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Modernizing Financial Customer Journeys with Optimized Personalization and Salesforce Marketing & Data Clouds

Zennify Optimization Series: Data and Marketing Cloud for Financial Services. This is the blog cover.
Image of trends that reflect changes in technology, customer behavior, and the broader economic environment. In order to achieve personalization at scale, banks and other financial institutions need to be better at their digital and mobile expansion, leverage AI and Machine Learning, use big data and analytics, be better at omnichannel marketing, comply with regulations, and increase focus on customer experience.
These six trends reflect the changes in technology, customer behavior, and the broader economic environment within the financial services industry

Personalization in banking and the effective use of data to enhance the customer experience has become a crucial factor when attracting and retaining customers. Financial institutions recognize the competitive edge that effective personalization can provide and are increasingly investing in enhancing their capabilities in this area. According to a study cited by Blend, financial services firms are lagging behind other industries in delivering effective personalization, with only 14% of banking customers viewing their banks as “extremely effective” at providing relevant experiences and offers. This comparison with other sectors is reshaping consumer expectations, making it essential for banks to adopt more sophisticated personalization strategies to remain competitive.​

One area of marketing where banks and credit unions of all sizes can do a lot better is in their use of data

The Financial Brand

With an effective enterprise and connected data strategy, financial institutions can start providing hyper-personalization: this approach is driven by the collection and analysis of extensive customer data, including account usage, transaction history, and personal preferences. By employing hyper-personalization, banks can offer customized product recommendations, create personalized dashboards for customers, and predict future financial needs, significantly enhancing the customer experience. For instance, banks might use spending patterns to suggest higher-yield savings accounts to frequent savers or offer customized loan terms based on a customer’s financial goals​.

The move towards hyper-personalization is not just about staying competitive; it’s also about responding to the changing behaviors and expectations of customers in the digital age. The demand for personalized banking experiences is on the rise, with customers preferring institutions that can offer convenience, relevance, and value tailored to their individual needs. Banks that have implemented mature personalization strategies are seeing tangible benefits, including improved customer acquisition and retention, better understanding of customer needs, and enhanced ability to cross-sell products without significantly increasing costs​.

To meet customers’ personalization needs and address changing customer preferences, financial institutions need to start optimizing how to integrate the data and insights from their core systems, with other technology platforms like a CRM platform (read “How to Future Proof Your Banking Institution with Salesforce Financial Services Cloud”) and marketing platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s unparalleled ability to build personalized customer journeys through advanced data integration sets the stage for a new era of targeted marketing in the banking, wealth management, and insurance sectors. By connecting comprehensive data sources, including CRM and transactional insights, Salesforce Marketing Cloud empowers these institutions to deliver custom-tailored messages and services, significantly enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

This platform’s robust security features and regulatory compliance capabilities further cement its position as the go-to marketing solution, ensuring that financial entities can navigate the complex landscape of industry regulations while safeguarding sensitive customer data. Salesforce Marketing Cloud also provides advanced analytics and AI-driven insights open doors to optimized marketing strategies, driven by a deep understanding of customer behaviors and market trends. Moreover, Salesforce’s rich ecosystem of apps, integrations, and industry-specific tools, such as those provided by integration partners like Zennify, offer an expansive suite of capabilities designed to tackle the unique challenges faced by financial services. With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, financial institutions are equipped to deliver a seamless, omnichannel customer experience, setting a new standard for digital engagement in the financial sector.

Salesforce Data Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud are related yet distinct components within the Salesforce ecosystem, designed to enhance customer engagement and experience by leveraging data in different but complementary ways.

Salesforce Data Cloud, formerly known as Salesforce CDP (Customer Data Platform), is a platform that ingests and stores real-time data streams at a massive scale, combining it with Salesforce data to enable highly personalized customer experiences. It extends the capabilities of the traditional Customer Data Platform across Salesforce’s entire product portfolio, known as “Customer 360”. Data Cloud is optimized for unifying data, identity resolution, and activating data across the entire Salesforce suite, including sales, service, marketing, and more. It’s designed to work with a broad range of data sources and types, harmonizing data streams into a single customer profile, which is then used across various Salesforce applications to drive personalized interactions and insights.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud, on the other hand, is a digital marketing platform that focuses specifically on marketing automation and analytics for email, mobile, social, and online marketing. While it also utilizes data for personalized marketing campaigns, its primary function is within the realm of marketing segmentation, campaign management, and engagement across multiple channels​.

Data has always been the foundation of CRM. Deeply integrated into the Einstein 1 Platform, Data Cloud makes all your data natively available across all Salesforce applications — Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Tableau, and MuleSoft — to power automation and business processes and inform AI. – Explore Salesforce Data Cloud here.

The integration between Data Cloud and Marketing Cloud Engagement allows for a seamless flow of data between the two platforms, enabling marketers to leverage the unified data and insights generated by Data Cloud for more targeted and personalized marketing efforts within the Marketing Cloud. This integration empowers organizations to create and deliver personalized customer journeys based on a comprehensive understanding of each customer, derived from the vast data capabilities of Data Cloud​.

