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Leveraging Big Data to deliver the one-to-one message?

Dont get caught in a trap
I attended a retail banking conference focused on big data recently, where the conversation surrounding customer service was more present than I ever could have imagined. I’m no cynic, in fact, I don’t even dabble much in sarcasm but the sincerity of the conversation surprised even the Candide in me. Financial institutions not only want deposits but also customer attention. They take pride in net promoter scores and use them to swagger at these industry events. By slicing and dicing customer data, they are able to tell the right customers about free coin counting machines, public restrooms or doggie treats in branch. Some financial institutions feel it’s their USP and the reason that each customer is going to feel cared about.  And I am dead serious about these offerings; I listened to a great speech by First Direct about those very services. That said, Big Data was proposed to hold the secret to excellent, personalized customer service, perhaps even more than doggie treats. The idea is: take Big Data, analyse it and create the perfect one-to-one marketing message. Sadly for most financial institutions, the next logical step after analyzing their Big Data and creating the message is often not considered. It is hard to imagine investing millions in cultivating Big Data to the point of personalized messages only to send the sweet creatures off to the spam slaughterhouse. As much time and attention should be given to the delivery of the message as is to data collection and analytics. If not, much of the investment is lost.

You’ve got the perfect message, but you’re caught in a trap

The fact is that 20% of legitimate batch email is delivered straight to SPAM folders which means a lot of lost investment, a lot of lost opportunity.  I don’t care if you are a hegemon, a mom and pop shop, or whether or not your customers have consented to being emailed. Unless you use a specialist email supplier with a credible sender score, your emails are at risk of never being read. As volume plagues inboxes, SPAM filters are becoming more and more sophisticated in order for ISPs to protect customers from sheer harassment.  I am personally an advocate of these filters increasing in sophistication, as I recently missed an email from my Mom in the jungle that is my inbox. Sorry Mom, I did love the biscuits, thank you. Don’t lose your one-to-one marketing messages to the ISP sieves that are becoming increasingly finer.

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Marketing messages and the lost touch point

While most financial institutions have their eyes on the prize of cutting paper and postage costs, the paperless replacement is often an untouched space. I am a customer of Orange and was defaulted to paperless statements, meaning I had to make an effort to log on to the portal to see what’s what every month. After I signed up for Direct Debit, I never made that effort (except after an unfortunate use of Google maps in Paris which shocked even the likes of me).  I had no need whatsoever to log on to the portal and therefore, any Marketing Messages they hoped to get to me as a customer have been lost. Remember that getting into the inbox is everything when it comes to extracting the value from Big Data and personalization. Big Data is only big business when it results in big revenue, and to get that you need to get the message through.

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