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.