Rethink Your Consumer Personas in the Financial Services Industry

Banks and credit unions can no longer target campaigns to “Millennial Mary” or “Boomer Bob” and expect to connect with real people. That’s because traditional demographic segmentation such as age or wealth don’t offer up enough information about the behavioral tendencies and affinities within a particular consumer group.

Accenture’s Four Persona Concepts for Financial Brands

Accenture recently came out with their 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study, titled “Discovering the Patterns in Personality.” The study divides consumers into four personas – pioneers, pragmatists, skeptics and traditionalists – based off how they perceive and engage with financial brands.

We’ve covered persona strategy before, but today, we’ll look closer at Accenture’s four consumer personas and, more importantly, explore the most effective strategies to reach “a million markets of one” based off our experience with banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders.

Consumer Persona #1: Pioneers

Who They Are

According to Accenture’s study, Pioneers are younger, tech-savvy consumers who seek out innovation even if it may involve a small degree of risk. The study also reports up to 80 percent of respondents in this category are interested in integrated propositions financial brands can offer with partners outside the industry. Finally, this group of consumers also cares about a financial brand’s demonstrated social commitment, ethical behavior and environmental stewardship.

How to Connect

From streamlining the loan application process to sending automatic alerts that allow consumers to monitor charges and track their spending, find innovative ways to rise to this group’s digital expectations. Don’t shy away from a multi-channel marketing strategy either. Engage with Pioneers on mobile devices and across channels, leveraging text messaging, video and social media in your efforts.

Of course, more channels mean more ways for marketing compliance to go awry. The single most important fintech partner for financial brands today is the one that can centralize your assets, your applications, your data and your approval process and serve as the foundation for marketing and sales.

Consumer Persona #2: Pragmatists

Who They Are

Pragmatists span the widest range of age groups and geographical locations surveyed for the Accenture study. This group won’t concern themselves with novelty experiences or innovative technology – they want to get what they want, when they want. They recognize the role technology plays in achieving the convenience and control they desire but remain wary of personalization. They tend to be satisfied with the banking industry, although they expect ongoing value from their financial brands of choice.

How to Connect

With Pragmatics, simplicity is the key to selling. Once a Pragmatic consumer knows what they want, you need to show them the shortest possible path to their goal. To do this, communication is crucial. Make sure customers or members understand next steps at all times and know there’s a human on the other side of the screen to answer questions as they arise. In addition to timely tips and alerts, this group responds well to special offers and perks based off of their spending habits.

Consumer Persona #3: Skeptics

Who They Are

Although younger than other groups, Skeptics lack the fascination, familiarity and confidence with technology that the previous groups have. This is a challenging group to engage. Accenture describes this group as risk averse, frustrated, difficult to convince and dissatisfied. Indeed, only 31 percent report having a positive experience when they visit their bank branch.

How to Connect

To sell to Skeptics, you will need to go the extra mile. The good news? This group’s youth gives you an easy win. Address their skepticism by deepening their financial literacy, and you’ll reap the rewards over the course of their financial lifetime.

We recommend you vary the channels you use to communicate with this persona group, however. Invite them to come to your physical branches for workshops or face-to-face consultations, where they can build rapport with actual humans. Finally, automate tasks and follow-up after key interactions, making use of surveys and regular check-ins using a variety of channels.

Consumer Persona #4: Traditionalists

Who They Are

You probably won’t be phased by the fact that 66 percent of this group are 55 or older. Or by the fact that this group values face-to-face contact with their financial advisors. You may, however, be surprised to learn trust in financial brands is declining among Traditionalists. What’s more, Traditionalists are acting on their dissatisfaction and switching financial brands.

How to Connect

We think what puts this particular group off about today’s digital marketing strategies is the lack of human interaction. Although Traditionalists may use the internet for research, they prefer to talk to someone either on the phone or in person before they transact. Due to this, we recommend driving Traditionalists to pick up the phone in your Journeys or your marketing campaigns – or better yet, prompt your relationship managers to reach out proactively.  It’s imperative to have a 360-degree view of the customer to ensure relationship managers have the context they need to strike up relevant conversations. This includes engagement history, transaction history, account status, household information and other key pieces of information.

To win back this consumer persona’s trust, initial ideas include seeking to educate on topics such as financial security, financial abuse and fraud to prove you’re looking out for their financial well-being.

Digital Data: Unlocking Deeper Consumer Relationships

While persona strategy is nothing new, banks and credit unions are constantly looking to leverage persona insights and behavioral science to elevate their messaging and create humanized connections with consumers.

Consumer personas are the key to doing it at scale.