Using Intelligence to Drive Customer Growth in Financial Services

Forrester predicts that CMOs will increase digital marketing budgets to over $146 billion by the end of 2023, and that the US financial services and insurance industry will spend more on digital marketing than any other industry. However, even with such big budgets, many marketers are uncertain about the ROI of their campaigns. This is a big problem. There’s too much at stake for financial services CMOs to be potentially wasting billions in marketing spend.

This brings financial services to an important crossroads. As customer expectations shift and new market players introduce cutting-edge offerings, traditional banks and financial entities are grappling with outdated tools, technology, and processes.

The growing divide between what customers expect and what financial services currently delivers underscores the need for digital transformation. But this transformation isn’t just about adopting new technologies; it’s about embedding intelligence and AI at the heart of decision-making processes. As challenges like changing privacy norms, regulatory shifts, and economic pressures mount, the integration of intelligence becomes not just a strategy for growth, but a blueprint for resilience and longevity.

It’s now more important than ever that financial services puts themselves in a position to innovate by leveraging their data to create holistic experiences that connect physical with digital. It’s also critical to shift business models and pricing to address new customer demands to keep pace with shifting market conditions. In this post, we’ll explore three ways that you can leverage your data to drive innovation, increase profitability, and create experiences that wow your customers.

Start By Getting Closer to the Data

Between digital advancements and the increasing availability of data, it’s time to revisit how technology is leveraged to drive growth and delight customers, agents, and intermediaries. According to a recent Zeta-commissioned study by Forrester Consulting, almost half of marketers don’t trust their tech stacks. Marketers report that fragmented technology leads to:

  • Manual effort required to analyze data for actionable insights (57%)
  • Challenges testing and optimizing campaigns (52%)
  • Difficulty tracking and observing customer preferences (52%)
  • Difficulty building holistic customer profiles (49%)

If you can’t trust your tech, you can’t rely on your data. And if you can’t rely on your data, you’re flying blind. With so much money being pumped into marketing budgets by financial services CMOs, it’s important that marketers can track performance and show meaningful ROI.

By combining first- and third-party data, you can unlock incredibly detailed insights on your clients: who applies for credit cards and when, who takes loans and who doesn’t, who pays on time and who defaults, who uses multiple banking services, etc. All these factors give you a clearer picture of where your revenue comes from and the performance of your campaigns. It also shows you how much market share you have in specific service categories.

Growing investment and service utilization from current clients is one of the fastest ways to drive increased profitability. The key to doing so is having access to real-time data that can gauge client intent during the awareness and consideration stages and follow up  post-conversion to complete applications and fund accounts. By leveraging cross-channel engagement combined with insights from other financial behaviors, you can proactively connect with clients before they make a financial decision to ensure you are their first choice.

By adopting technology that helps unify your data and augment it with additional demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information, you can better understand your clients, your competition, and where you should be allocating your resources to maximize profit.

There are three themes to consider when thinking about how to better leverage your data: Identity, Intelligence, and Activation:


There’s a steep cost when identity resolution misfires in financial services, which is why it is critical that marketers can trust their data. When implemented correctly, identity resolution can help meet the in-the-moment needs of the customer, exceed top-line business objectives, and differentiate your service offering.

Even financial services companies with rewards programs can’t identify all of the clients exploring their products and services. Probabilistic matching helps solve this problem. Modern martech can use limited information, such as a branch location and the name on a credit card application, to match an anonymous customer to a known profile. Banks can also now decipher that multiple disconnected past sessions or applications were actually the same person on different devices or channels. This brings identity full circle; connecting interactions from all channels across the consumer journey which has a dramatic effect on ROI.

Zeta’s ID graph, which contains profiles from over 235 million Americans, enables you to identify previously unknown visitors and augment your first-party data with demographic and behavioral data. This creates a persistent customer ID that can be used throughout the entire customer journey to create smarter, more relevant campaigns and promotions.


Data without intelligence is useless. There’s simply too much incoming information to parse through manually. You need a platform with AI at its core to pull out relevant insights and important information.

You can’t rely on outdated strategies such as batch file uploads and manual audience creation to develop your marketing strategy any longer. You need to adapt and leverage real-time techniques such as deterministic incremental attribution to optimize marketing and media budgets. AI helps democratize that intelligence without the need for bloated analytics and data science teams.

Zeta helps you harness the power of AI to segment your customer base into actionable groups using proprietary propensity scores, combined with factors like account balance, investment portfolio size and diversity, interactions with customer service, and loan repayment frequency. By identifying your most profitable and engaged customers, you can better deploy your resources to expand service utilization while decreasing churn.


The final piece of the puzzle is activation. All the data and intelligence in the world isn’t going to make a difference if you can’t act in real time, across channels. Understanding which channels are important to each individual consumer will not only increase your response rates, but also allow you to become more efficient in your spend.

