Article | December 10, 2020
Customers in the financial services industry want personalized experiences. They, in fact, expect and demand them from their service providers. They prefer to stay loyal to a company as long as they receive this special treatment. As a result, personalization has become the number one priority for marketers in the industry today. They are waking up to the realization that delivering personalized experiences highly depend on understanding customer data.marke
Very few companies have the means to understand this data and use it to enrich the customer experience. The technology that has been recently making waves in every industry is known as the Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP is a packaged SaaS (software-as-a-service) product that is designed to build a unified customer database for an organization. Implementing a CDP can help achieve consistent customer engagement, increased loyalty, and higher sales.
David Raab, CDP evangelist and Founder of the CDP Institute, was invited as a chief guest at the Customer Data Summit 2018 event organized by Lemnisk.
David is a widely recognized thought leader in marketing technology and analytics. He was one of the first people to recognize that digital marketing systems were not just proliferating but also the data that these systems were throwing up were getting grouped into silos, making it really hard for marketers to understand customers holistically.
David also realized that there was a tremendous opportunity if he could bring these disparate systems together. Around this insight, David coined the term CDP and founded his institute in 2016. The CDP Institute’s work has been seminal in helping marketers understand the need for a CDP and the ways that they can derive value from it.
David’s thought-leadership session imparted the following key insights:
The most challenging barrier to Marketing Automation success is data integration between the various marketing systems of an organization. Financial marketers in Asia face the same challenges as their peers elsewhere, which include unifying customer data, providing superior customer experience, working within compliance constraints, and finding the budget to pay for solutions.
The CDP industry has seen a good growth rate of around 73% over the last 12 months. Two-thirds of the growth is attributed to new vendors and the remaining to existing vendors. The adoption rate has been high for B2C marketers as their businesses depend highly on user engagement and digital conversions. Companies that opt for a CDP prefer to have a complete packaged solution that includes the core CDP functionality along with analytics and engagement.
A CDP works well when all marketing systems are interconnected. One interesting observation is that one-third of CDP users lack an integrated technology stack. Companies that claim to have a CDP do not have this system integration and, therefore, do not fall under the CDP-classified vendors.
Things such as churn prediction and predictive modeling are a set of classic algorithms that thrive on good data. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is totally data-driven and works well with data that is highly detailed. A CDP can play a major role in developing custom algorithms and advanced intelligent systems such as AI. One of the things that it can do is create a standardized variable or model score and make that shareable to all systems that it connects to.
Of its various capabilities, a CDP also enables cross-device personalization by associating each device with the customer’s master ID when they log in. The master ID is used to build a unified customer profile with all device data. The right message for each master ID is selected and shared with all devices. The unified and complete customer profiles help financial marketers in selecting the right message and deliver a consistent experience across all devices.
It is still early days for a CDP in Asia. Many organizations are still at the stage of learning for themselves why options such as DMP (Data Management Platforms), Enterprise Data Warehouses, and marketing clouds won’t solve the problem that a CDP addresses. The core technologies used in Asian financial institutions can support any level of marketing sophistication that their users are ready to deploy. The early CDP adopters are touted to have an advantage over others in the industry.
Article | March 3, 2020
Discover the history of card payment security and learn how biometrics are increasing the security of card payments. Futuristic advances in payment technology are being deployed across the world. Contactless payments are at the forefront of this trend, but security issues have slowed the adoption of contactless cards and contactless payments via mobiles and wearable devices. Biometric card payments diminish consumers' fears of transaction security, whether online or in person, and are about to come out of beta testing.
Article | April 14, 2021
The rise of buy-now-pay-later in the consumer world provides a powerful example of what embedded finance at the point of need can do for brands.
Consumer debt ethics aside, B2C buy-now-pay-later providers can proudly point to the fact that implementing a BNPL solution can increase basket sizes for retailers by 20-30%. The concept, although around for years in various forms, has now been delightfully served as an option during the customer’s checkout process and the marketing has been simplified and on point.
Even as merchants must pay for the privilege of offering BNPL (keeping it interest free for customers) upwards of 4-6% per transaction, the benefits have been too good to resist.
