2007 Dec 01
Bank Marketing Technology Trends for 2008
by David M. Raab
Curtis Marketwise FIRST
December 2007

There were plenty of shiny technical gizmos for bank marketers in 2007, buy cialis and 2008 will bring even more. But like that hot video game which is always out of stock at your local store, for sale much of the latest technology will remain out of reach for many bank marketers. Whether it’s too costly, clinic incompatible with existing systems, or out of synch with current priorities, there are plenty of reasons to miss the Next Big Thing.

So which technologies are likely to have widespread impact? Here are some strong candidates.

· Online marketing management systems. Web pages, email and mobile devices aren’t new anymore, but the technology to use them is still evolving rapidly. The most important change next year will be the increased availability of integrated systems that make it cheaper and easier for marketers to assemble sophisticated cross-channel campaigns. The latest tools unify Web and mobile ad placements, search keyword purchases, outbound emails, personalized landing pages, and automated email response. They support these with shared customer databases, content management, project workflow, and results analysis. Some can execute multi-step, rule-driven contact streams that essentially put customer management on auto-pilot—although this more than many institutions are ready to do.

These systems let bank marketers set up, execute and evaluate integrated online campaigns for themselves, often at less cost than outside resources now charge to work in each channel separately. Since the new systems are often hosted (that is, run on the vendor’s computers and purchased via monthly subscription) , the start-up cost and technical support burden are low enough that even institutions with limited resources can afford them. The net result will be that increasing numbers of bank marketers can make greater, more creative use of the online channels.

· New online techniques. Although older online techniques are well established, new concepts are still appearing. Social networks like FaceBook and MySpace, virtual worlds like Second Life and Whyville, and communication tools like wikis and blogs all present new opportunities and challenges for innovative bank marketers. In most cases, the cost of entry is very low, so the usual barrier to experimentation is not present. On a more prosaic level, tools like online surveys, e-newsletters, and “buzz” monitoring services provide new ways to understand and change consumer attitudes—again, at much lower cost than conventional methods of gathering and distributing similar information. The real opportunity is gathering the same information for less money, but using the same budget to do more—for example, capturing actionable data from the entire customer base instead of surveying only a small sample.

· Self-service analytics. This is delicate topic because so much has been promised in the past, and so little delivered. Clever software will not turn every branch associate into a Ph.D. statistician. In fact, few front-line personnel have the time or inclination to engage in serious analytics regardless of the tools they are given. But marketing managers and analysts do have that time and inclination; what they often lack to their immense frustration is access to the data. New technologies such as in-memory databases and visualization software now allow managers and analysts to extract and analyze data directly from marketing databases, data warehouses, or sometimes core systems themselves, with minimal help from IT staff.

Specifically, the role of IT is to set up and manage the connections that make the extracts possible. Few marketers have the technical skills to create these connections, but, even if they did, IT would still be in charge to ensure security and performance. The change is that older business intelligence and reporting systems generally required IT to prepare data summaries in response to particular questions, while the newer technologies pull in the raw data and let marketers aggregate it for themselves. Entry prices for products in this group–QlikView, Tableau, ADVIZOR, Spotfire, Miner3D—are in the thousands or, at most, tens of thousands of dollars. This is well within the budget of nearly any marketing department, and an even greater value once you factor in the labor savings for IT.

The low cost and high value of these technologies should make them very successful in the next year. Other technologies will be more limited to institutions with an aggressive appetite for innovation. Opportunities for these organizations include:

· Behavior detection. Systems like Harte-Hanks Allink Agent and Conclusive Marketing SynapseEBM scan customer transactions for patterns that indicate a business opportunity and pass the resulting lead to automated systems or sales people for action. The approach is well proven but can stumble over the connections between the behavior detection system and the systems that use its results.

· Touchpoint analytics and guided selling. This modifies front-line systems such as call centers, branch automation, ATMs and Web sites to add analytical software that monitors customer behavior during an interaction and recommends appropriate responses. Again, the benefits are well documented but implementation is often hampered by difficulties integrating with the front-line systems.

· Enterprise integration. Local branches can access corporate marketing systems to generate custom direct mail, download advertising materials, and order promotional items. Central lead generation and referral management systems can pass information to sales people and account officers. Call centers can be decentralized so agents can work from home. All are excellent opportunities to reduce cost and improve performance – if the corporate infrastructure is open to these sorts of connections.

· Value-based customer management. There is a growing recognition of the importance of managing by customer value. This requires a host of technical and analytic resources: accurate profitability measurement; improved risk analysis; extensive predictive modeling; simulation and optimization. Implementation is a long process that moves in stages: first the company must measure the value of individual customers; then, marketing and operational systems must customize treatments based on these values; finally, the company must measure the impact of each treatment on future value so it can select the best ones. Companies like RBC Royal Bank have profited from this approach, but only after years of disciplined investment in people and process as well as technology. If your bank has the vision and resources to move in this direction, 2008 would be a great time to start.

* * *

David M. Raab is a Principal at Raab Associates Inc., a consultancy specializing in marketing technology and analytics. He can be reached at draab@raabassociates.com.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.