Decision Marketing Data Clinic: Financial services plan

DM ClinicIn the latest in a series of articles, designed to provide advice on data-driven marketing strategies in these turbulent times and beyond, we look at the financial services sector.

The Decision Marketing Data Clinic, in association with REaD Group, is open to all companies and organisations big and small. If you have a burning issue which you would like advice on please email us on

As a financial services provider, we have needed to communicate a lot more frequently with our customers over the past few months. It became apparent that a lot of our customer data is incorrect. What should we do?
If you have inherited legacy data and your face-to-face contact with customers has been drastically reduced, then it can be very easy to for customer data to be out-of-date or incorrect.

A comprehensive data quality programme will clean your data, ensuring that is accurate and compliant (data accuracy is now a legal requirement). Use a data cleaning suite to optimise the accuracy of your data and the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Suppression files will identify people who have relocated using consented data sources, including government information (e.g. from local authorities), credit reference agencies, mover and transactional data, electoral roll and the data cleaning supplier’s own databases.

Deceased suppression will remove anyone who has passed away from your marketing database, reducing the risk of reputational damage and improving campaign performance. Data is collected directly from the bereaved and/or third party sources of actual deaths.

Data cleaning has a number of benefits: it’s an efficient way to keep data clean and accurate; it will reduce the risk of having to delete data and therefore your marketable database, it will help you to avoid heavy fines for non-adherence; and will ultimately save you time, money and resources by not marketing to people who will not receive the communication.

You should also take into account and be aware of the regulatory requirements of your market, including KYC (know your customer), AML (Anti-Money Laundering), and PSD2 (Second Payment Services Directive), and the role that data quality has to play in them.

How can we ensure we communicate clearly with our customers in future?
Having the right data on your customers means you can make better marketing decisions and communicate with them appropriately. Data acquisition should underpin your communications activities. By collecting the most up-to-date comprehensive and permission data across various touch points, you can find and get to know the right people.

With a vast customer database offering a huge range of selectable variables (such as behaviour, health, personal details and individual engagement) you can create clear, targeted and timely campaigns.

How do we approach contacting vulnerable customers?
These are sensitive times, and if you’re contacting someone who is potentially vulnerable, then you need to do so in a different way to how you might contact other customers. There is, of course, a world of difference between what you can do and what you should do, so you should make an ethical decision based on what the data tells you and use data responsibly to decide how to communicate with them.

Utilise consumer vulnerability models, which combine age, income, housing and education factors with transient states of the consumer such as health. Examining market forces acting on the consumer and their levels of susceptibility to these forces does not give an absolute measure of vulnerability of the consumer in every interaction, but rather indicates the risk that the consumer may be vulnerable in a given interaction.

You can also use datasets that estimate Covid-19 risk factors and infection rates across the UK at a neighbourhood level, with different measures of risk at a range of local geographies, using open source and GDPR-compliant data.

Not only can this data give you a greater insight into your customer base at local and national level, enabling you to maximise marketing and sales opportunities and operational efficiencies, but as you prepare to come out of lockdown, you can now add to this the fundamental requirement of customer and staff safety: in other words, how to open and operate safely within a Covid-19 world.

Scott Logie is customer engagement director at REaD Group

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