Although let’s face it, regulation aside (there are significant hoops to become licenced in B2C finance), underwriting to consumers is easier than extending credit to businesses thanks in part for the need to understand factors such as business servicing capacity, shareholder control, bespoke pricing, industry risk and not to mention the exposure risks associated to loaning out more significant totals.
Therefore B2B lending speed and embedded innovation naturally lags behind B2C. That said, there have been remarkable steps forward over the last two years as more and more millennials and digital natives take over business buying decisions.
Existing B2B finance models
For many B2B suppliers or merchants, a referral programme to a business finance provider is nothing new.
The benefits can be obvious, especially as the alternative is to embark in to the dangers of offering trade terms and all the cashflow and collection troubles that come with it. By introducing business finance, suppliers can get paid upfront and those pesky risks evaporate.
When used effectively in a negotiation, financing offers can also allow suppliers to remove expected buyer discounts. Total order values and loyalty increase (as in the consumer world) and accessible finance even helps a buyer’s businesses become more successful — resulting in increased volumes of purchasing.
Still, referral programmes of this nature have their problems. Even with same day B2B funding available, finance applications can hold up the buying process.
This means suppliers who are keen to leverage the buyers peak interest, antagonising don’t close sales as quickly as they could and run the risk of the of the application declining or extra customer frustration and fatigue.
While the benefits for introducing finance in to the sales process still outweigh the negatives, more improvement in the experience can be achieved.
Imagine a situation as a B2B supplier or merchant where you can provide a pre-approved finance offer straight to eligible businesses through your own CRM.
This level of proactivity provides you with a powerful tool in drawing in loaded sale opportunities from customers who are primed and ready to transact. The advantage over your competition is significant as your customers already know they can painlessly purchase from you once they’re ready for more stock.
A new revenue stream also opens for your business as your FaaS provider hands you commission for each loan a buyer takes.
This example highlights the power of pre-approving customers in a proactive capacity. For this level of FaaS to work a customer permission gate is required, either as part of a customer onboarding/sign-up process or through invitation.
With a white-labelled or co-branded experience, buyers can securely connect via open banking through a third party (FaaS provider) and be reassured that no visibility of this data given to their supplier. Other business data sources (e.g. payment or accounting software) can also be connected at this point.
Through providing these connections through the supplier or merchants portal, buyers can sit back with the knowledge that they will be notified if and when they qualify to purchase goods or services on finance. Once pre-approved, sellers can push a message to their buyer from their CRM system along with any sales pitch or offer they like.
Convincing buyers to give this connection permission in the first place is a challenge that clever marketers and UX specialists will need to overcome.
Embedded at the point of need
Again, we only need to take BNPL as an example of an embedded finance solution served beautifully at the point of need. Buyers, motivated at the time to transact, are more likely to have the determination to apply for finance within the same CX process.
Unlike traditional loan referral schemes that remain disjointed with long and possess awkward handover points, through FaaS, an embedded financial product is especially attractive when done right. It can merely feel as a simple ‘way to pay’ option in the buyer experience. No application forms; no double entry of business data; no waiting.
The challenge therefore is to create seamlessness, integrated and quick decisioning. Again, still a relatively tall order for B2B finance especially the higher the loan total is (despite advances in innovation and same day funding).
The potential for more instant decisioning will need to be enabled through a) improvements in API sharing and open finance analytics to confident business underwriting and b) buyer adoption on online services and platforms.
This later point can already be seen in the growing gulf of funding accessibility between online and manual powered businesses.
For example an eCommerce buyer, generating rich volumes of data through online sales and excessive B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) use has the perfect data points that can be integrated in to support lending applications. In contrast, a blue collar business, with a limited online presence and who only drops a shoe box full of receipts to their accountant every 90 days, will find it more difficult to provide the data required for quick decisioning.
The new normal
Embedded B2B finance is here to stay and serious FaaS providers are emerging.
More and more suppliers and merchants will be leveraging the power of this new technology trend to create a more successful, loyal and satisfied buyer. Through proactive pre-approvals, B2B sales teams can be armed with more empowered conversations and unique advantages over the competition.
Alternative business lenders operating as an embedded finance FaaS will also benefit by leveraging the scale of the B2B supplier and merchant channel, accessing more businesses through wider mass distribution.
