Cartoon of a whistleblower getting stabbed in the back

Learn from poor communication & “Snowden” marketing

I have often tried to explain the Event Driven Marketing comprises three main functional areas; detect the Event, determine if it is significant and communication. In order to be completely successful with EDM you need to consider and address all of these areas.

A good example of addressing the first two areas and then getting the communication wrong can be found in the story about Target and their pregnancy prediction campaign. Customers became paranoid about target’s Edward Snowden type of marketing. Have a read and then come back here to see what we think.

Target’s analysis was accurate and could determine a very valuable and important life Event – having a baby. The problem was Target’s execution of the communication. The good news is that Target eventually learned from this (after a lot of embarrassing press coverage) and changed their approach to something more subtle and acceptable to their customers.

But we are smarter and this would never happen in Banking (would it?). Let me tell you a story.

Man spying on colleagues

It is about an Austrian bank using EDM. Let’s call them B***g. They had implemented a limited number of Events, one of which could determine if a person was unemployed. Well, this is certainly a life Event which was very significant to the customer and I imagine of great interest to the bank. So they detect an Event and it is significant. What about communication? Well in B***g’s case it seems they decided that the simplest thing in this circumstance would be to remove the overdraft facility. This is arguably not a great thing to do, but what is worse was that their Event signaled everyone with ‘unemployment’ in the transaction text – including those people who worked for the unemployment agency and, yes, these people had their overdrafts removed as well.

When this actually happened their Customers kicked up a fuss and within hours it was being published in the Austrian national papers(for those who don’t speak German, trust me, it is not flattering). It was hugely embarrassing for B***g and bad press for their marketing.Strangely enough, our customer Raiffeisen has a similar Event, other than the fact that their Event excluded employees the main difference was in their communication with the Customer.

Let’s imagine what could cause an unemployment Event.

  • The customer has lost his job.
  • The customer is moving from Vienna to Salzburg where he will get a new job.
  • The customer has moved his salary payment to another bank (and may be leaving you).
  • The customer is going back to study
  • The customer has left one job and will start a new job next month.
  • Etc.

So, B***g’s automated approach only works for the first scenario (and then only then for some customers) whereas Raiffeisen’s approach to communicating with the customer covered all scenarios and was able to identify and address issues. It is interesting to note that, as a distinct difference to B***g, this Event is considered very positively by Raiffeisen’s customers.

This leads us back to my original statement that EDM comprises three areas, not least of which is communication. Get this wrong and the results can be disastrous.

This is interesting, because a great many EDM ‘failures’ both from vendors or Banks have come about precisely because they didn’t understand this. In many cases banks implemented some Events and then couldn’t understand why they didn’t get the success they expected. Similarly, the new trend from vendors is to provide (real-time) Events and then rely on an automated, next best product analysis to determine the cookie-cutter communication offer.

Given this you have to ask what would be the automated response for unemployment. And would it address the scenarios above.

What about something like a large deposit? In most cases this triggers an automated offer of high interest savings. But there are many different reasons why a customer can receive a large deposit, such as:

  • Consolidating assets,
  • Windfall/inheritance,
  • Bonus,
  • Insurance payment,
  • Paying a deposit on a house,
  • Setting up a business,
  • Etc.

As you can see, the next best offer of high interest savings doesn’t really apply, but a simply check with the customer can clarify the real customer need and make an appropriate offer.

In summary, Events can detect a change in a customer’s circumstances, a check for significance can tell you if it is worthwhile to communicate with the customer and communication can ascertain the real customer need.


Woman being offered money aggressively online

Here at eventricity’s we provide solutions for the Event detection and check for significance. But in order to ensure a complete EDM process, we also help the Bank with development and training of the communication.

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