Getting Past the Hype with Customer Analytics

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17 September 2013
Bob Meara
Customer analytics is so hot right now – for good reason. There are at least three reasons why now is a good time for financial institutions with no customer analytics experience to take the idea seriously. And for those with customer analytics initiatives, why now is a good time to revisit how and how broadly things are being done. Specifically: 1. The new normal: the likelihood of persistently unfavorable retail banking economics brought about by the triumvirate of low interest rates, onerous regulation, and a persistently weak economy. 2. The imperative for customer centricity: banks’ growing ranks of digitally driven consumers demand more convenience and increasingly prefer self-service. This seismic shift is at odds with banks’ historic reliance on the branch channel for sales and service. As sales and service becomes increasingly digital, skillful use of analytics will be table stakes. 3. Technology advancements in data analytics: Customer analytics solutions have come a long way in the past few years. General purpose analytics platforms have given way to a bevy of preconfigured applications designed to address specific use cases. Once the exclusive domain of data analysts (quants), modern applications are increasingly tailored for business users and integrated with business applications. Together, these factors will advance customer analytics from a project undertaken by a minority of banks to a core competency among the majority of financial institutions over the next five years. Yet a small minority of banks have experience with customer analytics. Historically this was defensible. Now, however, virtually all key retail banking priorities are supported by customer analytics. Specifically: using self-service channels to drive branch foot traffic, improving branch channel efficiency and effectiveness, and learning how to sell and service using digital channels. So, how do you get past the hype? Earlier this year, Celent published the report Customer Analytics in Retail Banking: Why Here? Why Now? containing practical advice and several case studies of banks that have achieved compelling results with customer analytics. Perhaps an even better way to get past the hype is to take two days out of your busy schedule for some immersion at Customer Insights & Analytics in Banking Summit, October 1&2 in Atlanta, GA. I’m pleased to be moderating a panel discussion on why the banking industry is ready to monetize Big Data. Joining me will be: - Tom Johnston, SVP Client Analytics, KeyBank - Robert Thompson, Chief Marketing Officer, Old Florida National Bank - David Schweidel, Associate Professor of Marketing and Co-Director, Emory Marketing Analytics Center - Ido Ophir, VP, Product Development, Personetics These folks have “been there, done that” and are generously sharing their experience. Hope to see you there.


  • Bob,

    Good post.

    I couldn’t agree more on the increasing need for customer analytics and for banks to build up their customer analytics capabilities internally. One related trend that we are seeing is an increasing interest (at large and mega banks) in attributes. As the whole “Big Data” trend continues to pick up steam, we have seen banks invest a huge amount of time and resources to drill into those new data sources and squeeze as much differentiation and value out of them as possible. In a lot of cases, this has led banks to develop custom attributes for those data sources rather than relying on standard attributes or scores.
    I’m bummed that I’m missing the summit and your panel, but hopefully attributes makes it into the discussion.

  • Thank you, Sir. I'll post some commentary following the event.

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