Financial Services in APAC: Driving Success With the Right Data Strategy
One quality that many Asia-Pacific consumers share is a willingness to adapt and embrace technological advances. That tendency, together with massive disruptions triggered by the rise of COVID-19, has helped lead to a significant increase in adoption of digital finance in the region, from contactless payments to online banking.
The message this shift sends is clear: The old world of financial services is fading fast, and today’s financial industry needs to look forward, not back. For brands in the space, this new landscape is both exciting and daunting—in part because most of these companies aren’t leading this change, but rather working to keep up with a rise in demand generated by it.
On the positive side, consumers in APAC have shown that while they have come to expect a higher level of service in this new world, they’re generally more willing than their counterparts in Europe or North America to provide personal data to help make that possible. On the other hand, many financial services companies still find it hard to effectively apply the data they already have at their disposal—in fact, to get a holistic understanding of each customer, they’re likely to draw on a variety of data sources. The process of managing that data can be messy and time-consuming, and there’s often little clarity on how to apply data once it becomes available.
Marketers, take a deep breath. Sure, shaping an effective customer loyalty and engagement strategy takes skill, insight, and a deft touch. But with the right technology stack, it can become more manageable and less labor-intensive.
Set Yourself Up for Success With the Right Marketing Technology Stack
To take advantage of the opportunity presented by shifting consumer attitudes and a growing embrace of digital transformation, financial services brands need to invest time in building out a technology stack—not just any old stack, but one that’s tailored to meet their brand’s specific needs.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen more and more brands tying together top-flight technologies—customer engagement platforms (CEPs), analytics solutions, customer data platforms (CDPs), and more—in an effective way to support brilliant experiences for consumers. But what the right stack looks like for you brand is going to depend heavily on your particular goals and areas of focus. A tech stack shouldn’t be set in stone; the best ones evolve over time to meet the needs of your brand and its customers. But top-performing stacks tend to include both a CDP and a CEP. The two go hand-in-hand: the CDP unifies and makes data accessible in a central location, while the CEP puts it in context and makes it actionable, supporting powerful, responsive messaging.
Using a CDP like Tealium as part of a best-in-class marketing tech stack makes it possible for brands to collect, manage, and seamlessly transfer data wherever it's needed within that company's data ecosystem, allowing companies to make sure that everyone in their organisation who needs access to data can get it and supporting the creation of a true data-driven internal culture. Plus, by embracing an integrated technology stack, it's possible to improve integration timelines and performance across your full range of technologies by using your CDP as the connection layer, reducing dependencies without sacrificing speed or performance.
However, just as a technology stack should fit each company’s particular requirements, financial services brands must be ready to address customers as individuals, in real-time. Personalization has become something of a buzzword in the marketing space, but this kind of highly responsive customisation is a lot more than just a marketing gimmick; it’s something that’s today’s consumers have come to expect from a customer engagement perspective.
Drawing on engagement data—from browsing behavior to favorited products or services—brands can use personalization to create an ongoing conversation with their customers. In the finance space, companies such as Payomatic have used this approach to increase mobile application uptake and lifetime value. IBM has also seen conversions increase dramatically through lifecycle messaging.
These efforts factor in historical actions, queries, and actions to inform campaigns, updating future messaging based on how recipients respond to each message they get. By leveraging data using CDPs and CEPs, brands can better understand how customers live their daily lives and identify moments where communication can strengthen the connection between their products/services and audience.
Moving Beyond Cookies with First-Party Data
While data is central to brilliant, personalized customer experiences, it’s important to be thoughtful about what kinds of data you’re leveraging in your marketing programs. In recent years, we’ve seen landmark privacy legislation like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) complicate many companies’ reliance on third-party data. More recently, many marketers have grown concerned about the impending disappearance of third-party cookies and their potential impact on marketing programs.
Happily, cookies and third-party data have little bearing on truly impactful marketing as they are incapable of offering up more than generalisations about the individuals they purport to help brands understand. The future of personalization and engagement for the financial services space rests on the intelligent application of first-party data, which people choose to actively share with the brands they patronise.
Moving away from third-party data doesn’t mean brands now lack the data they need to build personalized, responsive experiences. They just need to invest fully in tools like CEPs that help them gain actionable data from consumers who opt in to share essential information. By using first-party data to power their marketing technology stack and support your personalization programs, marketers can ensure that their customer engagement strategy is effective, legally compliant, and built-to-last in an evolving privacy landscape.
In APAC’s financial services space, CDP and CEP adoption is growing fast, but in many ways it’s still in its early stages. Financial services brands that act now to transform the way they engage with their audiences have a real chance to get—and stay—ahead of the curve. The ability to determine which data will be genuinely useful, streamlining it and channelling it into thoughtful experiences will prove invaluable as financial services enters a more dynamic, customer-led era.
To go deeper into this theme and what it means for your business, read our full report on the future of personalization and the financial services sector in Asia-Pacific.