Guest Editorial: Guide to direct marketing for brokers

According to Bart Burggraaf, Managing Partner of MediaGroup London, most financial marketers look at the direct response (if at all) in order to gauge performance. Metrics like click through rate, inbound telephone calls and even leads generated are tracked back to their source and tallied in cost-per-action type figures. In this week’s LeapRate Guest Editorial, Mr. Burggraaf investigates how he considers that this can be misleading.

For instance, when a broker does a big banner campaign they may look at the amount of leads per banner placement and divide the cost of the placement by that number in order to arrive at a Cost per Lead.

This is good because it shows how effective your marketing mix is at generating attention and allows you to do more of (what is an educated guess at) what works. An educated guess is better than nothing. But what it doesn’t show is that certain channels, messages and creatives generate leads and client types that are heavily skewed in one way or another.

For example, a PPC search ad for the keyword ‘Free Charts’ might generate lots of leads because these people are interested in the free charts on your platform, but nothing might ever happen in the way of opening funded accounts. On the other hand; these leads might be cheap and right in your target audience, and a shrewd marketing campaign might convert enough to make it a profitable enterprise. But how do you know?

This is where ‘integration’ comes in. The basic principle is that you need to be able to record all client behaviour, from the first impression till the very last trade the client does – in order to know what works & do more of it. The systems involved are various, from Analytics software, a phone tracking service, the CRM system to a demand generation system and banner serving systems – they all need to ‘talk’ to each other to have a granular ROI figure.

When these systems all talk, you’ll be able to learn from past behaviour of clients, and adapt your strategy to market to prospective ones in real time. Some of the stages you need to look at and gather information on are shown in the below diagram; getting this right is very important to drive further Direct Marketing efforts in our industry and it doesn’t only revolve around new clients, optimizing revenue and lifetime value from leads and clients means looking at all touch points and communicating effectively.

We can practice service differentiation by seeing which clients and which media channels and messages drive the majority of revenue, in addition to getting more of these types of clients accordingly. This is important because if you imagine a pyramid of your client base, it might very well look something like the below. As you can see, a very small portion of these clients drive the vast majority of income. How do we keep these high value clients and how do we get more of them? The key is in the data.


In financial marketing, remember what Ogilvy said: “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

So that’s the first key to being a Direct Marketer in today’s online marketing driven world; having the right information. But there is much more to be thought about. What to do with this information once you have it? How to structure your team and company in a way to have a process driven continuous improvement?


As we discussed a Direct Marketer’s process is to look at what works and do more of it while simultaneously doing less of what doesn’t work. This can be applied to the most granular details of your marketing program and along the entire client lifecycle. No matter if you have full information about your customer touch points or are just optimizing on clicks or leads, more can be gotten from your marketing program if you follow these simple steps:

• A/B test all of your marketing messages. By testing two or more variations of your messages, replacing the message that performed worst with a variation of the winning message, you will be able to continuously improve results.

• Start with the major opportunities and drill down your tests from there. So when it comes to an email that you want to improve, test two variations of the subject line and two variations of the main header image to see what works best. Then work your way down to the Call to Action and text in the email, and smaller items.

• Test by just varying the item you are testing for. Testing two completely different versions of a communication will not help you to see why a specific message works better then another. So for instance if you want to test whether a Service or Price proposition works best, vary just the elements you need to vary to be able to test that and leave the rest the same to be able to draw relevant conclusions.

• After you get the basics right with A/B testing, consider employing Multi-variate tests to get the most out of your program. There are many tools that will allow you to see which exact combination of elements works best together. Think ‘smiling photo with red button and Free Demo call to action’ gets a lift of 30% over ‘serious photo with green button and Free Demo call to action’ and other such conclusions that can be drawn using the right tools.

• Test all elements of your communication. Banners, websites, pages, emails, phone call scripts and all elements within them can and should be tested and optimized on an ongoing basis.

•  Look at the results of your advertising in the same way. See which channels and placements work to generate the type of clients you want to generate and do more of them. Cut waste by shutting off advertising (and specific placements) that aren’t generating the performance you need and do so on an ongoing basis.

In addition to working with a knowledgeable marketing agency, appointing a ‘Chief Testing and Analytics Officer’ might be needed to oversee all of these programs if you are going to do it properly, but even if you just take some of this discipline and get the help of a good agency it will help you improve results.

This is a Guest Editorial which was written by Bart Burggraaf, Managing Partner at MediaGroup London, a full-service financial marketing agency that is a part of the MediaGroup Worldwide, with substantial participation in the FX industry.

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