One of marketers’ favorite buzzwords these days is the “consumer journey.” With more ways for consumers to engage than ever before, people can now interact with brands on their own terms and at their convenience. In other words, they chart their own journey.
So how do financial institutions meet the consumer where they are?
The answer lies with data. When data is leveraged to its fullest, it reveals powerful insights, enabling marketing to evolve from campaign thinking to a true dialogue that allows brands to push out messaging that engages and encourages interaction.
Connecting Data to Create an Invaluable Strategic Asset
The explosion of new marketing tools and technologies make it significantly easier to move from “marketing to the anonymous” to “marketing to known consumer,” giving banking providers opportunities to connect what happens across channels and touchpoints. Programmatic media buying and the creation of marketing platforms such as Google and Facebook started this revolution, and within the next decade Merkle estimates that 90% of all marketing dollars spent will be at the the individual, addressable level. But marketers will need to increase both the sources of their data, and the granular level at which they can analyze it. To improve the value of your marketing efforts, it will become critically important to connect and enable data.
Achieving a connected consumer journey requires a level of data connectivity unimaginable just a few years ago, not only across your online and offline media and channels, but also with the addressable platforms (e.g., email) and the publishing universe (the media content people consume).
With such a complex ecosystem, creating a centralized data hub can move your organization from having multitudes of data to making it accessible and usable. To do this, you’ll need an inventory of your data workhorse tools. Then, create a roadmap to acquiring what you need and connecting what you’ve got. Sophisticated financial marketers not only have these tools in place, they have engineered ways to stitch them all together:
- Marketing Database – Repository designed to enable multi-channel marketing.
- Campaign Management Tool – Enables replicable processes and unified data.
- Data Management Platform and Demand Side Platform – Enable the combination of first- and third-party data for targeted media and syndication to reach digital media audiences.
- Digital Asset Management Platform – Enables use of dynamic content (messaging, imagery, etc.) to increase personalization efforts across channels.
- Inbound Interaction Tool – Real-time decisions for managing inbound interactions and personalization.
- Analytics Platform – Cross-channel media views of interaction for holistic attribution and measurement.
Enabling the Data
The ability to use person-level, first-party data, connected directly into platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, makes it easier to reach your consumer effectively while cutting down on wasted advertising dollars. Marketing automation and CRM solutions available today enable better, large-scale ways to connect audiences to multiple publishers in fewer steps and with broader strategic oversight. Digital marketing to known consumers can now be activated at all stages along the marketing funnel.
One example of this is a financial institution who desperately wanted to provide a more personalized experience to customers throughout the journey. That goal required first required defining what it really meant, and what it might look like. Ultimately, it really boiled down to these three things:
- Starting with the consumer (as opposed to product or channel) and then meeting their needs.
- Becoming omni-channel by engaging with consumers where and when they want.
- Becoming agile and responsive to consumer signals.
By connecting the “data dots,” the bank was able to design an experience that resonated deeply with individual consumers. They wanted the ability to know as much about each consumer to be able to personalize messaging, so they could speak to each consumer’s unique needs, concerns, motivations and expectations at every touchpoint in their journey.
The Four Pillars of Personalized Customer Experiences
To put consumers at the forefront, the process involves four primary “planning pillars.” Tackling each of these pillars allows organizations to think about their journey in a channel-agnostic manner, adapting to the pathways of consumers as they engage through the channels and devices that fit their individual preferences and habits.
Pillar 1: Audience Planning – Create a core, in-depth understanding of target audiences based on your first-party data, and then enhance that with third-party consumer data. Your centralized data hub enables the connectivity to data sources that inform and provide insight, including the ability to leverage data from search, social, and digital engagement. Use these audience insights to understand:
- Who to target based on their likelihood to engage with the brand or product.
- The potential value of an individual.
- What product or service to offer an individual at a particular moment.
- How to appeal to an individual’s motivations through message, creative, content, and media.
Pillar 2: Experience Planning – Planning a compelling consumer experience means translating the data and your business objectives into a flexible and personalized interaction plan. The process of journey mapping; depicting the consumer’s needs across the lifecycle can help to illuminate how and where to reach individuals based on their behaviors. Leveraging tools like dynamic creative and personalization platforms help take the experience to a new level and can create more relevancy for the consumer.
Pillar 3: Content & Media Planning – Next-level audience and experience planning call for next-level thinking in terms of how you work through tools such as creative and media briefs. Review your agency engagement tools to ensure the design, and associated process, puts your audiences as the starting point.
Pillar 4: Measurement Planning – Putting the consumer and their journey at the forefront of your marketing efforts requires developing up-front tracking frameworks and KPIs that clarify how success will be measured. A complete measurement plan should outline both primary and secondary KPIs. Again, this is where thoughtful planning around connecting data up front will help you with measuring exposure, reach, frequency, conversions across content and media. Best-in-class marketing organizations operate hip-to-hip with their analytic counterparts, and have attribution tracking in place to understand how each interaction in the journey ultimately contributed to the purchase decision.
No matter how committed your organization is to creating the best possible experience and the most engaging customer journey, the key to delivering it — at scale — is laying the right groundwork. That foundation hinges entirely on data — where it comes from, and how it is used to plan and shape communications with your audience at the individual level.