Adopting a platform like Zeta that combines the capabilities of a CDP, ESP, and DSP with a proprietary data cloud enables you to create truly individualized experiences that span every conceivable channel and keep customers satisfied.

The Benefits of Customer Intelligence

When you fuse Identity, Intelligence, and Activation, you can unlock some truly transformational benefits that will help you modernize outdated processes and increase customer satisfaction while navigating changing behavior and shifting market conditions.

Personalize Without Branches

As many banks continue to reduce their physical branch locations, they face the challenge of maintaining personalized connections with their customers.  Enter AI. By harnessing the power of AI, banks can craft and deliver truly individualized experiences that foster trust with consumers and small business owners.

The CDP is at the heart of this shift to digital. It functions as the bridge between all of your disparate systems, ensuring that all interactions, whether through an online portal, a mobile app, or even phone support, are tracked and attributed to a persistent customer ID.

By integrating both back-end and front-end services, CDPs are able to meet customers where they’re at, efficiently adapting to their needs. In essence, while bank branches may be decreasing in number, the personal touch in banking is experiencing a renaissance, powered by AI and digital tools.

Client Example: A Top 15 US Bank leveraged Zeta’s AI to analyze behavioral patterns to help customers avoid fees associated with account funding requirements. These insights helped the bank to anticipate when a customer might encounter challenges, enabling them to proactively assist and educate the customer about account requirements.

Unlock Better Decisioning with Better Data

Despite much of the progress in other verticals, financial service companies still rely heavily on obsolete batch processing.  It’s important to understand that while smart servicing is possible, it requires the integration of the back and front offices through a centralized data layer. By combining all your customer data within a single unstructured, real-time database, you can unlock previously untapped insights.

Zeta clients that have undergone this transformation are now able to leverage tools like the Zeta Economic Stability Score (ESS), a proprietary index that provides positive and negative indicators for an individual’s financial behaviors. By considering factors like changes in discretionary spending, variations in retail behavior, and even early signs of unemployment, the ESS can accurately predict an individual’s financial decisions. This might include their likelihood to purchase specific products, secure financing, apply for a credit card, or even the potential to default on payments. This precision empowers providers to tailor their offerings more effectively, make better strategic decisions, and proactively manage risks.

Client Example: A leading global bank wanted to enhance real-time offer decisioning on their site traffic. Prospects visiting the pages via organic search were presented with irrelevant products which led to poor conversion rates. By leveraging Zeta’s AI-based browse pattern recognition, the bank is now able to automatically recommend relevant products on an individual basis, resulting in a 31% increased credit card application rate. 63% of applicants were also instantly approved by Zeta’s AI models.

Create Shared Intelligence

For banks, the ability to make decisions based on accurate data is crucial. But how do you trust your data when it is outdated, disconnected, and incomplete? This is the quandary that many marketers find themselves in, manually exporting and loading customer lists into clunky legacy platforms. In fact, 95% of global banking executives believe that outdated systems and core banking platforms prevent them from optimally using their data.  This hinders marketers’ ability to operate effectively in an intensely competitive environment.

Moving away from legacy systems and embracing technology that unifies data creates a shared intelligence across the entire organization. By approaching data management and utilization holistically, banks can effectively streamline the decision-making process and better cater to evolving customer preferences. The result is better data accessibility for marketers, better communication between departments, and better insights for leadership.

Client Example: A nationwide rent-to-own agreement provider was facing a serious problem. Their marketing technology platforms did not sync well, which necessitated time-consuming data extraction and transfers. By implementing Snowflake and Zeta, the company has revolutionized their data management and analytics capabilities, streamlining their internal processes and decreasing campaign creation time. This resulted in a 300% lift in overall campaign ROI and an average revenue lift of $500,000 for campaigns built with Zeta.

Zeta’s AI-Powered Marketing Cloud Helps Financial Services Companies Drive Customer Growth

Zeta is the only platform that is made up of a CDP, ESP, DSP, and the largest private, unwalled, data cloud which gives marketers an edge on their competition.  The ZMP has been designed for marketers’ needs with the unique flexibility to wrap around and augment your tech stack, expediting speed to intelligence, providing deeper analytics, and activation to deliver greater return on investment.

With Zeta’s modern, schemaless architecture, you can seamlessly ingest and reconcile data from anywhere in your technology stack, enabling you to build a unified view of customer behavior that can be enriched by Zeta’s proprietary Data Cloud.

But it doesn’t stop there. Zeta offers flexible data connectors that put you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to take advantage of our pre-built connectors or create custom integrations that align with your unique needs. This level of control ensures that your bespoke integration efforts are truly elevating your marketing ecosystem.

Whether you treat the ZMP as a single platform that displaces multiple point solutions, or to connect the dots and extract more value from current tech investments, the AI-powered ZMP is at the forefront of the next generation of marketing technology.

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To implement these strategies effectively, brands need the right technology and tools to support their personalization efforts. The Zeta Marketing Platform empowers businesses to offer highly tailored experiences driven by AI.
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