This article presents a preliminary comparison amongst leading challenger banks of UK finance market in terms of their approach to growth hacking and engineering an opportunity pipeline. Recent developments in #martech industry bring these challengers and the other B2C #fintechs great opportunities to convert connected data into well thought-out customer experiences. The author samples email marketing, app and product data usage from Atom, Monzo and Revolut and is looking for modest judgements on how they interact with their consumer base.

This week, we heard that Monzo has amassed more than 500,000 customers for its current account offer since it launched in early 2015. Worth to note that another challenger Revolut has become the first of a new breed of digital banks in Britain to break even on a monthly basis after a swelling user base and a suite of new products helped it bolster revenues in December 2017. The new banks of UK have been offering features such as fee-free spending abroad, tools to track spending, and the ability to temporarily freeze a debit card instantly. Vow effect of UX is currently significant for the younger and/or white-collar segments that these challengers are appealing to mostly. Therefore, we will see the majority of fund raised in fintech area still to be allocated in sustaining this effect longer.  Whilst climbing up the steps of Scale-up one by one, challengers are now about to enter into a new race. The name of the race is to become the customer interface, where they need to gamble against GAFA (Google Apple Facebook Amazon) as well as high-street banks. Losing this race means that you’re simply a no-name product manufacturer, with no brand. This race takes place in a new world of connectedness where the rivals’ strategy is orchestrating the customer engagements at high level by capturing the right data and turning those data into highly intelligent moments.

How do UK’s challenger banks that are initiating new features nearly every quarter thanks to their multi-API based digital systems, perform in this area? Are they able to convert digital touch points into growth hacking and end-to-end customer journeys? I admit that it is really hard to bring together a thorough analysis on this topic just as an outsider. On the other hand, a careful customer can track back some evidences on app usage and email marketing.

Let’s see couple of differences of the challengers’ appetite and capability in engineering the audience pipeline using 3 data capture points: App Usage, Email Marketing and Product Usage.

  • ATOM
  • App – Atom is not creating a follow-up contact due to uninstall. It is either they are not able to track it, or they don’t care. Either way, this is something they need to invest to engineer their pipeline without waiting for reaching to a scale.
  • Email – Atom’s email contact strategy is not carved according to engagement touch points. Customer can read and click through a link or can ignore and do not read Atom’s communications at all; this does not change the follow-up email and the content that Customer Propositions team send over to you.
  • Product – I have no doubt that Atom has digitalised product usage data for further advanced analytics. At the moment, there is not any Premium or segmented proposition in Atom’s services. This tells me that they are not at a stage to take action based on this data. Chances are they don’t have interest for now due to economies of scale or their proposition is not ready yet.
  • Email – Monzo’s email contact strategy is similar to Atom. The cleverness and complexity of the content is not cumulative along the email engagement journey. Therefore, you are receiving the same content with even though you read, click through a link or watch a video then.
  • Product – Monzo has clever push-notifications using product data, available on App. If you are a user, who does mute push notifications, they can still be accessible in App. Monzo does not offer a segmented service at the moment either. This is pretty much the same service with nearly all challengers.

What Monzo is doing brilliantly is publishing their anonymised consumer data. This is a great showcase that they are in a stage, looking for right opportunities to perform data driven segments and services though there is no announcement yet.

  • App – Revolut is tracking uninstall data of Apps and creating a digital follow-up contact to re-activate the customer.
  • Email – The email I recently received from Revolut convinced me that Revolut is trying to turn some touch points into more intelligent interactions. Looking at the email below, I see Revolut team is tracking my digital engagement on email channel.
  • Data integration, challenge for challengers
  • Product – First, Revolut team sent this email to a specific audience (this includes me) because they are trying to increase their loyal customer base by producing an offer who has been engaging with App but has not asked for a card yet. This is a positive sign for me showing courage and appetite of Revolut in using integrated data sets.

Second, while reviewing Revolut’s campaign email, one thing attracted my attention, the disclaimer explaining campaign terms and conditions. Revolute says, “Please note: You can only receive your first card for free if you have not ordered a physical card before…”. Revolut team is absolutely conscious that email is NOT an instant channel from customer point of view and that is a great example of a well-designed campaign, considering some time-lapses that cannot be avoided in data integration.

Summing up, it is worth to note that all my observations are based on my personal experience as a consumer of these 3 challengers. Before jumping to a decision, one must look for more behind the scene. Nevertheless based on my cases, seems like Revolut has gone beyond in data integration and creating more intelligent email interactions. Is it because its customer data volume reached to 1.5 million users across Europe, a scalable threshold, or is it because Revolut is prioritizing a design for intelligent and informed interactions, not just perfect user interfaces? Chances are the latter one.

Leading banks already know that digital banking must embrace channels and touch points as well as back end solutions that deliver frictionless, near real time customer transactions. Although the silo data teams and traditional compliancy units of most banks are not always ready for these technologies, seems like all banks are after the same thing, capturing structured or unstructured data and turning into actionable insight. BNP Paribas recently announced an investment in a cloud data integration company, addressing challenging data problems of highly regulated financial services. The challengers, in comparison to leading traditional banks, can be much more successful in stimulating their touch points intelligently if they embrace testing data based segmented approaches using available #martech solutions and optimizing data integrations from the early start. Looking forward to seeing these Mobile first banks turning their multi-API agile systems and the highly innovative customer experience talents into a competitive advantage in this area against incumbent banks.

Data integration, challenge for challengersThis article was written by Dizem Ozalp Sari. She is an Independent CRM Consultancy. You may contact her via Linkedin account.