Channeling the Customer
"We're applying research to our segmentation. We don't want to drill the customer into one path, so we do segmentation that's structured by customer need, not by product," explains Doran-Collins.
To take this customer focus even farther, Sovereign Bank is looking at bringing third-party enhancement data into the customer profiles to better predict the right product for upsells and cross-sells. Says Doran-Collins, "We want to be our customers' advocate and suggest products that could help them achieve their financial goals."
She adds that it's been a "phenomenal experience" in grading Sovereign Bank's customers into personas, using focus groups and control groups to obtain a full picture of the customer base. To continue to maximize the value of these personas, Doran-Collins' team plans to conduct more qualitative and quantitative analysis, testing and evaluation to ensure the personas still are relevant next year.
Now that the personas have proven themselves worthwhile on the Web site, Doran-Collins is getting ready to apply them to the firm's e-mail marketing campaigns, too. And the direct mail channel is hoping to begin using them to guide its contact efforts, as well. Sovereign Bank mails 5 million to 6 million pieces of direct mail annually, offering customers credit cards, home equity loans, checking accounts, and upsells for other types of accounts or services, such as online payment tools.
Right now, says Robert Hand, Sovereign Bank's senior vice president, director of advertising and promotion, the direct mail operation still is in the data collection stage and needs to get to "critical mass" before applying the personas to direct mail creation.
Currently, direct mail communications are developed based on knowledge gleaned from customer conversations that take place across channels. "We track the nature of these conversations on a macro basis and create major direct mail campaigns as appropriate. The real opportunity will be when we can collect this information in a way that will allow us to conduct one-to-one campaigns," Hand explains.