What CTOs need to know about personalization | Blend
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April 13, 2022 in Thought leadership

4 minutes

What CTOs need to know: Key findings for personalization

The results are in. Technology leaders can pave the path to personalization that differentiates.

Tech stack image with persona on top of it

Not a CTO? Check out our posts for CDOs and heads of consumer lending.

Recently, Blend commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the state of personalization in the financial services sector. For many, personalization is a tech industry buzzword with strong ties to the retail industry and digital marketing. In reality, it is a strategic approach that, once turned into a core business practice, can help companies across the board provide relevant, interesting, and valuable interactions.

The results are in. How banks can unlock quick wins and lasting value reveals that financial services customers have come to expect experiential engagement across all touchpoints — an expectation whose importance is predicted to increase exponentially.

But what steps can CTOs and their teams take to deliver these innovative, personalized experiences? By adopting an easy-to-deploy solution that can let you test, learn, and see the tangible benefits that personalization approaches bring to the table, you can gain experience early on and use program outcomes to build a case for deeper deployment.

A technology blueprint for personalization success

Customers have said they are prepared to reward banks that can offer relevant, tailored experiences that provide meaningful guidance every step of the way. Laying a solid data foundation, intelligently leveraging customer sources, and applying those capabilities across all channels are non-negotiable to keep a competitive edge.

Harness customer insights with a foundation of solid data

A comprehensive understanding of customers’ needs and preferences is critical to harnessing the insights that make meaningful engagement possible. You can’t create value without a solid foundation, and data excellence is the foundational capability for programs that are designed to create more targeted and tailored experiences.

More mature organizations that have invested in a strategic personalization strategy realize there’s power in helping customers utilize their data sources, including assets, income, and transactional information, as well as third-party data. And where there’s power, there’s potential.

Focusing on structuring frontend data, so that it can be used effectively on the back end, eliminates unnecessary siloing and protects customers’ privacy. The real power lies in the ability to look at customer data across many different sources and then be able to create comprehensive consumer profiles.

Leverage data sources to power your analytical engine

There’s no point in tapping into customer data sources if you’re not planning on investing in innovative, compliant, and customer-focused ways to leverage them. Having access to so much data can be overwhelming, but knowing what to do with it is paramount. Your team can avoid analysis paralysis by translating relevant customer data into action. But first, you need a plan.

A smart personalization strategy, complete with a sound analytical engine, can translate to success across multiple key business priorities, like customer acquisition, cost reduction, and customer loyalty, to name a few.

“Mature banks excel at leveraging data to deliver valuable CX when and where customers need it.”¹

Using data to infer customers’ needs gives you the insight that is critical for providing them with contextually relevant offers, as well as the ability to serve potential future needs and services.

Apply capabilities and offers across the lifecycle and all channels

There are many personalization tactics out there, but if you’re not thinking strategically, you can end up with a disjointed, inconsistent customer experience. Teams often understand how a more personal experience can drive more engagement, but figuring out how to personalize the entire customer experience at scale remains more elusive.

“Our findings show that mature banks are obsessed with being there for customers where they’re needed…” ¹

Establishing a framework that empowers your team while maintaining governance over processes can make it possible to scale experiences that deliver one-to-one personalization across an entire suite of products. A broad stroke application across the customer lifecycle and all channels increases the value of your personalization efforts, as your team will be able to provide meaningful interactions and offers regardless of where customers are in their journeys.

¹A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Blend

Cultivate a personalization strategy now, for the future

The demand for personalized, contextualized, and dynamic engagement in financial services isn’t off on the horizon. It is already here. The world has assimilated technology into our quotidian routines. And with that, companies are perfectly poised to leverage those innovative capabilities to deliver what customers are asking for: meaningful human experiences.

Data sources, technological infrastructure, omnichannel strategies: the puzzle pieces are at our disposal. But putting them together in a way that makes sense for your organization can be complex. Read the report to dive deeper into how you can develop your personalization capabilities and meet customers where they are.

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