Marketing Lessons from The Pandemic: Personalization is More Important Than Ever to a Good Customer Experience


Personalization in marketing is an essential component of a good customer experience, this we know. But in the post-pandemic world, the practice has taken on new significance. Digital marketing strategies have been reimagined—necessarily—to address the “new normal.”

Home is now where the office is, but these days, it’s also where we shop, work out, and spend our downtime. An excellent customer experience recognizes that things have changed but that day-to-day reality is not the same for everyone. Data-driven personalization lets your marketing speak directly to the customer while respecting their circumstances more precisely.

After all, you wouldn’t deliver the same messaging to low-risk financial customers as you would to those with high risk. Their concerns are different. While they will both buy, one needs significantly more compassion and sound advice while the other will likely spend on experiences and products that offer good value and make them happy.

Data is the Key

Personalization helps you reach customers and prospects in meaningful ways. However, it’s about more than just delivering the right message; it’s about the right message at the right time on the right channels. Ultimately, that means looking beyond the data you’re already collecting to gain deeper insights.

More detailed insights enable you to focus on delivering your messaging “just-in-time,” answering customer intent with greater accuracy and strengthening your relationship with them.

Customers today want more relevant interactions. They like to feel that the companies they deal with understand their needs and are evolving to suit them. Of course, this was true before COVID, but it’s even more critical now.

If you put personalization on the back-burner because of the pandemic, now’s the time to get back on the train. If you want to stay relevant to your customers when face-to-face interactions are fewer and farther between, omnichannel personalization is a way to keep them at the heart of everything you do and gain their loyalty at the same time.

How The Pandemic Created Opportunities

COVID changed our world as we know it. Retail was already in crisis mode, but the ecommerce surge accelerated change. Some companies barely survived, while others flourished in the wake of all the disruption. Industries that were already fully invested in digitization were at a massive advantage as it enabled them to pivot operations and continue to provide services, sometimes even more efficiently than they had done before.

As millions of people shifted to work from home, online services became more than just a nice to have—they made it possible to carry on.

Many financial services organizations were well-positioned to thrive in the post-pandemic landscape as key technology was already in place. The surge in online activity gave organizations so much more data to work with, enabling even deeper insights into the buyer journey, customer behavior, and search trends, helping brands reimagine all the ways they leverage personalization.

As the data flooded in, organizations were uniquely positioned to extract meaningful insights from it. They learned more about how and when customers like to shop, what devices they were using to do so, and their communication preferences—all incredibly valuable information that helped companies know where to focus their efforts.

If customer-centric service was a priority before, the pandemic amplified the situation. And even if financial organizations didn’t immediately recognize the need, customer expectations were heard loud and clear.

According to a Salesforce study, 88% of customers expected the companies they do business with to prioritize digital, while 68% had greater expectations of those brands’ digital capabilities. Another study by McKinsey found that 75% of customers tried new brands since the beginning of the pandemic, with 60% of those surveyed stating they intended to try new brands.

All of this adds up to three things:

  1. There’s a whole new market of people willing and eager to buy
  2. Customers will gravitate to brands that fulfill their digital needs
  3. An elevated customer experience is a competitive advantage

Personalization is a way to attain these goals, answer customer needs, and provide the kind of customer experience that keeps them coming back.

The Emotional Element

As the economy reopens, many buyers will continue to switch brands until they connect with ones that align with their values. Loyalties are shifting. People are looking for emotional connections, which, along with empathy, are inarguably the cornerstones of a successful financial services company.

The bottom line? If you can deliver on these needs, make an emotional connection, and deliver the right content at the right time, you’ve got a much better chance to attract and retain a loyal clientele.

And since most financial products are available online, simply offering the product or service digitally is not enough. Customers flock to brands that put people over profits, and understanding their proclivities and motivations helps you demonstrate that you care about them. This is where personalization comes into play, as it allows you to show empathy and answer intent more accurately, enabling a frictionless, more meaningful customer experience.

Why You Need Personalization in Financial Services

Personalization is about value. It’s about delivering an experience tailored to the customer’s wants and needs, determined by past purchases, interactions, and experiences with your brand. Done well, it can help you put solutions in front of the customer that they don’t even know they need until you introduce them.

In pre-digital times, these goals were accomplished through one-on-one relationships. People visit their broker, branch, or advisor, and based on what’s learned about the customer through those interactions, and they would suggest products and services to suit their needs and circumstances.

The trend to digital marked a significant leap forward, but relationships suffered and became more transactional. Better rates, points, rewards—whatever represented the best value was where they’d go. But a blanket approach like this doesn’t account for the individual, their goals, and circumstances. It was too easy to switch accounts when a better deal came along, and there was no love lost or second thoughts because the impression was that they were dealing with a nameless, faceless platform that only saw them as an account number.

As time went by, companies that embraced their data and focused on discovering what their customers really wanted rose to the top, but it wasn’t all because of the technology. Customers still wanted to know there was a real person behind the algorithm, and that’s especially poignant in the post-pandemic world.

From emails to smart content and offers tailored to a customer’s preferences, creating endless “you really get me!” moments and softening the digital divide. In the post-pandemic world we live in, there isn’t one person whose life hasn’t been touched in some way.

We’re all going through different things, whether it’s re-evaluating our careers and how we spend our time, launching new businesses, or discovering new opportunities for fun and profit. In any case, money still makes the world go ‘round, and everybody has a financial goal or two. Opportunities to grow your business abound, and success lies in a customer-centric approach.

To learn more about personalization and how to make your customer data work for you, schedule a call today. 

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