There have been some interesting developments in targeted customer marketing. For years the loyalty supermarkets engineered in their customers was a source of threat for financial institutions, who along with financial analysts thought a sustained push into the retail banking market would result in a new breed of challenger bank.

That hasn’t happened in the UK so far, although Sainsbury’s Bank, Tesco Bank and Asda Money have each been active in varying degrees in financial services. However, technology and marketing innovation mean the banks are now using the data they hold in a much more effective and profitable way – and selling the most targeted advertising opportunities to companies including supermarkets.

This new market started out in the US, with Bank of America using the service, which is provided by third parties, such as Cardlytics.

It works like this: a customer that spends a regular amount of money each month in a particular shop on a particular line of goods (say cosmetics) might be tempted by an offer placed on their online bank statement next to their recent Boots transaction to purchase the same items for a 20 per cent discount at a rival store. Once clicked on, the customer’s debit card ‘carries’ the offer and the customer becomes eligible for a discount in store when they meet the spending threshold.

Click through rates on these offers are remarkable. Anyone who has ever run an email marketing campaign probably punched the air when three percent of your audience clicked through – here more than fifteen per cent of those targeted are clicking through.

There is of course an ethical argument against using people’s purchasing decisions to target them with advertising messages, but the click-through rates suggests there is an appetite for it and recent trends support the move towards more personalised marketing. Your browsing history determines the adverts you see on your browser, so targeting an online statement, while a new communication channel, is nothing new in principle.

Ultimately, the point of this blog is to say that your data can do much to inform your view of customer needs and changing trends. In the case of the banks, it has also become a revenue stream at a time when squeezed interest rates are affecting their bottom line.

You can unlock the potential of your data by objectively looking at opportunities to increase your bottom line and challenging the way data is used in your organisation, particularly in respect to marketing strategies.