Skip to main content

Select your location

Opticon 2022

I recently had the opportunity to attend a session at the Optimizely Opticon 2022 Customer Conference in San Diego. It featured a fascinating discussion about a regional bank’s success in implementing several new technology-related products to enhance customer experiences. Specifically, the team was able to deliver content recommendations and experimentation features that nudge its customer journeys toward starting actual conversations with financial advisors and bank representatives. 

The session was packed with great insights, so I wanted to take a quick moment to reflect on its lessons for other financial institutions (and customers of all types) that might be looking to do something similar.

How did the team approach the business case?

What stood out in the discussion was how they approached senior leadership to take on these new opportunities, especially given the highly regulated nature of the industry.

It helped that the stakeholders who identified the opportunities had the benefit of perspectives from external industries. In fact, having a consumer-oriented mindset was instrumental in determining which features would be most impactful when it came to achieving their goals. 

On top of that was a recognition that senior management stakeholders spoke another language—one that was heavily biased toward data-driven decision-making. They didn’t think in vague terms like ‘brand awareness’ or ‘customer engagement’ and instead cared mostly about the tactical KPIs that governed the core bank’s business, namely: 

- The number of accounts being opened;
- Customers proven to use adjacent products and services offered by the bank; 
- Customer retention metrics; and 
- Assets managed by the bank.

To that end, new leadership was brought into the marketing team and a new approach to building business cases was born. Qualified leads became a core metric because the team was able to use data to demonstrate a correlation between lead generation and account openings and utilization increases. 

Cross-selling opportunities became important to measure because they were again based purely on analytical data. They used data that demonstrated how existing customers could also be persuaded through digital channels to increase their usage of banking products and services.

The team was also able to initiate a framework that demonstrated the effectiveness of content and campaigns in driving specific outcomes. However, they only had a limited understanding and a strong desire to better complete the picture through experimentation (A/B and multivariate testing) and content recommendations. 
Large room with mainly men standing around chatting. Bright screens high on the wall.

Practicing anticipation and enabling participation

By connecting specific features (content recommendations and experimentation) to customer journeys that were already proven to have business value, they were able to align their goals with the senior management’s view of worthwhile investment opportunities. Another important difference that drove better results was considering the likely objections of the senior management team before presenting the request. 

Knowing the number of regulations to comply with, the marketing team decided not to automate product recommendations, but did proceed with content recommendations. It’s a subtle, but important distinction: financial services firms must be exceptionally careful when it comes to understanding client suitability and product selection. In fact, this aspect of the client relationship is so important to the bank that the team created an internal rule. It was determined that actual product recommendations must be delivered by client advisors and done only after a larger analysis of the client’s portfolio.

Anticipating these objections became much easier by engaging with compliance, audit and legal stakeholders to ensure that marketing was aware of the subtle differences and rules to be considered. It also ensured that these critical teams—any of whom could throw a roadblock into the request—were onboard before the request even reached the senior management team. In effect, it gave the marketing team the ability to have more people at the table who were already on their side.
Large room with mainly men standing around chatting. Bright screens high on the wall.

Taking the unified route to transformation

Connecting marketing’s needs with existing senior management goals allowed the business case to be attached to something that was already understood and prioritized at the highest levels of the organization.

By the time the business case was finally presented to the larger executive management team, any blockades had been removed and the initiatives were connected to larger corporate strategies that had funding attached. The result? Immediate approval for both content recommendations and experimentation to be built into the bank’s digital experience ecosystem.

This example demonstrates how important it is to think about how to achieve the collective goals of an organization, no matter our discipline, department or individual set of targets.

The right approach to such transformation transcends technology and extends to people. It involves thinking both strategically and innovatively to determine the tactical steps that will help us realize our collective goals. It ultimately demonstrates the power of proactive approaches to driving initiatives and objectives across an entire organization

Learn how we can help you unlock your digital potential with Optimizely

Discuss your project with us


Share this article

Show me all