The aspi­ra­tion of every finan­cial insti­tu­tion is to make each cus­tomer inter­ac­tion as con­sis­tent, high qual­ity, and per­sonal as pos­si­ble. His­tor­i­cally, this was fairly easy because con­sumers relied on branches for the vast major­ity of their bank­ing needs. With the mass adop­tion of online and mobile bank­ing for day-to-day trans­ac­tions, deliv­er­ing the same level of per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence to drive sales has become much more dif­fi­cult. Over the years, finan­cial ser­vices mar­keters have been refin­ing their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing capa­bil­i­ties (test­ing, tar­get­ing key seg­ments, and con­tent man­age­ment) on marketing-oriented pub­lic websites.

But pub­lic sites have their lim­i­ta­tions with exist­ing cus­tomers who mainly bypass the expe­ri­ence all together to log on to com­plete a task. As soon as cus­tomers enter authen­ti­cated areas of a bank­ing site—where they spend the major­ity of their time—to check bal­ances, trans­fer funds, and do other essen­tial activ­i­ties, they are often greeted by largely trans­ac­tional pages. These sites are big on util­ity but offer lit­tle in terms of mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties or per­son­al­ized messaging.

For most finan­cial insti­tu­tions then, how do you extend the same dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing capa­bil­i­ties seen on pub­lic site expe­ri­ences to highly traf­ficked, authen­ti­cated web­pages with­out jeop­ar­diz­ing the effi­ciency and secu­rity of these areas? And of course, the expe­ri­ence needs to accom­mo­date cus­tomers on any device as more peo­ple are migrat­ing to bank­ing on smart­phones and tablets ver­sus tra­di­tional laptops.

It’s a crit­i­cal ques­tion, and banks that suc­cess­fully answer it are poised to see increases in cus­tomer reten­tion and prod­uct pen­e­tra­tion in a mar­ket char­ac­ter­ized by intense com­pe­ti­tion and flag­ging cus­tomer loy­alty. Unfor­tu­nately, accord­ing to a WBR Dig­i­tal and Adobe sur­vey, less than 40 per­cent of finan­cial ser­vices orga­ni­za­tions are answer­ing the call and lever­ag­ing any of the core dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing capa­bil­i­ties to opti­mize expe­ri­ences within authen­ti­cated spaces—and even fewer within mobile apps.

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The answer lies in tak­ing authen­ti­cated areas beyond sim­ple trans­ac­tional, task-oriented sys­tems and lay­er­ing in more mean­ing­ful, per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ences for each customer—without, of course, impact­ing secu­rity and sys­tem per­for­mance. Although bank processes are trans­ac­tional by nature, the dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence doesn’t have to feel com­pletely utilitarian.

For­tu­nately, the same dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing solu­tions that the bank­ing indus­try has long used on their public-facing expe­ri­ences can sup­port their secure authen­ti­cated pages. It’s largely a mat­ter of shift­ing how mar­keters and IT pro­fes­sion­als think about a few key issues:

  • Lever­ag­ing advanced ana­lyt­ics to track where and what cus­tomers do on pages can help inform improve­ments to the expe­ri­ence or oppor­tu­ni­ties to intro­duce rel­e­vant prod­ucts and services.
  • Ongo­ing A/B or mul­ti­vari­ate test­ing of vis­i­tor expe­ri­ences on key areas of the website—inside and out­side the firewall—can help con­tin­u­ally opti­mize desired per­for­mance and deliver more rel­e­vant mes­sages and offers.

Cus­tomers now expect to bank where and when they want using their chan­nel of choice. This adds another level of com­plex­ity for mar­ket­ing and IT teams. Here too, the good news is that some Web con­tent man­age­ment solu­tions sup­port­ing respon­sive, mul­ti­de­vice envi­ron­ments are essen­tially sys­tem agnos­tic, inte­grat­ing just as eas­ily with sys­tems pow­er­ing pub­lic web­sites as they do with more tra­di­tional enter­prise (trans­ac­tional) sys­tems sup­port­ing authen­ti­cated pages.

From a customer’s per­spec­tive, all these changes are transparent—and in fact sim­ply expected. After all, peo­ple already enjoy unprece­dented lev­els of per­son­al­iza­tion and respon­sive­ness, whether they are shop­ping online, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with friends via social media, or catch­ing up on the lat­est news and enter­tain­ment. Why should online or mobile bank­ing be any less tai­lored or relevant?

Finan­cial ser­vices mar­keters inter­ested in learn­ing more infor­ma­tion about achiev­ing more impact­ful cus­tomer expe­ri­ences and get­ting more out of their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives should visit here.