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Customer-Driven Innovation Coming to a Bank Near You

And no one is losing their job because of it.

Since the rise of automation, the news has been dominated by headlines screaming how it will kill jobs, when in actuality it’s transforming roles and processes. As with most technological advances throughout history, it has increased productivity, freeing up resources to perform other roles.

Nowhere is this idea of new technology inspiring new jobs more evident than in the banking industry where research automation is allowing the customers’ voice to flourish.

BMO Harris Bank is a perfect case of automated market research driving a more strategic and engaged workforce while bringing the customer to the boardroom table. Headquartered in Chicago, the bank was feeling the pressure to integrate their communications and deliver stronger customer-focused marketing to thwart sophisticated fintech start-ups flooding the market. Hitting the right tone and messages with potential customers was—and is—critical. In need of a faster, more efficient and substantiated approach for managing its creative content, the bank engaged our platform to secure continuous customer feedback.

Matt Marcus, Manager of Marketing Research with BMO Harris Bank, says there is no disputing the fact that automation is changing jobs on his team. However, it’s for the better as they’ve been able to shift their roles to that of a strategic, insights-driven partner to the marketing team.

"Automating the marketing research was less of a threat for my team and more of an opportunity," he said. " We were able to fill a glaring research need in a way that matched our internal business partner workflows without increasing headcount or dramatically increasing workload. The market research team now has a seat at the table for creative planning because we’re able to focus on gleaning actionable insights from the research."

At RBC, one of Canada’s largest financial institutions, a senior marketing executive said two-hour debates over creative concepts have turned into two-minute discussions thanks to continuous consumer validation; evidence of the potential power of automated marketing research.

When RBC wanted to introduce new creative content within its branches, the bank’s marketing team wanted to ensure it was changed frequently to keep the messaging fresh and relevant.

The team began to develop bimonthly themes based on research they had previously conducted. However, they soon realized it was taking a long time to gain consensus due to the number of stakeholders they were working with – all of whom were bringing their own subjectivity to the creative evaluation.

Since automating their research, every creative test has allowed everyday consumers to choose the bank’s creative theming and each time there has been a clear winner, allowing the marketing team to remove the spin caused by subjective input from their process.

At BMO Harris, in addition to automating the process, the bank sought to customize the research platform. They wanted to ensure all research was targeting potential clients who fit the profile for the bank’s products and services. In other words, they wanted to be assured that they would always be asking the right people the right questions. Our team created a tool built on the bank’s segmentation profiles so that BMO Harris gets a quick return on people who fit the profile of their customer group.

The bank has since completed a number of waves of marketing research, and they now feel confident they have a platform to match the velocity of their creative output.

Most importantly, though, they can be assured that they’re putting out the right content, benefiting from the infusion of accurate customer-data driven insights to support all product development, marketing and customer experience decisions.

About the Author: Steve Mast is the President and Chief Innovation Officer of Delvinia, an innovative data collection firm. The company has recently enhanced its product portfolio with the launch of Methodify, an automated research platform that enables marketers to gain actionable consumer insights within 24 hours. Steve can be reached at

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