What PFM Providers Need To Provide

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Apologies for the sports analogy which I know so many of you hate.

But there it was — the easy layup, the slow ball just waiting for me to knock out of the park….and I blew it. Whiffed. Failed to sink the basket. On the CU Chat Up the other day, @clagett set me up, and I failed to deliver.

He asked:

What do PFM (personal financial management) providers need to provide?”

My response was that PFM providers had to help FIs understand: 1) the ROI of PFM investments, and/or 2) the role of PFM as a component of a customer relationship infrastructure.

Maybe that wasn’t a terrible answer, but it wasn’t the best answer.

The better answer: PFM providers need to help FIs understand how to use the data. How to get the data out, how to store it, how to deploy it, and when to deploy it.

The challenge isn’t simply a technology challenge, it’s a business challenge. Many marketers are used to determining what offers to make based on demographic and purchase data, so they don’t know: 1) how to incorporate behavioral data, and/or 2) how to provide advice or guidance messages (and not just offers).

Unica recently released the results of a study of marketers that found that 75% of respondents say they use — or plan to use — online behavioral data when making decisions about marketing offers (15% of respondents were banks). I would have been interested in seeing what percent are currently using online behavioral data. I would bet the percentage is a lot lower, and “planning” to use it is not something I’d take to the bank (pun intended).

The PFM market is in its really early stages. Way too early to call winners and losers. But the ability to use the data will become a competitive factor.

Anyway, had to set the record straight here. My answer’s been bugging me.

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