Channeling the Customer
To help Sovereign Bank's marketing team put a face on the personas, Doran-Collins explains that it gave each of the four personas an individual's name who would be representative of that customer group. So, for example, one persona might be called "John Smith," and represents people who are likely to have particular jobs, live in certain kinds of neighborhoods, drive certain kinds of cars, etc. Armed with this detailed view of each customer group, the kind of financial needs the people in that group might have and the way in which they would satisfy those needs, Sovereign Bank is able to better predict and respond to customer interactions.
"All of our Web activities are geared to these personas, not our product line," explains Doran-Collins. "The personas drive message, creative, font, copy tone, selection, everything," she adds. And any future Web site enhancements, from banners to search tools, will revolve around fitting these personas.
For example, if someone fits into a persona that is representative of a young couple with children under the age of 10, the section on homeowner loans might feature a photo of young parents playing in the front yard of a new home with their kids and it might discuss balancing the need for living space with other financial goals. On the other hand, a middle-age single woman might receive a Web page that features a photo of a woman her age putting the finishing design touches on her custom kitchen and copy that stresses the satisfaction of independence and the investment value of owning real estate.
While none of these scenarios represent Sovereign Bank's personas—Doran-Collins is tight-lipped about the exact details of her firm's top customer groups—they are indicative of how personas work to deliver a more personalized Web visit for customers.
To leverage the personas, Sovereign Bank also is building customer profiles across its different channels, which include direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail, community banking offices, statement inserts/messages and ATM statements. This information is helping the firm identify customers as they come online, determine in real time which products these customers already have, and then present relevant messaging and offers during their visit. It also is using this insight to fuel e-mail campaigns that follow up on possible product needs, based on customers' online interaction.