A Framework for Delivering the Next Best Offer in Financial Services

Financial marketers are sitting on a wealth of opportunity; the data needed to drive customer experiences that are personalized, relevant, and seamless across channels. According to the 2016 Digital Trends in Financial Services study, 62 percent of respondents indicate a single customer view is a top priority in the advancement of digital maturity. But, here’s the kicker: 88 percent of marketers don’t have a holistic customer view; and an Econsultancy report noted that 91 percent use different platforms and disparate data to engage with customers.

Today’s financial-services customers — like nearly every customer in every market — are spending the majority of their screen time on their mobile devices: nearly 3 hours per day! In addition, they are expecting personalized, contextual, real-time offers on their phone and at all interactions — and if they don’t get them or feel frustrated with their experience, it is simple for them to swipe past your offer and move on to your competitor.

Your customers expect personal advice from their advisers — more than ever before because they know you have data about them — and the opportunity exists for you to deliver. Detailed demographic, psychographic and behavioral data on consumers’ digital choices exists in great abundance, and financial institutions are able to create contextual offers that steer consumers to the right financial services or products, at the right moment, and through the right channel.

But, if you aren’t quite there yet, how do you develop your next best offer? Here are some ideas to get you going.

1. Define Your Objective
Providing the technology and digital means alone to enable marketing capabilities will not increase your product penetration, loyalty, or conversion rates. What are your organizational objectives? I have found that determining what you want to accomplish and why are the keys to highly effective marketing.

The biggest obstacle to achieving your objectives, though, might be the silos that exist within your organization. Getting all the departments and divisions to buy in to your marketing objectives can be a challenge — but a very worthwhile one. When sales, line-of-business owners, marketing, and IT start working together toward a common goal — the optimal customer experience — the results can be dramatic.

2. Know Your Customers
If you know what your customers most likely want and are able to present it, your chances of meeting their needs are much greater than if you were to just guess or make assumptions. You must understand not only what your customers need — but also expect — at every touchpoint and on every channel.

Get every department and division to contribute to mapping out the customer journey. This is critical, as it will reveal departments that have been implementing practices that may increase interdepartmental efficiency but have inadvertently created a negative customer experience.

Effectively understanding your customers requires data — and luckily, tons of data is available. Some of the information that is valuable when tailoring next best offers can be easily acquired — age, gender, family size, residential address, income, assets, personal lifestyle, and behavior data, for instance. Once the available data traits have been identified, the next step is to aggregate them into a single customer view that can be used for segmentation and targeting across channels. Previous purchase or current product holding data is often the single best guide to what a customer will buy next, and loyalty programs can also be powerful tools for tracking consumers’ buying patterns.

When you know more about who your customers are and what they care about, you are in a better position to create and match the offers that will be of most interest to them.

3. Decide and Deliver
Technology allows you to automate and predict customers’ next best actions by looking for triggers and flags. You can then infer what they’ll do in the future — such as purchase life insurance or buy a first home. You want to match customers with the most relevant offers.

The right technology also helps you choose the right offer to match the person’s needs and deliver it across channels and interaction options, making it easier to go to market more quickly.

But, proceed cautiously and thoughtfully. If a new customer opens a checking account, don’t immediately shower him or her with home-equity offers. Perhaps, in this case, the next best offer would be a customer-service message.

Send a series of well-timed, valuable offers that complement each other, working together in their intended messages, timing, and channel.

4. Learn and Evolve
Creating the next best offer strategy is not an exact science, so you must experiment and test. You need to measure performance and apply the lessons learned. Remember, your goal is successful, cross-channel engagement that is personalized, relevant, and responds in real-time. Keep your customer journey map by your side as you interpret your data to iteratively optimize the experience.

With real-time testing, you can quickly identify and roll out the offer that resonates most with each customer segment, allowing you to increase your success in the current campaign and spend your marketing dollars in the most effective way possible.

If you want to learn more about how Adobe can help you seamlessly capture customer data, track offer performance, and deepen customer relationships with more consistent and relevant offers across channels, check out our whitepaper. See for yourself how our Adobe solutions work together to help you build your next best offer.