With so many mobile and online banking companies arising, you might think that brick-and-mortar bank branches are dying. They’re not completely dead, but there’s still a continuous rise in alternate forms of banking (namely in the fintech category). Salesforce’s 2017 Connected Banking Customer Report shows that “83% of millennials, 79% of Gen Xers, and 62% of baby boomers have used payment services provided by fintech companies.”

On top of all this, retail banking customers simply aren’t as loyal as they used to be. Unless you live in a fairly small or rural town, you might not even visit your bank branch that often. Those personal connections that used to be the norm in retail banking — and a vital part of customer retention since everyone had to go to the bank at some point — seem to be fading away, much like good ol’ paper money. In fact, the World Retail Banking Report says that only 55% of customers are likely to stay with their bank for the next six months.

Convenience and ease of use, at least for the millennial crowd, are big drivers in the shift toward more fintech adoption. Retail banks, however, still have a golden opportunity to personalize their marketing efforts to meet these changing banking preferences.


How Retail Banks Can Get Personal


Retail banks have access to tons of data that could allow them to provide personalized marketing to their customers. But customers are still wary of banks having their personal information, so there’s a delicate balance in using such intimate knowledge for marketing purposes.

Consider this. Approximately 66% of Americans with a checking or savings account said security of personal data is an important factor when selecting a bank for their accounts, and only 48% say they trust their bank with personal information — they don’t trust their banks to handle their personal information safely and appropriately.

This leads to an important discussion about permission. Whether delivering a personalized email series about the home-buying process or sending SMS alerts, the first hurdle in building trust — and getting more personal — is to ask. Getting permission doesn’t have to be siloed to digital spheres either.

Imagine a customer walks into a retail banking location to talk about opening a new savings account. This is a huge milestone in that customer’s financial life. Are they thinking about buying a house in the future? Are they getting married? Starting a college fund? Saving for retirement?

With 37% of customers saying that personalized customer service from tellers or other employees at a bank is an important factor in their banking decisions, retail banks can’t afford to miss out on this in-person opportunity. A teller might find out that a customer is saving for a house for the first time. If that’s the case, the teller can give the customer a small one-sheet with a call to action to visit a landing page. On the landing page, there is a short form asking the customer to sign up for an email series geared toward first-time homebuyers. Now, that face-to-face interaction at the branch goes digital, turning the home-buying experience into an opportunity for more personalized marketing.

How can banks actually use and collect more data, though — and scale their efforts?

One answer may lie in a data management platform (DMP). As Chris O’Hara, Head of Global Marketing for Salesforce DMP, said, “Modern enterprises need to become more obsessive about valuing data. Every scrap of data becomes a small stitch in a rich tapestry that forms a view of the customer.” DMPs allow companies to capture, unify, and activate data to engage current customers, but can also analyze billions of data points to develop new target audiences, broadening reach to prospective customers.

This is also where artificial intelligence contributes to more personalized marketing opportunities. For example, the Retail Banking: Bridging the Gap from AI to ROI white paper said, “Customer service teams can deliver next-generation, proactive service using smart, self-service tools — thus heading off many basic, time-consuming inquiries.”

The possibilities for retail banking companies to make experiences personal — without losing trust — are nearly endless.

Check out Retail Banking: Bridging the Gap from AI to ROI and our 2017 Connected Banking Customer Report for more information on how banks can use personalized marketing to enhance customer experiences.