For banks, big data doesn’t always translate into more meaningful customer relationships. For more than a decade, tech solutions promised banks that they could remake the customer experience – starting with big data and visualizations to data science, AI and machine learning. But these solutions alone haven’t always translated into deeper connections with customers.

The latest tools in data modeling, marketing automation, and performance tracking need to be fashioned and guided so they can reveal the gaps in a bank’s data that need to be filled. The best customer engagement technology needs to be fitted to each bank’s unique needs, with tailored insights that identify the hidden risks or opportunities within their customer base.

An institution’s data always tells a story; the key is learning to read that story, then taking that knowledge out of conference rooms and presentations and turn it into action. This framework turns the data picture into a plan where automation, modeling and other tools can play a key role. But lasting success requires balancing technology with industry insights and expertise, and helping marketers connect the dots to get a better picture of their customer behaviors and patterns that may – and often do – go unrecognized.

Finding the Right Tools
When William Gibson wrote “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” in The Economist in 2003, he might well have been talking about bank marketing in 2019. The digital revolution is well underway and there is no shortage of tools that promise to change banking and customer engagement.

But there are also many that are just gathering dust, under-used, misused or too complicated to integrate into the existing infrastructure and gain buy-in. Maybe the solution was designed shortsightedly. Or in the handoff from the solutions provider to the bank staff, the approach wound up being more generic than the unique needs of the financial institution. At a high cost to many institutions, the value of these tools is not well enough understood.

The best solutions empower their customers by addressing that institution’s specific challenges, hidden risks and opportunities.

Combining a bankers’ expertise with data will produce the best business decisions. The data creates a picture that banks will need to recognize, understand and act on. Analytics can uncover patterns that don’t always reveal themselves in day-to-day operations; once discovered, those patterns need to be nailed down into actionable, realistic steps that reverse losses and uncover new profit sources.

Expertise & Technology: Designing Solutions
Not only is expertise important if banks want to take advantage of technology like analytics – it is key to creating the technology. Despite their prowess, many software and technology companies see an opportunity in the industry without understanding details like how banks measure success, the regulatory and compliance approval challenges they face and the implementation and integration into existing, legacy systems. As a result, their tool development isn’t focused on where it should be.

For example, will a solution that a bank is considering be able to break through its existing data system silos to reach a single profile of the customer with an accurate message? Effective solutions are built with an understanding of the often-disparate data sources within an institution, and can reveal opportunities for engagement that are unique to an individual bank.

Will a tool be able to balance customers’ right to privacy with demands for personalization? The most powerful solutions navigate this tricky balance by addressing the specific security demands at banks and prioritize the privacy and security of customer data, combining technology controls with compliance rigor.

Having expertise in banking and understanding what data is available and how it is stored is a key differentiator when it comes to creating and developing solutions for banks, from building relationships to selling products. That expertise should direct the solution from the ground up, elbowing out existing solutions that are retrofitted to work for financial institutions.

Data is an essential tool for success in all marketing programs. Banks should opt for a smarter, less-costly route that pairs the power of industry insights with tailored tech solutions created to change behaviors, prevent losses and uncover opportunity for themselves and their customers.


Tyson Nargassans