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How SMB Lenders Can Use AI-Powered Marketing to Compete with Big Banks

4 min
How To Fix Revenue Leaks & Maximize ROI

You won’t see regional banks or credit unions running commercials during the Super Bowl, and you won’t see their ads on the glossy pages of most magazines. For small and medium-sized business lending firms, that kind of advertising budget simply isn’t there.

But SMB lenders still have an audience they want to reach, and the need to increase profitability. Common — and valid — questions and concerns surrounding these goals include:

  • How can we compete against large banks and fintechs with established well-known brands and the budget to pour into marketing?
  • We have a niche customer base. What can we do to identify as much of it as possible?
  • With a lean marketing team and limited resources, how can we run ad campaigns efficiently and effectively to our target audience?
  • Creating a consistent brand experience is important, but it’s difficult to do. What can we do to overcome the challenges?

SMB lenders should consider looking for data-backed solutions — especially those powered by AI — in order to target revenue opportunities and achieve their goals.

Diving into Intent Data

Every time someone uses the internet to search for a keyword, visit a website, use social media, download a whitepaper, or do literally anything online, this activity creates a data trail. Each data point serves as a virtual footprint, and a trail of virtual footprints can be used to track and predict buyer behavior.

This information is called intent data, because it can be interpreted to provide companies with valuable insights like:

  • Who may be interested in their services
  • How likely they are to become a customer
  • When they’re most likely to make that decision

Intent data comes from several sources:

  • First-party intent data, or data that comes from customers and prospects engaging with your digital properties. This is data that you have direct access to.
  • Third-party data comes from activity that takes place all over the rest of the internet, and makes up the majority of intent signals. To get access to third-party party data, you need an intent data vendor.

Just having that data isn’t enough, however. Intent signals are anonymized, meaning they can’t be traced to an individual. But with the power of AI, you can remove the guesswork and confidently target the right opportunities at the right time.

6sense is an AI-driven revenue platform capable of matching online activity at the account level, giving you insight into a company’s behavior online. SMB lenders can use this invaluable information to figure out who their ideal customers are, and then strategically market to them according to where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Finding Your Ideal Customers

Compared to big banks and fintechs, the customer base for credit unions and regional banks is much smaller. That means uncovering exactly who makes up your potential customer base is more challenging. But with AI, it’s not only possible, it’s also incredibly easy.

The data and AI-driven analytics that 6sense uses to identify and predict buyer intent can also be used to identify your in-market ideal customer profile. These are potential customers that are:

  • Most likely to need your services
  • Most likely to be profitable for you
  • Most likely to be satisfied with your services
  • Ready to do business now

6sense does this by comparing the traits of potential customers that make up your total addressable market to those of your current customers and finding commonalities, such as:

  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Geographic location
  • Number of employees
  • Revenue

What about the “in-market” part? That’s another insight SMB lenders can get with data and AI. 6sense runs intent signals through predictive models to determine where in the decision-making process an account currently stands. Accounts that fit your ideal customer profile and are ready for your services now are most open to marketing and sales outreach, and are likely to successfully close quickly.

Once SMB lenders know which accounts to prioritize, the next step is to market to them.

Advertising Wisely

So, how can SMB lenders maximize the reach of their advertising and make sure it gets seen by their niche audience — while also maximizing advertising ROI?

The answer: 6sense. Once you’ve identified companies within your In-Market Ideal Customer Profile (IICP), our platform can help you target them with digital ads.

Our digital ad solutions were built with B2B in mind, and can help SMB lenders reach their customer base with:

  • Precision targeting: Advertise only to the accounts and personas that matter to you, and use dynamic and predictive segments to prioritize advertising to the accounts most likely to engage and purchase
  • Cost-efficiency and scalability: Access to inventory across thousands of publishers and integration with LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms makes it scalable and cost-effective to run ad campaigns without markups
  • Complete control: Set your own bid prices for every campaign to maximize coverage of small high-value audiences, and control when and where your ads run with site, device, and frequency, and time-of-day targeting options
  • Reporting and insights: Measure your ad campaign’s impact on engagement, pipeline, and revenue with transparent reporting into where your ads are seen and by which accounts

And, for anyone who has had to deal with the complexity of digital advertising, one of the best features is ease of use. It’s simple to plug in your target personas, identify your audience, pick your marketing channels, launch ads — and get a clearer picture of ROI.

Consistent Brand Experiences

There’s even more AI can do to help SMB lenders with their marketing efforts, including orchestrating cohesive experiences across every channel to create engagement and ensure brand consistency. Access to cutting-edge technology to create a highly personalized, multi-channel experience isn’t limited just to major banks and fintechs with huge budgets or teams anymore.

6sense’s digital marketing capabilities can help SMB lenders execute personalized marketing campaigns and experiences at scale across all channels that drive your strategy, including…

  • LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Ads and other marketing platforms
  • Personalized websites
  • Tailored content hubs
  • Chatbots that recognize customers and deliver different experiences to different accounts
  • Personalized and precisely timed email campaigns
  • Social outreach

…and more, so you can offer a consistent, engaging brand experience that delivers the right message at the right time, to the right audience.


It’s a competitive market for SMB lenders. To compete with the industry giants, regional banks, credit unions, and other lenders need the power of big data and AI on their side.

And with 6sense, it’s easy to tap into the power of big data, AI, and machine learning. Our engineers handle the technical complexity while complying with privacy regulations and data security laws.

That frees you to unleash your creativity, build relationships and win customers by leveraging a platform that helps you uncover your customer base, identify accounts ready to do business, reach them with digital ads, and offer a consistent, engaging experience that boosts brand image and awareness.

Learn more about 6sense’s AI-powered marketing capabilities.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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