Demystifying Big Data for Financial Services

Many of us feel pressured to start focusing on Big Data, and to work it into our standard operating procedures. But how do we do that? Should that be our goal, to maximize Big Data?

First, let’s take a step back. Big Data doesn’t need to be the intimidating 800-lb. gorilla in the room. Instead of focusing on Big Data, let’s think about our overall goals. Maybe even think more generally; What are we paid to do? Who will be fired if it doesn’t happen? What is our company’s purpose? For most of us, it’s to attract and create new customer relationships. Maybe we’re also charged with strengthening existing customer relationships and helping current customers to start using more services and products. Or simply put, getting our current users to buy more stuff, and get new users in the door.

Now let’s look at Big Data in relation to the big picture. Big Data is really just a resource; more ammo to help us better engage our customers. For many of us, we’re already sitting on reams of data, oceans of information about our customers and prospects that we just haven’t figured out how to use yet, or have felt intimidated in the task ahead. Like a 35-year-old Pet Rock blogger, so much data just sits around. As marketers, we’re not responsible for creating Big Data, but for harnessing its information. Gleaning insights and applying them to our daily go-to-market strategies and helping give that customer a more informative, smoother ride along the buying cycle.

Big Data is the thoroughbred in your marketing arsenal. A gorgeous muscled racehorse that’s just chomping at the bit to run. The key to unlocking all that power? You’re already holding it. It’s just taking the information you have, and trying to identify patterns and information. Big Data is just collected information about your current and future customers. And in the financial services industry, we collect every juicy bit. Ages, income and education levels, asset knowledge, credit scores, services and product usage and history, seasonality figures and so much more are already in your database. These juicy, powerful numbers are just begging to be explored, analyzed and turned into powerful, relationship building insights.

We can use Big Data, your data, to identify trends among your current and target customers, nurturing relationships that give them information they need when they want it, in ways that they are most likely to respond to. We can use this to create self-guided tours down the consumer path, and determine when they are likely to purchase, and make that process easier and more profitable for them and your company.

As marketers, we can use our internal teams or engage external specialists to review this information and start to identify trends. Simply put, the purpose is to look at this customer data and to better understand what products to sell to whom, when and where. This helps us realize when they might be ready to start to invest more aggressively, diversify bonds, or perhaps open their first IRA.