By Mike Fantis, VP and Managing Partner at DAC Group
A recent report from McKinsey revealed three out of four consumers are more likely to consider buying from a brand that has personalised the digital experience. The knock-on effect on financials is perhaps unsurprising ,with companies adept at personalisation generating 40 percent more revenue on average than their counterparts.
Pesonalisation has a simple formula that will no doubt sound very familiar to marketers – success comes with reaching the right individual at the right moment with tailored offerings and experiences. It’s an approach that has proven a powerful differentiator in the financial sector too. Personalisation drives around 25 percent of revenue for digital native brands and has been the bread and butter for online banks such as Monzo and Starling. Yet, this doesn’t seem to have registered for traditional high street brands, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage.
What’s the reason for such inertia comparative to digital-first competitors? It is simply down to complacency – high street banks overthink personalisation. They fear related strategies are too complex to implement, particularly in a physical environment. But this needn’t be the case, success can be just three steps away:
- Use intent data to identify high value audience segments
At the most basic level, high street banks should be able to segment customers by looking at the products and services previously purchased. They can then focus comms efforts for particular offerings on those prospects customers will most likely warm to.
Using data doesn’t have to be rocket science either. For instance it makes sense to look at the behaviours of customers who have recently opened a business bank account to build a picture of those who might be interested in securing a business loan. Alternatively, aligning customer age data with information on those regularly making deposits into a savings account can identify who is most likely in the market for a mortgage.
The more data banks can factor in, the more accurate personalisation strategies will be. Taking our mortgage example a step further, cross referencing against joint accounts could narrow the audience still further.
- Pay attention to customer reviews
Generating customer insights and gauging sentiment doesn’t always mean commissioning expensive and time-consuming research. A much simpler (and free) option is to analyse customer reviews left by those within their target audience for particular products and services.
This can reveal those customer’s pain points and, to some extent, their motivations. These insights are useful in helping to build better engagement strategies and even uncover growth opportunities, whether that’s improving the bricks and mortar experience, or refining the after sales process.
Moreover, high street banks have a key advantage over their digital counterparts with the expertise they have in-branch. It would be good practice to seek out ways to capitalise on this as a differentiator. For example, a poor review can become an opportunity if the response is handled sensitively, or if there’s an offer to resolve it through a face-to-face consultation, should the situation demand it.
- Develop content customers will actually value
Targeted content has become a cornerstone of inbound marketing and customer retention in recent years as a means to engage potential and existing customers. While many digital-first banking providers have used content marketing as a key part of their strategy from the outset, there is plenty of scope for high street banks to make the content they create more personalised too.
Developing a better understanding of the specific information customers need by using data makes it far easier for incumbents to engage their audiences through tailored comms. Whether that’s advice on budgeting or a step-by-step guide to applying for a mortgage application further down the line. In all cases, useful and relevant content is more likely to keep defined audiences opted in and thus drive sales.
As per the reviews example, high street banks could use this content to direct customers to set up face-to-face meetings at their local branch. This has the advantage of resolving a complex problem more efficiently with fewer touchpoints than leaving the customer to navigate an online trouble-shooting guide.
Alternatively, if our first time buyers are exhibiting intent signals that they’re ready to take the plunge then every effort should be made to bring them in for a mortgage consultation before they head to a competitor.
At present very few of the longer established banks are making use of the data that is readily available to them in these ways. It’s a missed opportunity given personalisation drives business growth, and also improves customer retention. Moreover, using data doesn’t have to be an expensive or hugely involved process. Put frankly, it’s a simple puzzle that all banks have the means to solve now. And they really should because doing so benefits all stakeholders.