While the last two years of the pandemic-driven digital embrace have transformed purchase behavior, it will take more than just digitization of consumer journeys and purchase funnel to integrate brands at the right stage in the ‘consumer funnel’ shares Jasneet Bachal, CMO, YES Bank
Well, it’s that time of the year again. The season of celebration. Months of digital interactions, online gatherings, virtual meetings, and entertainment are now touched by a nip in the air and a spring in the step. And even as we yoyo between the normal and the new normal, there are still some constants to rely upon this season: joyous celebrations and shopping.
A few things have changed though, from the way we talk to the way we purchase. For instance, imagine in the last dash of shopping, you need a quick reference for gifts. Who would you turn to? The answer is beginning to redefine the traditional purchase funnel: search. Whether shopping online or offline, search is the go-to destination for information, purchase choices, or plain old window shopping. The banking and financial services industry (BFSI) has not been an exception to this.
The last two years have seen a marked rise in searches for banking products, with an 89% increase in searches for ‘credit cards’ and ‘personal loans’ over the past twelve months alone.
Even products with a usual offline or hybrid fulfillment process are now searched, mostly to understand what the offering is and to self-educate oneself on financial products. Incidentally, “how to invest money” and “what is a mutual fund” are among the most searched phrases in the industry.
Across industries but especially with financial services, as consumers are personalizing their purchase journeys, the challenge for brands is to be a part of the process. While the last two years of the pandemic-driven digital embrace have transformed purchase behavior, it will take more than just digitization of consumer journeys to integrate brands at the right stage in the ‘consumer funnel’.
With the consumer at the core, the brand journey into the consumer funnel rests upon three tenets:
- Deciphering consumer intent
- Translating it into journeys
- Unlocking lifetime value through personalization
Deciphering Consumer Intent: The Data Blend
KYC. Three simple yet misunderstood letters in the BFSI are the keystones to discovering consumer intent. While access to technology has eased data capture, analytics, and interpretation, financial services have always held the key to the goldmine of first-party data. The magic of deciphering the consumer’s intent lies in blending first-party data with the data trail left by the consumer across third-party sites.
The smoothening of the journey through the consumer funnel would require seamlessly integrating first- and third-party data. Learning what the consumer is engaging with and searching for would help brands move a step closer to the holy grail of personalization. This helps achieve the dual purpose of engaging existing customers and acquiring new consumers. Insights from blended data have the capability to enable the transition from relationship to loyalty.
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Translating Intent to Journeys
The quest for brands across industries to be an integral part of the consumer’s search predates recent digital savviness. This has further been layered with content-led marketing, from blogs to vlogs — memes to reels — in a bid to translate intent to brand affinity and eventually product consumption. While the blend of third- and first-party data drives this journey, financial services brands can truly start building curated journeys by ‘de-jargonizing’ solutions. Redefined journeys have been engaging consumers, but simplifying the way we introduce products and services has to be front and center of financial services marketing across platforms. It is the time to show and tell.
Unlocking Lifetime Value through Personalization
The segment of one has been a lifetime quest for brands, the final piece of the jigsaw before they can acquire and engage consumers. While consumers seek relevant, personalized, even tailor-made solutions, the cost-benefit conundrum has been a stumbling block. Here again, the way ahead has always been simpler for finserv players. First-party data are used by banks to measure consumer lifetime value. Consumer preference footprints are spread across the web. Instead of focusing solely on metrics like cost per lead or acquisition, combining the power of consumer lifetime value measurements with the profiling capability of search, publisher platforms and ad networks provide the key to prioritizing personalization. A personalization priority funnel and related content investments would pave the way from engaged to loyal to valuable customers.
Similarly, while predictive analytics is already used in banking to assess, say, customer creditworthiness, it can also be utilised for personalization, content creation, and developing relevant nudges across the consumer journey enabling ‘cross-sell by choice’.
While the festive season has a span, the season of celebrating consumer intent is ongoing for marketers in the BFSI sector. The trifecta of data blending, understanding intent, and personalization can mould a new funnel, one that is driven by consumers and layered with brand solutions of their choice.
Views expressed are personal by Jasneet Bachal – Chief Marketing Officer, YES Bank