Marketing’s role in data analytics

By Mark Gibson

Not a day goes by that a bank marketer does not hear about how important the right data and effective analytics are to maximizing marketing’s impact in the organization. Whether it is to identify the next cross-sell opportunity or to personalize customer interactions, it all starts with data analytics.

DON’T MISS IT: This article summarizes survey data Mark Gibson will speak about during a session titled How Bank Marketers are Making the Most of Data Analytics at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Denver Sept. 11-13. Register here.
That is why American Bankers Association focused its most recent member survey in July 2022 on the topic of how marketers are making the most of data analytics in their institutions. The findings suggest that marketers are playing a key role in the data strategy of the bank and that marketers do have access to lots of the right kind of data. On the other hand, there are still improvements to be made regarding the quality of the data and being able to put it to productive use.

Marketers playing a key role

The survey first explored whether an institution has a written or documented data strategy plan and objectives. Not surprisingly, slightly less than half of all bankers responded that this exists at their institution. However, for those who did, three-quarters of bank marketers said they played a role in developing the bank’s data strategy. This builds on the heritage of the marketing function historically housing customer information, whether it be the householding algorithm, product and service ownership data, etc.

Marketers have access to lots of data

The survey next explored what type of customer data exists in the organization and whether the marketing function has ready access to it. The findings are very encouraging, with all the respondents saying they have access to product usage data, more than 80 percent having channel usage data, and 75 percent able to access and use cross-sell and customer segmentation data.

Not surprisingly, fewer marketers had product profitability information available, although that figure exceeded 60 percent. This is a common complaint since creating an effective budget for a marketing campaign is difficult if you are unable to quantify how much a new product or customer is worth to the organization.

Marketers are comfortable using data

Encouraging news from the survey is that most marketers are comfortable using data to make marketing or business decisions. Only three respondents noted they were very uncomfortable using data. This is critical because, while marketers may not be creating the data analytics, they need to have the skills to take that data and turn it into insight to guide the development of campaigns and other initiatives.

One of the most common applications of data is to use customer transactional behavior to identify specific sales opportunities. More than half the marketers responding said their institution was performing this activity.

Data quality may not be where we need it to be

One potentially concerning finding related to the quality of data bank marketers are using. When asked to rate the accuracy of the data they use frequently, fewer than 10 respondents were very confident in the accuracy, while 30 respondents were either somewhat or very uncertain about the accuracy (rating accuracy a 1 or 2 out of 5).

Opportunity to use data more effectively

Another key finding of the survey is that bank marketers see an opportunity for their institutions to improve the use of data. The survey asked about how data was being used for programs such as branding, product development, and cross-sell. Across the board, responses skewed toward the need to improve the effectiveness of data utilization.

First, a general question was asked regarding how effective the bank is in using data to support its brand and products. While 30 bankers rated their institution as somewhat or very effective (rating a 4 or 5 out of 5), 34 bankers said their institution was either somewhat or very ineffective (rating a 1 or 2) in using data for this purpose.

The next question is more specific to cross-sell, focusing on their bank’s ability to use customer data insights to target the best customers for a specific product. Results were very similar, with 30 bankers rating their institution as being effective (4 or 5) at using insights in this way, while 35 bankers said their institution was ineffective at this activity.

The road to data maturity

Taking a broad view of the findings, there appears to be a clear understanding of the importance of data analytics in moving the marketing department and the institution forward. Marketers have access to most of the customer data they need to do their jobs, and they are for the most part comfortable using that data to make informed decisions. There may be an opportunity to enhance either the real or perceived quality of data marketers are using, as well as stepping up the effective use of that data for critical programs like customer relationship deepening and new product development.

Bank marketers clearly understand that their roles have evolved to one that is driven by data and measurement of results. That should be good news for the banking industry.

Mark Gibson is senior consultant at Capital Performance Group, a strategic consulting firm that provides advisory, planning, analytic and project management services to the financial services industry. He can also be reached on LinkedIn.