Marketing for financial services is difficult. In this article we show how several of the big challenges were tackled by an implementation of Odyssiant at RBS.

A good way to “heard the cats” and to understand the challenges for financial services marketing is by using the “4P’s of marketing” and reviewing the questions that you need to ask to define your marketing mix.

Product: What does your customer want from your product? Which needs does it satisfy? FS products can be complicated but more than that, identifying the needs that your product fulfils is very tough and can be an endless list – literally, anything money can buy!  For a “simple view”, however, the things that money can buy can be “grouped” to give us some head start on the customer’s product needs, for example: home, car, security and a safe future which translate to mortgages, loans, insurance and pensions. But transactional data doesn’t tell you anything about the customer’s needs. Obviously, this is at the highest level as there are as many financial products as there are needs that they fulfil but there is also the problem of who the customer is – for financial services it is B2C and B2B and actually whole lot of other models!

Place: How can customers discover your products? How can you access the right distribution channels? Do you need relationship managers or a sales force? How does “digital” work for your business?

Price: What is the value of your product to the customer? Is the customer price sensitive? How will you compare to the competition? Again, you have to connect to the needs that you are fulfilling indirectly to understand the value your product has to the customer.

Promotion: Where and when can you get your messages across to your target market? Timing is one the hardest things to get right for Financial Services. Firstly, timing is totally driven by the customer because if they don’t need a loan (or any other product), now you won’t get a response. Secondly, some financial products are very “low contact” (but with a long life) and maybe you only interact with your customer once per year so you don’t have the opportunity to engage. Traditional campaign approaches are all at a moment in time, therefore you will always be engaging only a small portion of your target audience for any campaign.

At RBS we took a different approach than the traditional methods to solve these challenges.

But first some context:

The focus of the ICE implementation is for the Asset Finance product for businesses over £5m in turnover. The goal is to generate leads for the Lombard brand from marketing to be passed to relationship managers. Before the start of the project, no leads were being generated from marketing. Contact with customers was at most once per year with the relationship manager. Customers’ needs may be discovered by the relationship managers, but this is ad hoc and in their heads!

What the implementation of ICE achieved for RBS:

  • Consistent flow of leads created on a monthly basis.
  • Leads are “marketing qualified” with identified needs and customer timing requirements.
  • Ongoing sustained engagement – always on. Works on the customer’s time and is there when they are ready. (Engagement rates are significantly higher than for other communications and campaigns. Also, significantly higher than the industry average.)
  • Detailed needs analysis by Persona and individual.
  • Deep insight into buying, rollover, loyalty and other customer behaviour’s not previously possible.

The highlights of the implementation:

  • Created a new way of communicating that creates sustained, ongoing engagement with customers, reigniting relationships that have gone quiet.
  • Took customers on a buying journey using needs-based content using an engagement AI.
  • Created way of communicating that is not constrained by marketing suppression flags and GDPR.