How Genius Brands Achieve Effective Personalization Despite Customer Data Limitations

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Personalization has long been touted as a critical means to higher acquisition, conversion and retention rates. However, the impending demise of third-party cookies threatens to cut off the go-to fuel for effective targeting and personalization campaigns. Digital marketers now confront the reality of fewer customer data opportunities, which necessitates an entirely new approach to personalization. Marketers seeking to advance their personalization initiatives amid these shifting dynamics need to strive for efficiency and adaptability with their data assets on hand, prioritizing first-party data sources. First-party data can be categorized as explicit or implicit, the former relating to data that is actively entered by a user on brand sites, the latter referring to data captured based on a shopper's online session behavior or location.  For brands that enable customer accounts, account sign-up portals offer a simple way to collect immediate first-party data points to fuel personalization efforts. However, brands often forgo in-depth data capture at this step to avoid customer attrition related to form fatigue. As a result, the post-login account customization stage has become a key focus for best-in-class brands to build meaningful, data-rich customer profiles that allow for unique downstream targeting. Bank of America, ranked as a Genius brand in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Retail Banking, U.S., 2020, pushes an interactive tool called Life Plan within its mobile app that guides users through a series of questions, like their current financial goals, and uses the answers to cross-sell other products. For instance, if a credit card holder selects savings and buying a home, the bank recommends checking and savings accounts, and also follows up with a personalized email including the user’s name and references to their answers. In this instance, the bank’s email shows a picture of a home, tying back to the home buying goal. Within the email, the bank links to other diagnostic tools like a mortgage calculator, which can enrich data capture. The bank also uses this personalized content to drive engagement with clear call-to-action links, suggesting the customer schedule an in-branch appointment.  As part of its account experience, Bank of America also pushes personalized insights in its app through a virtual voice assistant named Erica. The bot is anchored to the homepage and provides personal insights on spending and budgeting. Through this portal, customers can also access the Life Plan, allowing Bank of America to close the loop. Moreover, the bank offers customized solutions for all users through its Better Money Habits program found on its public site.

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