Personalized marketing: How financial brands like Edward Jones and KeyBank get ahead

Marketers across industries currently face an excess of options for marketing personalization. Users expect to see the experiences they get with their favorite retail brands in their interactions with brands every sector—including financial services. This often leaves financial services marketers with a steep learning curve to create and manage the tech stack to deliver true 1:You personalization to their customers and prospects.

Database management, multi-segment analytics and brand loyalty engagement all work together to create a personalized marketing system for a financial services company. A customized experience increases the likelihood that an individual customer is going to open more accounts and purchase more financial products from the same institution and therefore significantly increases the per customer profits and lifetime value. Additionally, highlighting the personalization of products for each customer based on their needs will cause them to buy.

With the right data sets to drive highly personal conversations with each individual, financial marketers can drive down the cost of customer acquisition through understanding the customer’s mind-set, identifying the true problem areas and offering meaningful solutions that resonate with each person.

But, financial marketers often struggle to create the personalized marketing content. In a study on personalization across industries, we found that only 59% of consumers think that the financial services industry is “nailing it” in online customization while 81% of consumers say that the online retail industry is.

Stephen Bierline of Alliance Data Systems defines personalization as “getting that right offer to the right customer at the right time.” With the right technology, this level of direct personalized content and communication is possible for financial marketers. A good email marketing system, with multi-channel customization, data integration and loyalty-building apps are key to delivering personalized content that truly resonates with each customer at every interaction point.


Edward Jones uses messaging personalization to drive app downloads

Customers expect to access their financial and personal information with a few clicks online or—more frequently now—with a tap on their phone. Financial services apps are necessary in the current market to increase customer lifetime value and decrease turnover. The key is building an app that is user-friendly and useful for your customers, accurately conveying the benefits to increase adoption and then using that information to understand more about each person’s financial habits and needs.

Edward Jones was facing just this situation. They added touch ID technology to their app for easier access and ease-of-use but needed to make sure their current and potential app-users were aware of these updates. Working with Epsilon, they developed an email strategy to incentivize app downloads and engagement.

A major challenge at the outset was that Edward Jones didn’t have segmentation between app users and non-app users. Using different strategies to identify users and non-users and then share different messaging based on creative best practices and design focused on engaging the users, Epsilon was able to help them see a 4x increase in app downloads and a 3.3% click rate.

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Personalized marketing needs to use more than just customer data and better email frameworks; the design needs to be engaging and dynamic to ensure messaging is the most relevant to the person on the receiving end. Without engagement, email and brand loyalty apps simply aren’t effective. The right design and email campaigns will increase engagement and increase the value of a loyalty app.

Attaining customer centricity in email marketing

Personalized email marketing is table-stakes for consumers today, but true email personalization is about a lot more than having the recipient’s first name in a subject line. And oftentimes the requirements for building personalized emails can’t easily be accomplished within the marketing team—even when they have numerous internal resources.

As an example, one of our customers—a leading global bank—was struggling to attain customer-centricity for their email strategy. They had more than 16 different custom-built templates for email loyalty reward marketing campaigns. Although the 16 templates were great for delivering a personalized customer experience, the internal custom builds were costly to maintain, introduced extra operational risks and created brand consistency problems.

To start, we audited their existing personalized marketing communications to understand their program and identify commonly used elements. Then, we created a responsive wireframe for their email architecture that would design, code and deploy their most critical loyalty program emails. This freed their teams from managing an unwieldy custom-built system and provided a more responsive and diverse marketing system.

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In large financial services organizations, marketers are often using software to manage their email marketing that was never designed to provide the specific customization, security and brand needs of their organization. By leveraging a technology partner that understands data and creativity, financial marketers can more seamlessly deliver true marketing personalization to their customers and prospects.

KeyBank leverages cross-channel personalization

The number of potential marketing channels has fragmented and multiplied over the past 20 years, making it that much more difficult to identify what customers you’re talking to and on what channel. In fact, a recent Forrester Consulting study found that 30% of financial services marketers ranked “lack of accuracy” as their #1 issue with identity resolution.

With so much uncertainty, marketers are left with many potential ways to communicate with their customers but limited technology to create a truly customized, focused personalized marketing campaign across multiple channels.

KeyBank wanted to expand their market without the branch density of many of their competitors. The low branch density stretched marketing dollars too far, making it difficult to have a highly focused, customized communication system for each market. They turned to Epsilon to help drive personalization throughout their cross-channel communications.

KeyBank was able to create almost a one-to-one marketing communication system with each of their customers, helping to move individuals down the sales funnel. With this new strategy, the KeyBank marketing team climbed out of the weeds of the labor-intensive sales process of many traditional banks and created a more agile, diverse communication system that increased brand awareness and sales.

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Final thoughts

Personalized multi-channel content is key to driving sales in any modern business. With the right tech stack and designs in place, financial service marketers can create personalized marketing content that meets a diverse user base with targeted information—and automate that at scale—on whatever device they use to access the content.

Interested in learning more about how Epsilon can help financial brands achieve their goals? Learn more about our marketing technology solutions