All financial services companies today are capturing astronomical volumes of customer data. In a market this competitive, the real differentiators for financial marketers are having quality data and insights that inform a strong strategy, and the right tools.
Companies that are more analytically driven realise financial growth three times higher than their less analytical competitors, according to McKinsey’s Analytics Quotient.
Data analysis can help you understand your customers’ unique needs, pain points and motivations and predict future behaviours. From there, you can offer personalised, targeted experiences and connect with customers in more meaningful ways (including addressing their personal finance management needs through content).
Well-managed data can help determine customers’ lifetime value (LTV), analysing who your most valuable customers are so you can create better experiences for them. It’s also invaluable for measuring attribution across all of the touchpoints in the purchase journey, across devices, for products like mortgages, insurance and wealth management products. Data can support your marketing automation activities and ultimately, improve marketing ROI.
Doing the groundwork
Your data-centric marketing strategy should always be designed around your specific business goals, whether that’s website traffic, awareness or lead generation.
Ask what problem/s your data strategy will solve? What do you need it to reveal, how will it be used?
A decision then needs to be made on types of data worth capturing to meet your business goals and needs. It’s easy to get paralysed by too much of it. (It’s called BIG data for a reason.)
Your data wishlist might include:
- Target market (age, gender, income, location etc.)
- Marketing and social media analytics (click-throughs, impressions, conversions etc.)
- Customer data (persona, spending patterns, offers they’ve declined, online activity, social network activity, service preferences)
- Prospect data
- Qualitative data
The key is then understanding that data, and knowing how to organise, analyse and apply it to develop your market-leading strategy.
“ The key is then understanding that data, and knowing how to organise, analyse and apply it to develop your market-leading strategy.”
Even before you get to the analysis stage though, there are some common hurdles organisations face, including the inability to collect and analyse data in real time across channels.
Financial companies still struggling with customer data
In a dream scenario, your institution would be able to give you a holistic view of all your data sources. That’s how you gain insights into the full purchase journey and your customer’s long-term relationship with the bank. When you have this data in real-time, you can personalise experiences at each point in their journey.
The reality is that for many finance brands, customer engagement strategies are developed in an ad hoc way by different, siloed teams. The Drowning in data, but starving for insights report from Deloitte suggests that data sources often become so dispersed, duplicative, and siloed that “companies don’t know what data they already have, where it lives, what may be useful, or how to turn it into meaningful insights that they can act upon.”
It’s not your job to solve enterprise-wide big-data dysfunction but be aware that until that problem is addressed, you may not have the data nirvana you seek.
The right customer data tools
Another common problem, even when there is data available, is a lack of technology.
A business may have invested in multiple solutions or platforms, but marketing staff still don’t have the tools they need for full visibility of their data. That’s because it’s hard to identify one tool that will solve all of your analytics needs.
Some tools will analyse social media or content marketing, or marketing automation and management. Some business intelligence tools do allow you to connect to all your data sources and integrate across disparate systems to create a single view of your business. However, the budget for such a solution might require major internal support, a killer business case and an appetite for organisational change.
Acting on data insights
When you have the insights and you know more about your audience, it’s all about turning those analytics into business outcomes and realising their full value. You can tailor your content strategy to attract and engage your audience segments. You can start addressing any pain points in your processes identified in the data. You can upsell and cross-sell.
Being able to monitor your campaigns’ progress allows you to see whether you’re reaching your goals and gives learnings to inform future campaigns. It also allows you to experiment with different kinds of content and marketing. You can try targeting new audiences, based on new niches identified in the data. You can try new channels if you’re not reaching some of your ideal customers.
One last note: respect
To get the full benefit out of a data-driven marketing strategy you need a data governance program that puts equal emphasis on risk and security. The World Economic Forum’s The Appropriate Use of Customer Data in Financial Services report notes, “Customers need to trust that data about them will be used appropriately, and that they will share in the value created.” Businesses can suffer loss of customer trust and financial losses from data misuse and significant reputational consequences if their data goldmine is not treated with respect.
A detailed understanding of your customer is the start of any effective finance content marketing strategy. We can help you mine your customer data and turn those insights into content that delivers on both customer and business’ needs.