Here's something you don't expect to hear from a banking executive: "The best thing that happened is the financial crisis."
Of course, Tonny Rabjerg is not your standard banking executive. He's the Vice President of CRM Systems at Danske Bank. "I know the financial crisis is not good for the bank, but for me it is good, because there has never been more focus on customers than before. Typically, banks think risk and credit are more important, but without the customer, risk and credit don't matter," says Rabjerg
So, how is Rabjerg taking advantage of this new focus on the customer? He's leading a shift in his organization from customer relationship management (CRM) to personal customer management (PCM), and committing five to seven years to the project. The difference between CRM and PCM involves one-to-me marketing instead of one-to-one marketing and personal product presentations instead of campaign-based sales. "It's about matching the customer's requirements before he needs it," says Rabjert. "I want to make sure we makes it easy for him to take out a car loan before going to car dealer."
Philippe Wallez, General Manager of Marketing, is leading similar customer-centric programs at ING Belgium. His full-scale direct-marketing project, which started in 2007, has transformed the way the bank communicates with its 2.7 million customers. Projects include targeted marketing and street advertising campaigns that put the brand's orange logos and themes directly on the backs of consumers. "If we are forced to communicate online, we will be forced to simplify," says Wallez. "Even on banking social networks, customers don't talk about banking. They talking about their homes and their cars and their financial concerns."
In 2006, ING Belgium conducted one direct marketing campaign per week. Last year, the marketing team conducted at least ten campaigns per day. How did they do it? They hired business analysts, campaign analysts, marketers, digital marketers and direct mailers. They developed a new campaign process, a new data platform, brought in new tools and established new customer data ownership policies.
The bank now has a global client contact strategy, and the marketing department reports results directly to the board every week.
The benefits of ING's strategy include:
- Fully automated service.
- Simple sales migrate to direct channels.
- More time for advice and sales in branch network.
- Increase advice efficiency through direct marketing generated leads.
For such a wide-scale project, Wallez recommends strategy above all else. "Whatever strategy you use, you have to have a strategy. Consistently focus on strategy and free up resources," he says. "It's not easy but it's possible."