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Talking Personalization, Part 5: Financial Services

An interview with Paul Evers

In this series, we’ve interviewed technical, creative, data, and process experts at Merkle to gain insight into how organizations are creating more personalized experiences. This interview offers an industry-specific view of what is happening in the financial services industry as it relates to personalization with Paul Evers, EVP. Paul is a senior leader at Merkle, with a focus on delivering business impact through customer-led strategies for large-scale clients in the financial services industry.

1. What challenges are organizations facing in terms of strategy and delivering personalized experiences?

Most organizations significantly lack the ability to have a singular view of the customer and lack one personalization strategy that the entire organization follows. Most organizations are also very siloed from an operations standpoint. Being channel-focused leads to not having a unified customer strategy. There is a ton of urgency for financial organizations to provide a digital experience that duplicates the rich branch experience. Many organizations are launching purely digital experiences intended to be more personal and win loyalty.

2. How does organizational readiness enable organizations to deliver on personalized experiences?

Organizations that operate in silos have no owner of personalization or an organization-wide strategy. Businesses invest heavily in technology, but it is usually not woven together. There is a significant content requirement needed for media and channel as well. The content is not just about the offer. Financial organizations must also deal with many regulatory issues for content development and how to measure content effectiveness across channels.

3. What are some key questions organizations should ask vendors and partners?

It is less about what you ask vendors and more about a plan for how the partner fits within the personalization plan. If you hire a vendor for site optimization, how does that vender fit into the whole ecosystem?  You should vet your vendor against your integration plan.

4. What questions should organizations ask themselves when it comes to personalization? 

What is your integration plan?  Pick what you will own and what you rely on your vendors for. The organization needs to own the overall integration plan. This requires a different type of vendor management. Organizations need to manage their vendors against the integration plan and not just core capabilities.

5. What trends do you see forming in personalization?

From an industry perspective, banks building pure digital brands and re-aligning operating models is becoming a growing trend. There is a lot of experimenting with global decisioning which is where CDP’s will come into play – Audience orchestrating platform.

Our next interview in this series will be with David Magrini EVP, Merkle Health.