I believe that smart matured digital players will need to develop deep integration with their partners.
Let me explain why.
With the growing consumption of digital media, there is considerable noise that a consumer is now exposed to. This would mean that the brands have a fast shrinking window of opportunity where they have their prospects attention.
Most brands do understand this and hence have started investing heavily in better designs and more meaningful content.
But when it comes to acquisitions, it seems that this underlying assumption is usually forgotten. Maybe the acquisition teams are overwhelmed by the amount of digital data they are expected to digest and optimize for. In order to increase the leads volumes, most brands usually explore new partners who have possibly captive audiences.
In many cases these captive audiences are merely email id lists/bases that the partner has sourced not even built. And this might be the root-cause of my recent bad experience with a MNC Bank in India.
I have been using a premium variant of this bank’s Credit Card very regularly for the last 8-10 years. I have my email registered with the bank’s card team where I regularly receive official communication from the bank.
Interestingly I received am email for a gold card from the same bank on the same email id. This wasn’t a proposal to downgrade the plastic, but an email to take up a new card from the bank. I was confused. So I checked the email headers and discovered that this was sent by some partner of the bank who had my email id on its base.
The bank didn’t scrub the partner’s base for emails already registered by existing customers. I can understand why the bank would not want to scrub and give back a base to the partner. Because then the partner could do a delta check and figure out which email ids are registered with the bank.
Nevertheless the bottom line is that the customer experience was significantly compromised.
So what could the bank do? What should other brands do?
I feel they need to pick & choose partners carefully and then deeply integrate with them. They should in fact look at sending emailers from their own servers so that scrubbing is done real time and the partner just gets a report of how many emails were shortlisted for the blast rather than a list of which ones were shortlisted or rejected.
Even if the partner is just worth the customer base it holds, banks would need to step up and control the subsequent stages of the lead generation process. On personalized platforms like emails, its customers can not be treated like New To Bank (NTB) applicants.
In today’s world, we talk about data quality and data velocity. Maturity in both these aspects is possible only through an eco-system mindset and not in the current vendor-client approach.
It would definitely add to the cost of acquisitions. And there might be other better, cleaner solutions but the current process just does not cut it.