June 1, 2015

Mary Meeker, the Future of the Internet, and Why it Matters for Banking

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gramaphoneIf you’re of a certain age and you bring up a VCR in conversation to someone from a younger generation, chances are you’ll get a somewhat befuddled, polite smile– as if you were talking about the gramophone. You’re probably just as likely to be seen as the “old man in the room” if you describe how a lot of people used to connect to the Internet– installing AOL via floppy disk — remember those days?

In Internet Trends – 2015, Mary Meeker from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers takes her annual walk in the technology forest, and this year’s exercise further emphasizes just how much and how fast our connected world has changed. More importantly, she goes on to describe in some detail why what we’ve seen is just the beginning–vast areas of both our personal and professional lives are going to be further altered.

THE PERSONETICS VIEW

Sure, Meeker’s annual reports can be dense; this year’s weighs in at 192 pages. Thump! But these reports are greeted enthusiastically as they contain insightful and thought-provoking information. What stuck out from our perspective this year was a quotation from DataStax CEO Billy Bosworth:

“Ten years from now, when we look back at how this era of big data evolved…
we will be stunned at how un-informed we used to be when we made decisions.”

Let’s look at how banking consumers will be making decisions in context of a few of Meeker’s big themes.

First is what’s happening with consumer expectations. Increasingly today’s 24/7 connected consumer expects that they can get what they want, when they want it, with ease and speed. Based on this trend, which will only grow, consumers increasingly expect communications with their bank to become easier, more useful and actionable in real time.

Second is the idea of context-persistent conversations. The growing importance of personalization — driven by predictive analytics applied to the customer’s data graph — make it possible not only to target each customer, but to target each moment within their financial day-to-day. For example, if a customer receives a big year-end bonus, that’s the time they want to hear about services to manage savings.

This brings us to a third theme in the report, messaging that is becoming more up close and personal, with notifications that appear on more and more devices. This trend is quickly enabling the creation of omni-channel messaging frameworks that can stay in touch with a customer wherever they are, whenever they want, on whatever device they are using. When the bank notices the consumer has a duplicate charge on their credit card, they can now prioritize that message and send it to the consumer when they next connect to the bank, regardless of what channel they are using.

All this points to a step-change improvement in how banks will be able to up their game in helping consumers take timely action (like avoiding fees) and make better decisions (about savings, for example.)  Also driving this capability are advances in behavioral finance — a growing body of behavioral insight that Personetics is increasingly incorporating into our own algorithms.

One thing is for certain.  The world is as far away from “one size fits all” messaging and communications as we are from the days of the gramophone. Today’s banks that want to lead not lag consumer expectations understand that messaging and digital interaction do not exist in a vacuum; they co-exist inside a connected customer world. Increasingly context, speed and personal relevancy will define user experience when it comes to communications and interactions with your customer.

And Mary Meeker is right. We’ve only just begun.