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TSB banks on Adobe to meet customers hyper-personalization demands

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels August 18, 2023
The bank’s marketing strategy means customers receive tailored service offers that match their personal requirements and circumstances.


TSB Bank is using a combination of Adobe’s cloud-based services and real-time data to personalize the services it offers to customers across a range of marketing channels.

TSB’s personalization journey began with the procurement of the Adobe Experience Platform in 2021. The bank implemented the technology in a six-month process. At the time, it was the first financial services company in Europe to implement the Adobe platform. 

This adoption process was followed by a six-month “value-proving” program, focused on showing the rest of the business the potential benefits of the technology. Kavin Mistry, Head of Digital Marketing and Personalization at TSB, recalls: 

We were on a mission to prove the concept and the value of the product. So, we focused on meeting customer needs. The first personalised communication that we did was around loans. Instead of generic information in a banner in an email around the amount a customer could borrow, we provided a realistic amount each individual customer could have.

The results were instant, with a 300% increase in leads. During the six months proof period, the marketing team not only met the business case, but actually beat it tenfold by sending out a series of personalized communications to customers. These early wins were important as they proved that the technology could deliver big benefits in a complex area of marketing, says Mistry:

Doing relatively small-scale but targeted things drives quite a lot of impact for the customer and the bank. Each use case can look quite small, but actually -- when you aggregate the benefits -- it can be very powerful. Those successes were key and showed we should be doubling down in this space.

After reflecting on the early experiences, Mistry’s team purchased a number of other Adobe products to supplement the marketing technology strategy, including Experience Manager, Workfront, CDP Connections and Journey Orchestrator. Today, Mistry says the bank benefits from having a tech-led foundation for hyper-personalization:

This is about an evolution of banking and it's driven by customer expectations. I think the financial services industry is behind other sectors in providing the types of services that customers expect. Through Spotify and Netflix, customers have experienced what personalization can feel like and how it can enhance their lives.

Building on the platform

Demand for personalized services is now spreading to financial services. TSB research suggests 71% of customers expect a personalized banking experience and 76% are more likely to purchase from a bank that offers personalized capabilities. What’s more, Mistry says the cost-of-living crisis makes personalization even more important:

Customers have much more varied needs. Some customers are struggling to make ends meet with the rise in interest rates, while other more affluent customers are looking to put their money where they can get the best bang for their buck. There’s a whole suite of issues that a one-size-fits-all banking solution can’t solve – and that’s the core challenge we are trying to solve using technology.

The aim, says Mistry, is to understand the varied requirements of customers in detail and to then provide an individualized banking experience. Those efforts have continued through 2023 as interest rates have continued to rise in response to wider macro-economic conditions:

As rates began to increase, we realised only about three percent of our savings balance growth came from CRM-related activity and personalised one-to-one communications. We embarked on a number of activities. We established the pockets of opportunities to grow balances and help customers get the best rates possible. We also looked at how we support customers, such as with savings maturities. The aim was to grow our communications with customers across all of our channels.

Once again, the strategy paid off as contributions from personalised activity grew from three percent to about 20% in just three months. While the Adobe platform has already helped boost commercial returns, the bank is also thinking about how the technology can be used to achieve more altruistic aims. Mistry explains:

We've recently launched our credit cards communication, where we're helping customers avoid unnecessary interest rate payments. We’re giving them guided experiences to set up a direct debit to pay off their balance regularly. So, we've not only launched the communication and data that sits behind it, but also a personalized experience. And one in 10 customers that we've sent the communication to have now set up a direct debit.

Delivering long-term benefits

Delivering results from an effective personalization strategy from a broad range of Adobe products requires a joined-up approach that spans the whole organization from technical architects to engineers, designers, content creators and all the way across to other business functions, such as risk management. According to Mistry: 

Everybody needs to be in the same space. Everybody needs to see the same single vision for you to be able to deliver success at pace. And that's the crux of this process, actually -- doing this stuff at pace is crucial, but it’s also very complicated.

The digital transformation program that Mistry and his colleagues have pursed means TSB is now able to offer the interactive experiences that customers demand. As many as 80% of customer interactions come via digital channels, which is up from 50% before the marketing strategy was enacted. About 90% of the bank’s digital interactions take place through the bank’s mobile app, says Mistry:

Our transformation is all about the evolution of where we believe banking is going, what customers are expecting, and how we can get ahead of our competitors in terms of the experiences they receive.

Mistry’s bottom line conclusion is that delivering an effective personalization strategy is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be an intractable challenge:

This is a leap beyond traditional banking. Understanding the potential of the technology can help you win organizational hearts and minds. And don’t just focus on winning the backing of the senior executive level, but also your peers – because you will invariably need them to deliver this kind of strategy.

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