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By John Fleming

Businesses in every industry are becoming digital operations and banking is no exception. The amount of data held by the average bank is enormous, from the average salary of a public sector worker right through to specific information such as how much women aged 25 are spending on holidays in May, theoretically banks have a wealth of insight into their customers.

The unique opportunity for financial marketing

The information available at their fingertips, coupled with the trust and loyalty customers have to them, gives banks the opportunity to revolutionise their customer marketing efforts.Research from Webtrends found that more than a quarter of consumers would open emails sent by banks and financial institutions (27% stated they open emails from these organisations). The way customers interact with financial brands is changing to span both offline and online channels, which offer very different engagement experiences. Customers connect with their banks at their branch, but may also be having additional experiences with the brand on social media, smartphone apps and the company’s website. With so many touch-points available to customers, it can be difficult to track their data and turn it into genuine customer insights.

To use customer data to the greatest effect, financial marketers have to understand how it plays to their needs. The staggering amount of data available, coupled with the time and resources it takes analyse and act on it, can make data-driven marketing seem a daunting task at first. But this need not be the case.

How banks can make their data work for them

Rather than simply measuring activity on a bank’s website, marketing departments are now looking to find a holistic view of customer acquisition, engagement and retention across all digital channels to provide invaluable insight into campaign planning.

The data that is generated by customers simply using their banks provides insight on both a macro and micro level. Big data can identify trends to inform campaigns, e.g. professionals aged 25-35 in the UK are often in the market for a first-time buyer mortgage. By drilling down into an individual’s habits, it’s now also possible to tailor effective marketing to customers on a personal level.

John Fleming
John Fleming

Flags such as age, gender and income level, can be set up to alert a financial marketer that a customer is likely to be going through a certain ‘life event’, so they can be targeted with products that may resonate with them at that stage of their life. To increase the effectiveness of the marketing, banks can look at the person on an individual level and deliver a highly targeted experience – increasing the likelihood of conversion rates through timely and relevant offerings.

This also saves costs. Instead of mass-mailing credit offers to customers who may not be looking for a credit card, marketers can instead target relevant offers to customers. The less targeted and less relevant your marketing is, the more your promotions are going to be ignored; it’s simply not a good use of marketing spend.  Adapting your focus to lifestyle marketing – major life events such as customers buying a house or setting up accounts for their college-age children – is the most powerful way to market to customers.

These real-time triggers can be used to further encourage sales. When a customer starts to look at personal loan information,marketers can respond immediately with relevant information and offers.  Leading banks are using insights into what customers are doing at the exact moment of engagement – such as which offer or link they just clicked on, along with knowledge of what they’ve done in the past – such as their historical usage data and/or offline actions stored on a CRM solution, to deliver tailored cross-sell or up-sell offers while the customer is still on the site.

Going the extra mile to keep customers

Customer relationships are at the heart of banking, but in this digital age, that no longer means only face-to-face interactions. Fundamentals such as deposits, loan origination and wealth management all have moved online, changing the customer relationship dynamic.

Digital channels can support and nurture these relationships. Banks should regularly test their online content to find what’s most compelling and what drives the highest conversion with whom. It’s essential to put the customer database to use and target relevant content to the correct customer segments. Every customer interaction with their bank either build reputation or chip away at it. To succeed, banks need to deliver a consistent, valuable experience, no matter how customers ask for it, across all marketing efforts, all channels and throughout the customer life cycle.

For example, did a customer researching student loans start browsing interest rates via their mobile phone on the bus before researching their options in more detail on a computer at home? Did they start the process online and finish at the branch? The best way to personalise marketing to this customer is to get data from all digital properties and interactions to fully understand their intentions and experiences, which can be used to inform and guide an integrated marketing strategy.

Solutions should combine technology and expertise to reveal what customers want, and deliver personally valuable content across any digital channel, at any point in their journey. Fortunately, these tools now exist and are becoming more robust. For instance, by marrying historically separate online and offline data, bank marketers are able to join web data and sales to fully understand customer behaviors.  It’s now possible, with true detailed segmentation, to answer questions such as which marketing campaigns attract customers with higher average savings balances. The ability to see every click at the customer level allows banks to know whether customers start an application process from links on the homepage or a particular product page, as well as know response rates to marketing content, again at an individual customer level.

Once you establish your brand as one that provides a personalized experience during every interaction, be it in a branch, or online in any combination of smartphone, tablet and computer, you’ll generate more customer loyalty – and more conversions.

About John

John Fleming runs EMEA and APAC marketing for Webtrends and is a seasoned multi-faceted marketing director. He is responsible for devising marketing strategies for the region, delivering marketing campaigns to generate revenue as well helping to develop the Webtrends vision.

With over 15 years as a senior marketer, John is also a technologist with a keen interest in understanding how new technologies can be used within marketing. With a proven track record of growing marketing, John understands that marketers need to be key leaders in a business. “Marketing has earned its seat on the board. Marketing is now a much more strategic role, which spans all areas of the business and helps drive overall business success.”

John has worked within large organizations such as Sun Microsystems, Motorola and 3M, is an active member of the CMO council, has written many white papers on the role of marketing and technology, and has spoken at numerous high profile events.

Read more: http://insights.wired.com/profile/JohnFleming#ixzz3W42rHCu3
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About Webtrends

For more than 20 years, Webtrends has helped companies make sense of their customer data to drive digital marketing success. By combining innovative technology with our team of trusted and creative advisors, our solutions are designed to provide actionable insights, increase customer engagement and boost revenue.

We partner with companies at all levels of digital maturity and offer solutions in measurement and optimization. We work closely with approximately 2,000 global brands including Microsoft, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Kimberly-Clark, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, npower, BMW, Toyota, The Telegraph, Lastminute.com and many more.