Grow your online presence affordably and effectively

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By William Henry, Head of Content Marketing at Feathr

As the world’s leading financial services association for international transaction banking, BAFT (Association of Bankers for Finance and Commerce)an affiliate of the American Bankers Association (ABA), must address the unmet needs of its unique stakeholders.

To do this, the association provides a forum for analysis, advocacy and discussion among global financial institutions, industry providers and regulators on a range of transaction banking topics.

Three years ago, when Gregory Hawken Kramer joined the team as Senior Director of Data, Digital Strategy and Governance, BAFT was managing this heavy burden with little online presence other than a website. He knew right away that he had a great opportunity to increase omnichannel engagement.

After launching social media accounts on LinkedIn and YouTube, relaunches BAFT’s Twitter account with a new handleand tackling search engine optimization (SEO) on Google and Bing, Kramer set out to further enhance BAFT’s online visibility through third-party paid digital advertising campaigns.

“Trying to justify the upfront cost was a bit difficult, because it wasn’t something we had done before,” Kramer said.

After getting the go-ahead, Kramer focused on growing the association’s two revenue-generating pillars: events and education. “The ROI started to speak for itself, and now our paid campaigns are one of our main digital marketing tactics,” he said.

Data: at the heart of successful digital marketing campaigns

Kramer said data is critical to any digital campaign, including retargeting, which allows marketers to engage with visitors even after they leave a website, picking up traffic.

“The heart of digital marketing is data,” he said. “Everything is interconnected; you overlay all your digital channels to ensure you’re tracking the information you need to make informed decisions. For example, each time someone accesses our website from LinkedIn, it creates a cookie, which also enters our database. Same for Twitter.

Ultimately, these data elements help BAFT identify information about its online audience, including their locations, the banks they work at and how they found the association online, all important elements in efforts targeting.

“It took us maybe six to eight months to build audiences from the various channels we launched to the point where we had enough data to be successful.”

And it was a success: BAFT’s 2022 Global Annual Meeting campaign, which took place over two months, generated a return on investment of 30 times its initial investment.

“When we run a campaign of this nature, my first goal is to target people where the event is taking place to cover initial costs,” he said. “Once expenses are covered, I begin to refine and grow the campaign, adjusting impressions, reach, and bid strategies.”

Kramer also begins each campaign with a referral ad, which it evolves based on deadlines and the most pressing event information, such as last chance to register.

“We found that this strategy worked well with the Global Annual Meeting campaign because people saw the initial ad and then you saw them interact with different ads in different places based on their interests,” he said.

BAFT’s director of marketing and communications, Katherine Lee, who worked with Kramer on the campaign, said Kramer’s close relationship with the association’s customer data also helped bolster the overall success. “In addition to managing the campaign on a day-to-day basis, he knows our customers, prospects and the region,” Lee said. “This advantage helped him make strategic maneuvers.”

Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Tools

BAFT signed with Feather, a digital marketing platform, in October 2019. Today, BAFT has approximately 95,000 contacts in its campaign database, of which 60,000 are reachable globally. Since the beginning of BAFT’s fiscal year on September 1, 2021, the association has generated significant return on investment through campaigns for various events, including the Global Annual Meeting.

“The best part is that once you’ve built your master database, it’s really easy to run campaigns on your own,” Kramer said. “If you don’t have a large team, the platform really allows you to easily create, launch and modify campaigns.”

In addition to affordability and ease of use, Kramer said associations should consider customer service when choosing their own digital marketing platform.

“Having the support of a team to really demonstrate the capabilities of the platform, and then being able to link that information to senior executives who decide on spending, is really, really helpful,” he said.


The team at Feathr, a marketing platform that helps nonprofits deliver highly targeted ads based on interests and behaviors, thank you Gregory Hawken Kramer, Senior Director of Data, Digital Strategy and Governance at BAFT, for sharing his expertise and experience working with Feathr. For more information on how nonprofits can increase awareness, grow membership, promote events, and generate new revenue, visit feathr.co/solutions/associations.

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