HOLLYWOOD, FL: TD Ameritrade, the investment and brokerage company, successfully enhanced its marketing analytics capabilities to reflect its changing business priorities.

Denise Karkos, CMO of TD Ameritrade, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Advertising Financial Management Conference.

“Five years ago, we were really good at acquiring business at a small cost per account, and that’s how we were rewarded in marketing ... We were all about volume and cost, and we were great at it,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s report:How TD Ameritrade builds accountability into marketing.)

“We didn’t have any other group responsible for acquirement of clients,” she explained, “so it was right to put that pressure on us, for the health of the firm, to have that growth.

“But as we matured as a company [and] diversified our business models, we’re not just about online trading, but also about investing. We’ve realised that we want to get the higher caliber, higher quality client.”

Achieving that goal required a shift in focus. “We learned quickly that to change objectives, we needed to be a little bit more nimble in our modeling and our analytics infrastructure – and we had to change in our mix,” Karkos said.

“So, we pivoted to quality and it changed everything ... I went to our board and said, ‘We’re good, but we can do better.’”

To gain a fresh perspective on the new quantity-to-quality challenge, TD Ameritrade hired the Boston Consulting Group to conduct a third-party assessment – a process yielding four criteria against which its marketing efforts would be evaluated.

“How is our return on marketing investment? And do we have the strategy to deliver?” Karkos said in explaining the first of these guardrails.

The second principle: “Are we good stewards of the brand? [Five years ago], we were ranked fourth in brand consideration … and that wasn’t good enough.”

Being “analytically grounded in everything we do” was the third key consideration, alongside securing true “closure” in tracking its marketing programs.

One conclusion was that “the next best dollar we would spend would be in analytics ... Facts are your armor as a marketer. The fact that we have that ability is very gratifying. Otherwise, you’re left to other people’s opinions,” Karkos said.

“Happily,” she added, “the team has really rallied behind this self-assessment and are really focused on driving the numbers. Today, we’ve improved in every single category, which has been no small feat.”

Sourced from WARC