the travel itself. At every touchpoint, consumers are reminded of why their Chase products and services should be top-of-wallet. 

ESG-based marketing: the differentiator of the 21st century

One thing is for certain when it comes to consumer choice: consumers are increasingly likely to choose the companies that put ESG - environmental, social and governance policies - at the core of their work. In fact, 90% of consumers say they are more likely to be loyal to brands that share values that are similar to their own, while 76% report that that they would discontinue relationships with organizations that treated employees, communities or the environment poorly. And they are acting on these commitments: in a survey of 55,800 European consumers, Bain found a strong correlation between consumers’ positive perception of their bank’s ESG stance and their propensity for its products. In this landscape, it should come as no surprise that companies will benefit from incorporating ESG not only into their business practices but into their marketing plan, as well.

ESG-based marketing can mean anything from incorporating greater diversity in ads to candidly storytelling on how your company is meeting its ESG goals and actively giving back. Walking the delicate line between authentic and performative customer perception is one of the great challenges of marketing in the 21st century. 

Stronger together: 2 strategies for marrying activity-based and ESG-based marketing

Consumers are increasingly putting their money where their conscience is, which means that their customer loyalty is contingent on companies doing the same. ESG-based marketing strategies are proven to be successful, with purpose-driven companies experiencing higher market share gains and growing three times faster on average than their competitors, while also increasing workforce and customer satisfaction. Chase may have captured consumers’ travel journey with its activity-based marketing, but cause-based spend and activity remains a largely untapped space where consumers can be engaged as they decide where to donate, with which payment method, and how frequently to do so. Here are two strategies to help financial institutions successfully execute this intersection of activity-based and ESG-based marketing.

  1. Meet your consumers in their communities. Listen to consumers through surveys and social media to identify where in the community and around what causes they would like to see businesses play a more active role. With this feedback, host your own community service events, partner with local nonprofits to sponsor theirs or organize a fundraiser, potentially even backed by your own donation-matching or platform. These “feel good moments” are known drivers of brand strength, but they also make your products top-of-mind and top-of-wallet at key moments when consumers are inspired to donate.
  1. Build an experience around purpose-based payments. Financial institutions have the power to build giving into an experience that consumers are excited about - and become an inextricable part of consumers’ giving journey, in the process. With a platform like Harness FI, you can gamify giving with sweepstakes and prizes that reward rounding up for charities, incent recurring donations and greater spend with additional rewards, and take advantage of customized marketing tools to maximize conversion of supporters into donors. Your brand will be top-of-mind throughout the giving process from research to payment to loyalty.                                                                      

Combining activity-based and ESG-based marketing to be a part of consumers’ philanthropic journeys can have benefits beyond making your card the go-to for giving. These strategies are not only likely to increase donation spend on your cards, but also to foster long-term loyalty across spend categories because consumers increasingly want to support brands that display corporate citizenship in their programs and practices. These practices can also help financial institutions meet their ESG goals while simultaneously improving their bottom line. 

Philanthropy is the differentiator of the future.

77.9 million consumers is a sizable target market - that’s the number of Americans who are estimated to donate their time each year. Philanthropic individuals also donated $326.87 billion in 2021, making up 67% of all giving - more than corporate and foundation giving combined. Giving has become a part of many consumers’ identity and it is here to stay. Donations are one of the fastest-growing drivers of spend, especially among Millennials - the majority of whom consider themselves to be philanthropists, but are most likely to give when they feel inspired by an organization or cause. 

An activity- and ESG-based marketing strategy can help you connect to your cardholders at their key sentimental milestones where your competitors are absent thus far.

Are you ready for a new marketing tool to transform your cardholder acquisition and retention? Harness FI can help. Learn more and book a demo now.
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