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Defining Personalization Is The First Step Toward Greater Adoption

There’s a lot of talk about personalization in banking these days and a lot less action. In Curinos’ new Personalization Benchmarking Study, most of the responding FIs say less than 25% of their marketing is personalized (see chart, left). Batch programs remain the norm for the industry, rather than marketing that’s custom-built and always on (see chart, right).  

We believe the adoption lag is mostly explained by a lack of clarity on what personalization means. When asked to define the word, respondents gave nearly 700 different distinct descriptors. These answers coalesced around several themes – right time, right offer, right message – but few were any more specific. Respondents aren’t clear on what personalization should feel like for each customer, so they aren’t clear on how to achieve it.  

Take voice and tone as an example. For some, the desired effect may be to engage in a manner similar to a branch banker who may have a history with the customer or member. For others, neutral and observational may be preferable: “We noticed you were interested in a home equity loan.”  

In addition, some marketers think about personalization as a moment in time – for example, a specific customer behavior that triggers a message – when it should be a series of communication that builds over time. Only by defining the right personalization by individual and as a series can FIs move on to assessing their ability to get there. 

In most FIs, less than 25% of marketing is personalized,​ and
batch programs are still very much the industry norm.​

% Existing Programs Personalized​
% Programs “Always-On” vs. Batch​

Source: Curinos Personalization Benchmark Study 2024

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