To Gauge A Consumer’s Channel Preference, Consider The Entire Portfolio

This Month in Retail Banking

Marketers and martech companies often talk about a promised land of discovering the preferred channel for each customer. But it’s not that simple. To presume there should be only one messaging avenue shortchanges today’s consumers because it misinterprets the way they shop and prefer to engage with brands. 

Thanks to the pandemic and technological improvements, banking customers are more likely to favor digital engagement over in-person interactions or physical mail. But we’ve also learned that discrete segments don’t necessarily prefer single types of engagement. It’s oversimplification to think that Baby Boomers and Gen X prefer email and digital natives want in-app communications. Demographic cohorts will respond more or less favorably to specific channels based on a range of factors, including context, message content and where they are in their journey. 

Research on channel preference reveals, for example, that preferred points of contact often correlate with the type of communication offered. A recent survey found that 65% of U.S. retail bank customers prefer email for account statements, 36% prefer text/SMS for payment reminders and 24% prefer receiving overdraft alerts within their banking app. 

But this tells marketers only part of the channel preference story. They need the tools and analytics to weigh the specific attributes of each channel and to discover which combination of variables will most likely succeed at each stage of a campaign.  

If a message has to go out quickly, which channel is going to provide immediacy and a high likelihood of engagement? What’s the best format for each type of content for this customer – learning material, headline rate offers, e.g. – and where do we want to drive them as a next step in the journey? The proper context for message and channel needs to be considered at each stage of the campaign. 

The bottom line is that each customer has a portfolio of channel preferences and a varying level of engagement based on contextual attributes that vary depending on the nature of the communication. For bank marketers, determining the optimal channel to convey a particular message at each stage of a journey is therefore a critical contextual element. 

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