Customers want to be met at their transaction point of choice, and they want highly personalized services that appear at the right moments. This means that traditional siloed business models must evolve into overarching, connected platforms. These platforms use data collected from user interactions – captured via a CRM and a banking core – to improve services and create personalized experiences. 

In the dynamic landscape of financial services, Salesforce is at the forefront, driving innovation with its Financial Services Cloud and leveraging AI and Data Cloud to redefine personalized customer experiences. The Financial Services Cloud is specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of the banking, insurance, and wealth management sectors, enabling these institutions to deliver services that are not just personalized but also deeply intuitive and responsive to individual client needs. By harnessing the power of AI, financial institutions can predict and address customer requirements proactively, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Moreover, the integration of Salesforce’s Data Cloud ensures that customer data from various sources is unified, providing a 360-degree view of each customer. This consolidated data, powered by AI analytics, allows financial services providers to offer bespoke advice and solutions, truly transforming the client engagement model. This strategic approach not only elevates the customer experience but also streamlines operations, allowing financial institutions to focus on innovation and growth. 
Since the acquisition of ExactTarget, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is now entering its 11th year serving organizations globally (ExactTarget was founded in December 2000 and acquired by Salesforce in 2013, becoming Salesforce Marketing Cloud). For financial institutions that have adopted and used it heavily, there are 11 years’ worth of best practices, community expertise, platform growth, and digital enhancements that can significantly impact your digital marketing and customer engagement performance.

Zennify is working with an increasing number of financial institutions in banking, wealth management, insurance, and more, who need support with optimizing their use of Marketing Cloud to drive greater usage, adoption, and return on investment.To help deliver these services more effectively (and faster), we’ve developed a structured approach to optimization engagements. 

  1. Understand Business Objectives: Clearly define what your financial organization wants to achieve with SFMC, be it customer acquisition, retention, increased engagement, or enhanced customer experience.
  2. Conduct a Gap Analysis and Provide Recommendations: Evaluate the current state of Marketing Cloud and identify gaps or areas with key stakeholders where it is not fully meeting business needs. This involves assessing how well current features are utilized and identifying any processes that are not adequately supported. Zennify will offer perspective on what we’re seeing in the marketplace.
  3. Data Management and Integration: Ensure that customer data is accurately integrated into SFMC. This involves data cleansing, deduplication, and establishing a single customer view for targeted marketing.
  4. Segmentation and Personalization: Utilize SFMC’s data analytics tools to segment customers effectively and personalize marketing messages and offers based on customer behavior, preferences, and history.
  5. Journey Mapping: Use SFMC’s Journey Builder to create and optimize customer journeys. This includes automating communications based on customer actions and lifecycle stages.
  6. Test and Iterate: Implement A/B testing for emails and other marketing communications to determine the most effective strategies and content.
  7. Leverage AI and Predictive Analytics: Utilize Einstein AI for predictive analytics and to gain deeper insights into customer behavior and campaign performance.
  8. Training and Adoption: Ensure that the marketing team and relevant staff are adequately trained to use SFMC effectively. Continuous learning and adaptation are key.
  9. Compliance and Security: Especially important for financial institutions, ensure that marketing strategies and data handling comply with regulatory requirements.
  10. Regular Audits and Performance Monitoring: Regularly audit the use of SFMC to identify areas of improvement and monitor performance against KPIs.

Optimizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud is crucial for banks to ensure they are getting the most out of their investment, staying compliant, and providing superior customer experiences. A Salesforce implementation partner can be a valuable asset in this process, offering expertise, support, and tailored solutions. When considering a partner to work with, we recommend assessing the partner on these aspects: 

  • Look for industry-specific expertise and experience: A solution is only as good as the context it’s implemented within. A partner with specialized financial services knowledge and experience can ensure that your Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform is set up and customized effectively to your business objectives and works well with your existing banking core.
  • Customization: Help customize SFMC to the bank’s specific needs, considering unique business processes and goals.
  • Best Practices: They can guide on best practices and industry standards, helping to avoid common pitfalls and ensuring a more successful implementation.
  • Training and Support: They provide training and support to ensure smooth adoption and ongoing efficiency of the system.
  • Integration Assistance: Assist in integrating SFMC with other systems and ensuring data integrity and security.
  • Continuous Improvement: Help in setting up processes for continuous monitoring and improvement of the SFMC utilization.

Zennify Depends on Your Success. Guaranteed.

At Zennify, we’ve hyper-focused on improving the way we deliver projects to be the most efficient and effective partner in the Salesforce ecosystem; this means investing in AI technologies and process rigor to improve delivery operations, while also committing ourselves financially to your business outcomes and ROI. Our Success Guarantee program ensures we’re truly invested in the success of your transformation.

Check out the first three installments of Zennify’s Optimization Strategies for Financial Institutions here:

  1. Salesforce Optimization Strategies for Financial Institutions in 2024
  2. How Optimizing Salesforce Financial Services Cloud Can Future-Proof Your Financial Institution
  3. Preparing for Unified Digital Transformation and Open Banking with MuleSoft

Need help optimizing your Salesforce experience? Reach out here

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