The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is the federal agency that promotes education about personal financial products and services. Created in 2001, it also helps protect consumers’ rights by ensuring that financial institutions follow the consumer protection measures set out in federal laws and regulations.
One of the missions of the FCAC is to help increase public awareness about the mortgage options available to first-time home buyers. But like many companies and government organizations, the FCAC lacked a customer database to better understand—and serve—its target audience. “We had no idea who these people are, where they lived and what type of media they liked,” says André-Marc Allain, director of marketing and communications at the FCAC. “We were starting from scratch.”
Using PRIZMC2, WealthScapes and syndicated survey data, the FCAC created a detailed customer profile of prospective homeowners: where they lived, how they lived, which media they consumed and what they did on the Internet. The information allowed the FCAC to create new marketing materials—and tap new media channels—to better connect with its customers. The agency launched an integrated marketing campaign targeted to two groups—First-Time Home Buyers and Renewing Young Families—that included print advertising, informational brochures, public relations and social media. The FCAC published tip sheets on buying a first home and renegotiating a mortgage and created online tools such as a mortgage calculator and preliminary mortgage qualifier.
In the fall of 2010, the FCAC launched its marketing campaign. Through advertising in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver markets, the FCAC reached 89 percent of First-Time Home Buyers and 39 percent of Renewing Young Families. Since both target groups contain many public transit commuters, the outreach effort included posters in buses and subways that described the assistance offered by the FCAC: “It’s like interviewing your mortgage before giving it the job.” And with the Internet popular among both target groups, the FCAC placed ads on websites that offer local news, financial information and social trends, including those for Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Mochasofa and MSN Network. To extend its marketing reach, the FCAC also staged exhibits at targeted home shows and created “partner kits” with mortgage information for trade organizations such as CREA, CAAMP and Realtors to share with consumers. Although the results have yet to be tabulated, the FCAC reports positive feedback about the campaign. It may have begun its marketing effort without information on its customers and prospects, but thanks to EA’s marketing analytics the FCAC was able to turn a blank consumer portrait into a national marketing campaign.