Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Apr 27

Data Driven marketing in the Financial Services Sector

What is most important for the financial services firms is their overriding need for regulatory compliance.

It is because of this that minds are clearly focused on all marketing activities being as completely transparent and auditable as possible. As such, the sector has been faster than others to recognise the power of data driven marketing but perhaps slower and more cautious to deploy the necessary applications needed to deliver measurable results.

At Aquarium, we have found that the financial services sector focuses on three very clear marketing questions – (1) who is it talking to? (2) how is it going to talk to them? and finally and perhaps the most importantly, (3) why is it talking to them in the first place?

Very rarely do professional financial services firms engage in a ‘scattergun’ approach to data driven marketing. Far from ‘hit and hope’ tactics, big data lends itself to the more holistic and auditable methodology demanded in the world of financial services.

While data  driven results can be used to forecast market shares for everything from real to hypothetical products, in our experience, financial (and especially insurance service) firms are concentrating on the ‘customer journey’ and net promotor scores (NPS) more so than traditional outbound marketing. The result from this ‘after the event’ (ATE) marketing is extremely valuable to firms and in turn drives their more traditional, ‘before the event’ (BTE) marketing. Firms have realised getting service delivery right is the best form of marketing as you effectively increase your sales team exponentially with each happy customer.

Firms want to be seen as intelligent in their approach to the marketing message and more importantly how they respond to enquiries as a result of a campaign. An intuitive and intelligent application like Aquarium’s own TextReactor allows recipients to interact with the marketing message, holding almost a conversation using (in this example), SMS technologies to promote a richer customer experience. In the event of a poor customer experience, details can be automatically forwarded onto the relevant internal department who’s task will be to resolve the matter and turning a negative experience into a positive one.

Increasing competition makes data driven marketing essential. In a sector notoriously hard to stand out from the crowd, tools that deliver personalised marketing with customised content can prove the dividing line between success and failure. Real-time relevance matters but the process must be a seamless, natural experience, and one of the reasons Text Reactor and other technologies are so successful, because nothing jars or drives customers away more than conflicting messages.

The technical solutions required to deliver these messages are readily available from experienced suppliers offering adaptable, flexible and responsive applications. They are adaptive to the needs of a growing and evolving business, flexible in order to respond to a changing market and products and responsive so the all-important customer journey is not compromised.

Issues raised by cyber security can also cause concerns and software needs to allay these fears, ensuring that in the march to greater customer personalisation, this valuable new currency is not squandered by a lax approach to security.

Big data represents big opportunities but without the means to see the larger picture, the risk is getting bogged down and this is not an option in financial services.

We touched on auditability and accountability and any data driven marketing campaign has to stand up to scrutiny either by the regulator or a firms own internal procedures. Fundamental questions need to be answered for each and every campaign, namely – (a) when a campaign went out, (b) to whom, (c) what was said, (d) how the recipient replied, (e) who unsubscribed and (f) where the data came.