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Getting (and Keeping it) Personal at Financial Institutions

By Blog, Consumer Experience, Personalization

Personal ServiceIn 2002, the futuristic thriller Minority Report predicted the world where with a subtle retina scan would allow retailers to offer their customers personalized discounts based on their purchase history. Today, this way of marketing is possible. The subtle retina scan of the film has been replaced by online activity. And with a little effort and our member service tips your financial institution can transform science fiction into marketing fact–and consumer satisfaction.

The future is now.

E-commerce personalization is working its way to a world where every email, every branch visit, every mobile offer and even every website visited will be personalized to your patron. It’s not only what many have experienced. It’s beginning to become what many expect.

Each day innovative brands are leading the way, ushering in a new age of customer experience. In this era, messages are more relevant. Offers are more accurate. And every customer interaction is customized.

Why wouldn’t financial institutions lead the way?

For decades, financial institutions have built their brands on the ability to know their customers better than their competitors. We pride ourselves in knowing each patron by name the moment they walk through the branch door.

In this new age, we can continue to see our patrons as more than a number. We can personalize their communications. We can give them a voice. Once we see technology as a way to be more involved in our patrons’ lives we can help shape the future of the digital customer experience. Our touch points can be more accurate, personalized and relevant.

The key to personalization? Listening.

By tracking real-time behavior, consumer data, interests, and preferences, we can better deliver personalized communications. This kind of information can be harnessed by tracking a broad collection of channels and utilizing sophisticated data analytic software and services. The technology that accomplishes these tasks is not just available; it has permeated our business.

And then, there is a new school of thought rooted in an old school philosophy. Marketers are simply asking their audience what they want. By talking to their customers and taking an interest in their needs, they discover new and different ways to craft a better customer experience.

Through technology or person-to-person conversations, marketers are taking personalization to a new level in a practice called predictive intelligence. This new practice involves forecasting a customer’s needs and delivering customized communications accordingly.

Where we are on the personalization curve.

This new form of marketing can come with a completely new set of challenges. The big data and real-time analytics needed to create potent personalized communications come with equally pervasive privacy concerns. Currently most marketers are justifying their deep dive into this trend by wanting to deliver the best customer experience possible.

A recent Forrester study interviewed more than 100 marketing executives to assess the significance of marketing personalization. While the technology isn’t new, the prevailing interest is. More than 70% of the executives interviewed felt that personalization was of great strategic importance. And while the importance of this trend is recognized, very few marketers are taking the lead. The study revealed that only 17% of CMOs are going beyond basic transaction data to create personalized marketing. The fact that 80% hope to do a better job utilizing this technology only proves that few companies are harnessing the true power of personalization.

Who’s doing it right and how?

Successful personalization marketers are beginning with stated customer preferences and purchase histories. More advanced practitioners are studying social sentiment, contextual behaviors, and location information to create a complete data personalization picture. They often partner with experienced big data providers, analytic consultancies, and data developers to collect and understand their customer’s needs.

To sum all of this up, the potential to build your institution’s brand utilizing marketing personalization is impressive. Loyalty can easily be built with messaging that is customized to fit the consumer. In the not-too-distant future, this way of creating and absorbing marketing messages will no longer be the exception but the rule. Consumers may soon expect and even demand their brands to hone their messaging to fit their needs. The fact that we aren’t listening and responding may be seen as a brand that just doesn’t care.