BT Financial's analytics chief: Deep customer knowledge a "hygiene factor"

Head of customer insights and analytics, Greg Nichelsen, says big data is vital in meeting customer expectations but without engagement, it's useless

Having deep customer knowledge has become the new hygiene factor for brands looking to stay in business and meet consumer expectations, according to BT Financial Group’s head of customer insight and analytics.

Speaking at the AB+F Retail Financial Services event in Sydney this week, the wealth management group’s Greg Nichelsen said customers now expect all brands, regardless of industry, to create stellar customer experiences by personalising and anticipating their needs.

While big data is providing organisations with the tools to gain such knowledge, it’s useless without also building customer engagement, he said.

“Customers are overwhelmed with choice; they also know that we’re vying for their attention all the time,” Nichelsen said. “As financial services brands, we’re competing with every brand, and we’re also competing for time on the train or bus on the way home. Engagement is a competition for time and no one has enough of it.

“We have to deeply know our customers, more than we ever have before, because it’s the only way we’re going to do what is now just hygiene: Meeting customer needs.”

For Nichelsen, the key objective is to be emotionally rewarding. In the financial services space, this could be as simple as removing some of the “scare factor” and taking away discomfort for customers, he said.

“Anticipation is also quickly becoming a base need so we don’t waste people’s time on things that aren’t of interest to them,” he said.

Nichelsen also stressed the importance of balancing data analytics with more traditional market research if brands hope to get a full view of their customers.

“Market research is how consumers like to think they act, while data is how they are really acting,” he commented. “We do a lot of work to make sure all our market research is bridgeable and can be tied back into the data.”

Like many brands today, BT Financial Group is looking at how it can become a more customer-centric organisation. One recent example of how it is striving to do this is a leadership program in Asia-Pacific, designed to help leadership teams better understand customer engagement and expectations.

The 12-week program saw leaders taking on personas of the group’s customers, walking through the buyer journey, and included meetings with customers to help executives walk in their shoes.

Data also lies at the heart of BT’s customer engagement efforts. Nichelsen described big data as an “attitude” towards better understanding customers and driving strategies, rather a technological activity, and detailed a range of ways other organisations could fine-tune their data-driven efforts.

These included removing impediments to data access, taking a more agile and integrated approach to data discovery and utilisation, embracing the idea of failure, and ensuring that all data is used to tell a story.

While technical knowledge is vital in tapping into data assets, Nichelsen said business acumen was equally critical.

“We all talk about the data science skills required, and yes there is a technology side to this… but there’s absolutely a business acumen side to analytics and if you don’t get the right balance, you either get a very R&D approach, or a very non-technical approach. You need something in between.”

Data-driven insight is also about leverage everything you can, Nichelsen said. “This can be hard, but you have to find a way to push these programs forward and get some stuff to happen,” he added.

Also from the AB+F Retail Financial Services conference: Westpac head of customer relationship marketing talks about why social is a great conversation starter

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Read more: Using neuroscience to optimise marketing communication strategies

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Why it's time to integrate your website into your digital marketing strategy

As the head of marketing, do small beads of perspiration break out on your forehead when you hear the dreaded phrase: “It’s time to redesign our website?”

The impact of uniforms on consumer brand preferences

Flight attendant uniforms attract attention. From a primary association with sex appeal during the 1960-70s, to the diverse role they perform today, the flight attendant’s uniform sits front and centre in the advertising imagery of many airlines. However, relatively little is known about the ways in which consumer behaviour is influenced by airline uniforms.

Are data and creativity like chalk and cheese?

The industry is experiencing an explosion in data-led initiatives like programmatic buying, as well as a simultaneous increase in the importance of creativity. A less adventurous marketer might see these trends as chalk and cheese, as two developments which have the power to markedly improve a brand’s bottom line, but which don’t have much room for crossover.

Today I vented on LinkedIn about ADMA's membership fee starting at 4K per year, which for a small biz is prohibitive. So good to read abo...

Lawrence Ladomery

Sensis-owned digital agency aims at data-driven marketing needs of SMBs

Read more

When you want to get the most ROI, researching about the tools you need will pay off big time. Take for example your marketing and repor...

TapAnalytics

​How to get the best ROI from your martech investment

Read more

We can see how companies are now developing and improving the digital marketing platform they are using and finding ways to add more feat...

TapAnalytics

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 21 January

Read more

Very nice article, Thanks for sharing this necessary information about digital trends. Specially i like prediction no 3 " Marketers embra...

kevin marshall

Predictions: 16 digital marketing trends for 2016

Read more

Mobile has indeed becoming a big player in the marketing industry. It should be utilized by businesses and mobile campaigns should be pro...

TapAnalytics

Report: Mobile-based campaigns and coupons boost consumer brand sentiment

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in