Moving from channel-centricity to customer-centricity
Marketing teams at banks and financial services firms are often organized by channels. And costs and effectiveness of channels vary widely. This means that everything from marketing budgets at the campaign-level to reporting ROI happens separately across different channels as well.
To get a unified view of customers across channels, marketers need to overcome the channel-led silo mentality and begin to treat channels more holistically.
It has been refreshing to see more organizations waking up to the need to break down these silos.
At iQuanti, we’ve helped many clients work through this change.
We have, for example, helped design a unified holistic SEO-SEM strategy for a top-5 US bank to enable a clearer, non-siloed understanding of the performance of search channels overall. We developed:
- Tests to analyze the incremental organic traffic growth (and hence, conversions) driven by suppressing certain search terms in paid search
- Tests to assess the incremental CTRs and conversions generated by offering unified, complementary messaging across paid ads and organic result pages.
- A holistic dashboard that reports KPIs and ROI across the search channel – both organic and paid – instead of measuring these separately.
Banks with a strong local presence can look at getting incremental value by integrating their online and offline customer data. This will allow them to understand and report the impact of a digital investment on offline/branch traffic or conversions – but this requires robust analytics capabilities and efficient attribution models.
The good news is that we’re seeing progress across the board in efforts to drive integrated experiences across channels.
Breaking down silos across journey stages
We are seeing financial organizations taking baby steps towards being organized by journeys (vs. being organized by channels). Being organized by journey stages allows marketers to get a unified view of the customer as he moves through the purchase funnel across channels and platforms. This approach offers distinct advantages to financial marketers as some channels are more effective at specific journey stages than others. For example, while targeting a user in the mid-funnel, SEO would fare better economically than paid search.
The thumb rule for any brand or performance marketer is to be where the customers are. But this gets tricky for banks and financial services organizations because it’s a highly regulated industry.
Think about a channel like TikTok, for example. There are over 1.1 billion video views from users on TikTok who are looking for investing advice. There are restrictions around what a brand can and cannot say on social media. But there are influencers (or “finfluencers”) actively offering advice and product reviews to your customers. Banks have to figure out a social content strategy that would allow them to tap into the potential of top funnel reach on such channels.
Another challenge we have observed with the larger players is that often, brand and performance marketing are managed by two separate agencies. This makes sense at the outset since the core competencies required for brand and performance marketing are very different. However, given that these agencies would ultimately be driving marketing messages in front of the same audiences, it would be helpful to begin with a common audience pool and channel/platform lists so you are able to connect experiences all the way across the journey funnel.
Moving from product-centricity to customer-centricity
Large banks are often organized by products. Some of these divisions, for example, credit cards or mortgages, have teams (and revenues) large enough to be classified as separate business entities altogether. They house their own marketing and customer service teams and work with distinct marketing budgets, acquisition goals, and even agency relationships. They are also mostly disconnected units that rarely share data and insights with each other. With customer and acquisition data siloed with product teams, there will be huge gaps and inefficiencies in knowing your customer.
There is an increasing realization in the industry about the challenges and huge opportunity costs associated with such an organisational structure, especially while trying to deliver integrated, personalized experiences to customers. We recently worked with a leading credit card player in assessing the economic cost of a siloed approach to data within the organization. We identified that 50-60% of “customers” brought in via prospect marketing by a credit card division were already existing customers who owned other products. The loss, as you would expect, was immense.
Our recommendation would be to start looking at the lifetime value of a customer. As you bring in a new customer, learn everything about her/him, and ensure you drive a personalized approach to meeting his needs. For example, you may bring someone in as a Checking Account customer, and then branch into mortgages, credit cards etc. Personalization is key here, and digital channels are probably the best means to address the unification of data and move from product-centricity to customer-centricity.