Making Big Data Lean – Contextual Targeting and Micro-Segmentation for Banks and Credit Unions

We’ve written before about how contextual targeting and micro-segmentation can help financials boost the ROI of their online platform. Then we talked about how to display unique and relevant messages to customers by drawing on information like account type, age, salary, visited pages, and past behaviour etc.

Now we’re going to look at how digital marketing teams at banks and credit unions can start employing micro-segmentation within the closed platform. The biggest challenge is how to filter out the truly relevant data from the gigantic piles of gigabytes accumulated everyday. We think the best way to tackle this is, is to approach it the same way we approach our software development; by applying lean methodology. You’ll be surprised to see how much a marketer can accomplish with just a few simple pieces of data that are readily available.

Digital marketers always use whatever data they can to give customers the most relevant and engaging content they can. It’s impossible to know exactly what a customers’ intentions are but we can make some informed assumptions when we have to. As we often must when we don’t have a lot of data or have limited tools, like a CRM that isn’t able to analyze data and benchmark it for optimized campaign management. When this is the case, it’s important to test as much as possible to see what content engages specific audience segments the most, and which campaigns consistently convert.

Let’s take a look at the most common basic information financial marketers have access to, and how Backbase Portal can facilitate complex and relevant campaigns with that data.

Products the customer has already purchased. This is a great starting point to getting an idea of what other products the customer may interest the customer, especially regarding cross and up-sell campaigns. For example, a customer that has just been approved for a car loan may be interested to hear about  your new car insurance package.

Profile and account details include a vast amount of demographic indicators such as as age, account type (student/business), education, salary, account balance, and savings etc. These indicators are essential for creating for life-stage marketing campaigns. This information becomes even more useful when combined in different ways, such as combing age and income to promote a savings product with specific messaging to young professionals:

Targeted content for different micro-segments.

Personal, localized and seasonal events are gold for creating and targeting highly relevant campaigns. Birthdays, national holidays, and even product expiration can all be used as a base for providing targeted content. Similarly, seasonal changes should be taken advantage of. Why not wait until the summer holidays are around the corner before pushing travel insurance packages, or reminding customers if theirs is about to expire.

Online behaviour and site activity are extremely valuable elements in crafting digital marketing content and campaigns. Both are great signifiers of the what your customer is interested while browsing your site. If a customer repeatedly visits mortgage pages, they may be an ideal candidate to target with more information. This can be done through direct email or more subtly, by displaying linked mortgage plan ads to anyone who visits the mortgage pages more than twice. These ads should lead to pages where the customer can, get more information, be able to contact the bank directly, or even begin the application process.

Usually when we think about targeted content, the first thing that springs to mind is a product – or rather an advert for a product. But, just as in other industries, the hardsell isn’t always the best way to entice the customer into the sales funnel. Today’s customer likes to be informed and feel like they’re making the right choice. It’s good to test this with certain products, especially ones that require a large amount of investment for the customer, like mortgages. We can test how best to get them the information they want, while building engagement in a variety of ways. One idea would be to promote the mortgage calculator, or informative articles on the housing market in general, before presenting the various mortgage products available. Once the customer has committed to interacting with the content that is relevant for them, they are far more likely to move forward in the sale cycle.

At the same time, it’s important to think about where to show our content. If we want to promote a new savings account, the car loan page probably isn’t the most ideal place to display an ad for it. However, it would relevant for the PFM tool page where the customer is looking at their finances and trying to figure out the best way to spend less and save more. If we show an informative ad about saving in this space, we are giving our customers useful content in a relevant context. At the same time, we are strengthening our relationship with our customer by responding to their implicit needs. At Backbase we believe it’s also essential to take into account when and how the customer is accessing their account. We call this “contextual targeting” and with over 90% of customers completing transactional journeys across multiple devices, it’s a must to know not just what content is relevant to the customer generally but also what content they need in that moment on a specific device.

Backbase Portal makes it possible to do exactly this and more with ease, using our portal’s digital marketing capabilities that enable you to create a targeted widget that show targeted content for different segments, on different devices :

It’s clear that the closed environment offers great potential for improving sales and strengthening customer engagement. However, it’s important not to compromise the customer’s experience and to keep advertising as unobtrusive as possible. Their secure environment should always feel personal and relevant to them, not overloaded with promotions. It can be difficult to strike a balance, especially when you have a lot to share with your customers: your new banking app, new branch locations close to the customer’s geo-location tag, and new office hours. All of which are just as important as products and actually crucial to maintaining your relationship with your customer. Deciding what messages to go where, when, and who to distribute them to will always be a challenge, but it can be made easier by empowering your customer to personalize their online profile with the content they feel most relevant to them.