Major technical flaws were revealed because of the pandemic, and companies that couldn’t adapt became increasingly irrelevant to consumers. Many companies coped by adding an extra layer of “technology” make-up, rather than implementing real, lasting solutions, and the results will be detrimental. In fact, Forrester predicts “as many as 20 percent of the Fortune 500 are not going to make it through 2021 whole.”
Now, consider the impact on financial institutions, who have historically let potential risk outweigh reward when it came to implementing new, innovative technologies. It’s a critical time for banks to reevaluate their priorities, including how they operate and interact with customers. Banks must embrace the four ‘big tech’ trends that influence customer demands, including the growing expectation for a better banking experience. Implementing tools that leverage the critical aspects of ‘big tech’ can make a huge difference in the lives of bank marketers, providing more efficient and successful ways to communicate, engage and retain customers.
What are the ‘big tech’ strategies that banks need to employ today to be successful in the future?
Strategy 1: Big Data — Implementing a big data strategy into the institution’s overall strategy is the first step in the bank’s ability to practically access, analyze and apply insights to their customer data. This requires the examination of large (very large) amounts of data, across a broad range of data types, in order to mine and extract the bank customer’s uses and patterns that might have been previously unknown or even hidden.
Strategy 2: Business Intelligence (BI) — Thinking one step further, this strategy changes the way banks process customer data, leveraging existing data and turning that data into actionable insights. BI can’t be a stand-alone strategy because having access to this information doesn’t mean banks now know the outcome of every step they take. However, it can help banks make more intelligent decisions, internally, externally and at every step of the customer journey.
Strategy 3: Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML) — Although, the financial services industry hasn’t always welcomed this ‘big tech’ strategy, AI and ML can make all the difference in helping banks establish their path to success. In fact, Deloitte reported, “86 percent of financial services AI adopters say that AI will be very or critically important to their business’s success in the next two years.” Banks are the perfect fit to utilize machine intelligence, like AI and ML, because of its inherent ability to access and use large data sets, including customer history and transactional data.
Strategy 4: Social Media Visual Content — Social media has become ingrained in consumers daily lives, so it’s no surprise that harnessing the captivating power of interactive, visual content has become a part of almost every successful business — using social media-inspired visual content to broaden reach and deepen user engagement.
Leveraging these “big tech” strategies is critical in keeping up with consumer demands. Essentially, the right strategies combined with the right tools will lead to decisions that eliminate the marketing department’s “guess” work and instead provide results that can be measured and optimized. Guessing what customers want and need from their banking experience can’t be the bank’s central strategy anymore — not with expectation-setting companies, like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, that are changing the way consumers perceive their everyday experiences.
For bank marketers to really reach customers, they must truly know and understand them. Fortunately, there are modern tools and technologies, embedded with these critical strategies, which enable marketing teams to automate and scale their efforts. This means marketing campaigns get more personal, frictionless and smarter; product offers become more relevant and interesting; and customer communication is enhanced, heightened and welcomed.
Investing in innovative tools will go a long way — not just in preserving existing customer relationships, but in growing them and attracting new ones, too.
How can bank marketers actually use these strategies and tools to simplify their daily tasks?
Strategy 1: Big Data — Through the use of technology, bank marketers can use the mined customer information that banks possess to ensure their messages and offers are consistent, targeted, relevant and appreciated by customers. Otherwise, their marketing efforts will run the risk of being generic, boring or even worse, creepy, which often guides the bank to the worst gamble of all: losing customers.
Strategy 2: Business Intelligence (BI) — Capitalizing on the BI elements of innovative technology allows banks to make smarter, more calculated decisions by “examining data to understand trends and derive insights by streamlining the effort needed to search for, merge and query the data necessary to make sound business decisions,” according to CIO. The marketing department can further use BI to really understand the performance of marketing initiatives and campaigns by slicing and dicing these analytics to determine what is working and what is not — all while continually improving the content of communications, so the messages are resonating with customers.
Strategy 3: Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML) — AI helps simplify the bank’s processes by automating tasks, and ML (a subset of AI) works actively to learn from the data, find patterns and discover anomalies. Deploying the technical aspect of this strategy within bank tools and technologies leads to valuable and useful actions — such as supporting growth initiatives, applying predictive analytics, assessing risk, streamlining marketing efforts, improving the customer experience and more. For example, banks can use predictive campaigns, based on past performance and historical results, to help marketers save time while getting them the positive results they need.
Strategy 4: Social Media Visual Content — Taking the same principles used in social media platforms, like Facebook’s ‘like’ button or Instagram’s stories, banks can leverage technology that uses the data banks already own to improve the customer experience. Bank marketers can capture and share visual content by generating videos, games, images and personalized, smart stories to enhance and deepen user engagement. This can all happen within the bank’s existing user experience by creating an embedded financial story that is personalized with services and offers that are relevant for each individual customer.
At the end of the day, if banks are not open or discerning enough about the enormous value of customer engagement and customer experience technology, then customers will choose a bank that is investing in these strategies and tools. Using the right marketing tech will not only streamline daily tasks for bank marketers but also demonstrate much, greater benefits to the banks — namely, increased customer satisfaction and revenue as banks’ touch points and communications evolve to become relevant, personalized and positively anticipated by their customers.
To reap these benefits, banks and their marketing teams need access to innovative tools, that leverage the critical aspects of the four ‘big tech’ strategies — equipping them with data-driven, personalized customer insights, with results that can be examined and measured. The technology that has the ability to treat people differently in real time and at scale is game-changing for marketing — and an investment that will provide huge returns.
Preetha Pulusani is the CEO of DeepTarget, a FinTech company developing and deploying an open, data-driven customer engagement and cross-selling platform for credit unions and banks.
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