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THE PERSONALIZATION PUZZLE: PIECING TOGETHER CLIENT NEEDS FOR OPTIMAL ENGAGEMENT

Aalekh Bhatt
08 July 2024

In the dynamic landscape of financial services, where digital disruption and evolving client expectations reign supreme, personalization is no longer a fad, but a necessity to survive and thrive. Just like a complex puzzle, each client problem represents a unique piece demanding meticulous attention to unlock optimal engagement.

The key lies in understanding the nuances of individual client needs and preferences, from their behaviors and aspirations to their pain points. To truly resonate, financial institutions must embark on a journey of discovery, piecing together a comprehensive personalization strategy that fosters deeper connections and drives meaningful engagement. However, building such a strategy requires a robust foundation.

Three crucial aspects underpin this approach, acting as those elements that work together to form the bigger picture: technology and data, the right operating model, and a culture of experimentation.

Putting together the corner pieces: User research

The initial step in crafting a robust personalization strategy begins with in-depth user research. Just as assembling a puzzle begins with finding the corner to establish a framework, developing a strategy encompassing both quantitative and qualitative inputs to thoroughly understand the users’ needs, wants, and aspirations provides the framework for the personalization strategy. Quantitative research, like customer surveys and website analytics, acts like those corner puzzle pieces, providing the basic framework. It reveals trends in demographics, preferences, and behaviors, allowing you to grasp the “what” of your customer base. However, to truly understand the “why” behind the numbers and create a personalized experience that resonates, qualitative research becomes the essential edge piece. Through in-depth interviews, focus groups, and user testing, you gain invaluable insights into your customers’ emotions, motivations, and aspirations.

Discovering the unique pieces: Identifying distinct client archetypes

Creating distinct client archetypes (personas) can refine the personalization process, by providing a clear understanding of various aspects such as target audiences, investment preferences, risk tolerance, and financial goals. This approach adds depth and dimension to the framework, akin to finding unique puzzle shapes that fit together perfectly. For example, a young professional saving for a first home will have different needs and expectations compared to a retiree managing their nest egg. Aligning your user research with these personas ensures that your strategy resonates with each distinct segment of your target audience.

Revealing the bigger picture: Creating personalization concepts based on customer needs and wants

With the blueprint of client archetypes, financial service providers enter the phase of crafting personalized experiences. This stage mirrors placing puzzle pieces strategically, each aligning with the bigger picture to form a complete image. Here, the focus shifts from understanding to action, translating research insights into tangible personalization concepts. These concepts should address the specific needs and desires of each customer segment. Designing bespoke puzzle pieces for each archetype ensures they seamlessly fit into the overall picture while adding a unique touch that resonates with individual preferences. For instance, a young professional saving for their first home might benefit from personalized savings tools and educational resources on mortgage options, while a retired investor might appreciate tailored investment recommendations and wealth management strategies. By creating such targeted concepts, financial institutions cater to the specific puzzle pieces representing each customer’s unique financial journey.

The 3 crucial elements: Technology and data, operating model, and a culture of experimentation

To unlock the power of hyper-personalization at scale, three crucial elements demand your attention: technology and data, the right operating model, and a culture of experimentation. By focusing on these core elements financial institutions can build a strong foundation for their personalization journey. Technology and data empower financial institutions to gather deep client insights, enabling them to tailor experiences and offerings. Conducting a tech and data assessment is akin to sorting your puzzle pieces. It helps identify the strengths and weaknesses in your content, decision-making tools, cross-channel orchestration, and overall data strategy. Similarly, the right operating model acts as the glue that binds the puzzle pieces together. To achieve a truly personalized experience at scale, the operating model of an organization should be holistically aligned to a customer-centric approach. Finally, a culture of experimentation is akin to having a diverse pool of puzzle pieces. It encourages exploring new ideas, testing different strategies, and iterating based on results.

Piecing the complete puzzle together: Change management and value realization

Crafting a winning personalization strategy involves meticulous implementation of concepts, effective change management, and value realization. This entails comprehensive rollout plans, clear communication, and ongoing support for successful adoption. Change management ensures stakeholders embrace the new approach, akin to a coordinated team assembling a puzzle. Yet, the journey doesn’t end there. Consistent measurement and value realization are crucial for unlocking personalization’s true potential. Organizations should develop a value realization framework that is aligned with their key business objectives. Monitoring and analyzing these metrics ensure ongoing value delivery and enhanced customer experiences. By methodically addressing each aspect of the puzzle, you can create a comprehensive personalization strategy that not only meets but also exceeds client expectations. This way, your organization can become more customer-centric, foster deeper connections, and ultimately, unlock the true potential of personalization in today’s dynamic financial landscape.

Meet our experts

Aalekh Bhatt

Go To Market lead – Digital Marketing, UK Banking
Aalekh drives the Digital Marketing services got-to-market for UK banking and capital market clients. He works on helping client marketing organizations embrace customer-centricity. His key areas of focus are experience transformation, content, customer data and martech across banking, wealth management and payment services domains.