Our Viewpoints

Our Viewpoint

The Transformation of MCIF: From Behind the Scenes to Front and Center, Institution-wide

April 04, 2011

There was a time when marketing a financial institution meant well-placed signage, a statement stuffer and maybe a newspaper ad or billboard around town. Branch traffic was high. And, the marketing customer information file (MCIF) system was a tool used in the back office by the marketing department to provide decision support or campaign segmentation.

Today, the world has changed. Baby Boomers are retiring, leaving a marketplace of linked-in, social-networking-savvy Gen Xers and Gen Yers as the target demographic, all with different needs, wants and identities than the previous generation. Consumer technology has been commoditized, with smartphones making Internet access as close as a purse or back pocket. All of this has propelled a surge in the use of non-traditional, self-service channels, like Internet banking, mobile banking, interactive voice response, and online account opening and funding. Consumers want to handle their finances like they do everything else – from their cars, from their homes, and on their terms – wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.

All of these changes are transforming the way financial institutions market to and create relationships with consumers. Bankers must now act more like retailers, focused not on sales but on creating customer experiences. To succeed, they are moving from a single-dimensional to a multi-dimensional marketing strategy – virtually setting the MCIF free to impact every part of the institution and every channel of communication.

Let’s break down how this works.

The MCIF enables institutions to get a full picture of their customers or members and prospect base. By segmenting, then overlaying demographics and psychographics, you can identify who your customers are, what each needs, and how they prefer to do business with your institution. It’s important to choose a solution that also identifies the most profitable households – the ones you need to keep. These people don’t really need to be “sold” anything else, but are strong candidates for VIP programs or other focused retention efforts.

When you add in channel management, the transformation begins. This is the tool that makes your business intelligence actionable by integrating targeted messaging into every customer and member touchpoint. Then, it tracks response and repositions the message based on that response. In short, it enables you to transform siloed, generalized cross-sell efforts into a personalized marketing continuum that not only increases revenue, but builds loyalty and drives retention.

For example, Ms. Jones is a heavy Internet banking and mobile user who occasionally zips through your drive through. Using your MCIF, you learn that she falls in a segment that is likely to be interested in a home improvement loan. Instead of a generic banner ad, when she logs into Internet banking, her welcome screen displays a specific message about the home improvement loan, and the chance to click through for more information, apply online, or simply say “no thanks.”

Based on how she responds, the message will dynamically change at all the different channels. For example, if she clicked through to find out more information, but didn’t apply for the loan, the next time she goes through the drive-through, the teller will ask if she has any more questions about the home improvement loan. The next time she uses mobile banking or uses an ATM, the appropriate message will appear there as well, with the chance to take action. If she checked, “no thanks,” no employee or channel message will ask her about that product again. Instead, a new message, tailored to her needs, will appear.

All of a sudden, it’s not about sales, but rather improving the customer or member experience by offering the products they need, not everything in your portfolio. Like your technology, your marketing is integrated, and you have the opportunity to strengthen relationships – even with those customers and members who never set foot in a branch.

At any time, you have the ability to pull reports that track response through click through, identify which channel generated response and gain a big picture of household profitability and product lift.

But, what if your institution doesn’t have the resources to take your marketing analytics to this level, or get the most out of your MCIF investment? Then, consider outsourcing the process to your MCIF provider. Chances are, no one knows the ins and outs of your solution better.

In addition, some companies, like D+H, have MCIF expertise, but also have the capability to handle the creation, marketing and fulfillment of your messages throughout all of your channels. Real-time response reporting to show you who responded and in what channels is key, and enables you to ensure you use your marketing dollars where it makes the most sense. Then, marketing transforms from a one-off process into a true continuum.

If you have or are considering online account opening and other new channels, make sure you have a solution that displays the appropriate offers and captures the right information for these self-service users. Then, make it easy for them to grow their relationship with your institution.

Although yesterday’s approach to marketing and service will still attract new accounts, growing those accounts into long-term profitable customers and members takes something very different. By setting business intelligence free to impact all parts of your institution, you will see results.


Chris Braccia
Director, Product Management

Chris Braccia serves as director of product management at D+H. Prior to joining D+H, Chris was the marketing director for a Connecticut mutual savings bank for 13 years. He has also served as a research analyst and sales manager for a $1.5 billion mutual savings bank. During his banking experience, Chris was one of the first users of MCIF (Marketing Customer Information File) technology. He is a graduate of the National School of Banking at Fairfield University. He is a frequent speaker at many banking and credit union conferences.