Soon, simply plugging in an embedded finance solution in to your existing CRM system will become a painless experience. B2B lending products of the future, through speed of underwriting and integrated data points, will be commonplace as an attractive option during the sales process.a
Article | June 1, 2021
The axing of third-party cookies by Google and the other major browser companies will require a major readjustment by financial services organisations.
The decision, coming fully into force next year, will effectively choke off the data that has enabled personalisation, optimised website interactions and driven much internet advertising. It is no comfort that the browser companies have acted because of fears about infringement of privacy and data protection legislation such as the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) in California.
The move will affect how UK financial services organisations interact with millions of people. More than three-quarters of Britons now use online banking and 14 million use digital-only banks, expecting a slick, light-touch interaction. So it appears that just as many people go digital, financial services organisations will no longer have access to information they need for personalisation, being unable to track where customers go on the internet after they have visited a bank’s website. All that data about individuals’ habits and preferences will be unavailable.
It seems catastrophic, but in reality, it is not. Financial organisations have a new opportunity to radically improve how they interact with web visitors and customers. AI-powered behavioural analytics offer far superior, real-time capabilities, using the data from the first-party cookies on their own website domains and where available, data from customers’ transaction histories.
The result is a solution that is faster, more accurate and responsive than conventional technology relying on cookie data owned and stored by third-party organisations. Instead of relying on such data for relatively rigid profiling and personalisation, behavioural analytics enables real-time interactions based on a more dynamic picture of how an individual’s requirements are changing.
The technology analyses all the browsing characteristics including time on site, speed of movement and page views, as well as more obvious features such as interest in specific products. Historical data added to the analysis includes what customers did on previous visits and the interval between those visits, establishing patterns where possible.
The flexible advantages of behavioural analytics hubs in financial services
Segmentation allows a bank to identify customers as soon as they arrive on its site, according to whether they are a new or existing customer. Their behaviour then indicates what they want. Knowing what customers are interested in is important. Customers visit financial services websites for a host of reasons – from seeking information, to opening accounts, exploring loans and mortgage offers, making or setting up new payments. They may also want advice about investments and savings, pensions or small business finance. Almost all of these requirements involve quite complex mental processes which financial organisations can influence while consumers are on their sites.
Collecting the data is not difficult – the skill is in making it actionable in an effective way, replicating the ability of a perceptive employee to read a customer’s state of mind. Banks can do this by setting up a behavioural analytics hub to understand what a customer’s behaviour means and how it can be optimised.
Using customised parameters, the hub will, for instance, trigger a screen notification that prompts the web visitor to fill in a form requesting an appointment. In the case of existing customers, the technology can correlate health insurance offers with spending on fitness, and, in general, savings and investment recommendations can be tailored to the client’s concerns or goals as revealed by their navigation of a bank’s website or mobile app.
Banks can set up analytics to see when consumers are behaving in a way that indicates they about to leave the website, allowing them to intervene with a notification that could include an offer. This provides a positive outcome and avoids the blanket use of offers that undermines profitability.
It is a more sophisticated and personalised approach that avoids annoying pop-ups or recommendations that fail to match individual preferences. As part of a single AI-powered segmentation platform, the technology enables banks to personalise marketing content in SMS messages and emails sent to consumers (who consent), which deliver far better results through precise targeting.
Solutions for last-mile interaction in the open banking era
The single platform approach also has another major advantage. It is much easier to implement and far more efficient and streamlined compared with separate solutions for different parts of the customer journey.
The benefits of using AI-powered segmentation solutions should be part of the financial sector’s broader strategy to transform its systems for the open banking era as we approach the end of third-party cookies. For established banks, the reality for some time has been that complexity of systems has undermined their ability to deliver a high-quality last mile. This they can now address without huge disruption or investment.
The alternative is for financial services organisations to become lost on an ocean of data, losing track of customers. Behavioural analytics will bring banks new insights into customers that surpass third-party cookie data, being actionable and accurate and in real time. To provide a streamlined and profitable experience for themselves and their millions of customers, banks must now employ the latest advances in AI-powered behavioural analytics.