Personalization is the key to digital marketing success. Sure, virtually every financial marketer knows this, yet most digital banking and credit unions struggle to deliver a truly personalized experience to customers and prospects.
In fact, most marketers across the board say they don’t trust their personalization efforts, according to Salesforce data shared in a webinar on how marketers view personalization.
This finding is relevant because personalization is a fundamental element of modern marketing practice and is now more important than ever.
“Everyone is unique, and everyone wants to be treated differently based on their interests,” says Lee Price, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce. “Historically, it was very easy to have a one-on-one conversation with a customer in a digital banking branch. But now there are so many digital channels and the experience is so different.
Price points out that there has been a different evolution in the way marketers approach marketing. First, there was a shift from brand-centric marketing to segment-based marketing. Marketers now need to be “virtual centric.” And everything should happen in real time.
He observes, “Every way a customer interacts with you, whether it’s in-store, withdrawing money from an ATM, contacting customer service, website and app, everything should be in real time. ” Price. “And you have to ‘listen’ to all those conversations. Listen to what someone is trying to do, and then give them the next best action.”
Marketers Still Struggle With Personalization
Price shared some key trends as to why this is important. A Salesforce survey of marketers across industries found that while 95% agreed that personalization is important to customers, only 37% said they have a strong personalization strategy. This number is up 15% from the last time Salesforce conducted this survey in 2020, so this is significant progress. Yet, there is a startling disconnect between the recognition and implementation of such a basic marketing concept.
Price says there are many things marketers can do to create a more personalized experience. These include orchestrating experience and communication, understanding how people flow between touchpoints throughout their purchase and retention lifecycle, and creating a consistent experience across channels.
Data Is Essential Technology, Not Complex
Leveraging and using data is the key to doing all of these things and more. In digital banking, there are frequent references to the vast amount of data held by institutions, although this is often found in disjointed sources. And so, in theory, marketers have all the data they need to provide customers with a truly personalized and unique experience.
In fact, however, a Salesforce survey found that only half (55%) of all marketers agree that they have access to enough data to effectively execute personalized marketing. On a positive note, Price noted that this was the first time in the survey’s history that the figure had exceeded 50%, which he described as a “tipping point”.
Some marketers may be concerned that using all this data may mean investing in new technology that requires large budgets and IT staff. But that’s not necessarily the case, says Joshua Reilly, Accenture technical architect and webinar panelist.
Relevant data is key to driving personalized marketing messages and understanding what customers are going to do next.
“Delivering personalized data-driven experiences doesn’t mean using new technologies or processes, but truly moving toward a new way of working.” Riley says. “And it all starts with data.”
Gathering all the necessary data is the first step, and Riley admits that this step can be very difficult. “We have all this data somewhere, but we have a hard time finding it,” he adds. “Perhaps it is behind third-party cookie walls or not associated with a unique identifier.”
After all the necessary data is collected, the next step is to derive insights from the data. Riley says there are no bad ideas. But internal resources are limited, so marketers should look at what the most important value drivers might be and go from there.
“Identify high-value ideas, and then move quickly to a selection and refinement process,” Riley advises.
To save time and money, roles and rules should be clearly defined. There should be an internal champion for the project and key stakeholders should be clearly defined. It’s also important to note that this isn’t a “set it and forget it” process, Riley says, but rather a process that needs to be constantly improved based on results.
“Even failed experiments provide good data,” he adds. “It’s about learning and adapting to rapidly changing consumer demands.”
Ultimately, digital banking marketers want to get to a point where they can quickly launch campaigns across all channels and then analyze who’s who, Riley said. Fans are responding to these campaigns.
“It then takes the individual information, then starts using artificial intelligence and machine learning to refine and test the models and learn different strategies. Then the toy starts to build an on-the-fly roadmap. “How and where that user is interacting,” he added. “Then trigger a campaign that’s based on user behavior.”
However, financial marketers don’t need to jump under the pool from the start, says Price. You can start small and build skills from there.
“If you’re looking at customization for the first time, it can be overwhelming,” admits Price. “Start simple: take your website or email campaign and personalize it.”
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