Reinventing financial services CX with data
Today’s consumers expect personalized experiences — but some financial services companies do little more than simply add customers’ names to emails. In Adobe’s recent survey of financial services marketers, only 12% said their company’s digital experience is ahead of customer expectations. Over half said they’re only “keeping up.”
In a world where more than one-third of consumers started using a financial product from a new brand in 2021, and nearly 75% switched to new stores, products, or buying methods they hadn’t used before that year, this represents a major risk. If financial services brands don’t personalize by adapting to changes in customers’ financial journeys, they risk losing customers to competitors that base their business models on integrated customer data and personalized experiences.
Why do so many financial services firms lag behind in personalization? The short answer is data.
Customer data comes into the firm through multiple systems and platforms, spanning everything from legacy mainframes to mobile apps, chatbots to call centers. It’s challenging to get a solid picture of each customer’s brand interactions, then anticipate their needs well enough to deliver a relevant, personalized experience. It’s especially challenging to accomplish that for every customer, every time.
For financial services companies that are playing catch-up on personalization, adopting the right customer data management solution is a vital step.
Why marketers are turning to CDPs
As fragments of customer data arrive from multiple online and offline sources, a customer data platform (CDP) gathers the data points, combines them, eliminates redundant or irrelevant information, and delivers insights that are essential for designing personalized experiences.
Merkle reports that the CDP is the next step for marketing maturity and the first step for true personalization at scale. According to the research, 46% of brands are actively using a CDP, while 53% are currently in the market for one.
To understand this near-universal need for a CDP, let’s look at key goals for financial services marketers and how they’re using CDPs to reach them:
- Consolidating customer identities across channels and platforms: A CDP ends data silos by bringing together customer data points from every channel and then using sophisticated algorithms to sort and manage them.
- Protecting data privacy: A CDP helps leadership reduce risk by automating settings that improve adherence to the financial services industry’s stringent compliance and governance policies.
- Facilitating personal connections: A CDP blends the online and offline brand experience — critical for an industry that can no longer count on having in-person meetings to build rapport, trust, and loyalty with customers.
Two critical functions to look for in your CDP
While the challenge of data consolidation exists across industries, financial services organizations are subject to more stringent compliance and governance measures than other industries. Financial services marketers must be exacting about customer data, and they’re relying primarily on CDPs for two things — data unification and audience distribution.
A CDP helps ensure data is used accurately and according to regulatory requirements when matching content to audiences. As the central processing location for all customer data, a CDP can build data models once and publish them everywhere, keeping compliance and governance intact across the organization.
As the third-party cookie continues to deprecate across social media and Google platforms, financial services marketers must be able to identify important moments in a customer’s life from clues such as purchasing for a baby’s needs, a recent car accident, or online searches for investment options.
From that information, the customer’s experience should pivot into the audience group that most closely aligns with their changing financial and insurance needs. Marketers are turning to CDPs to deliver that deeper, more nuanced understanding of customers.
Your choice of CDP matters
Your CDP is central to scaling personalization because it can feed customer data into every marketing technology system you run. It can also help unify disparate business units, enabling personalized experiences for the customer on every channel.
As points of customer data increase, your understanding of audience interests becomes more nuanced — and the data models become more complicated. To succeed in the modern digital landscape, your chosen CDP must be not just powerful. It must also be flexible enough to integrate with other systems and mature with your growth.
Find out how top brands like T. Rowe Price strategize CDP selection and maturity, plus learn best practices for CDP implementation from Merkle in our on-demand webinar Personalization at Scale: CDP & Modern Data Management for Financial Services.