KYC and knowing your customer – not the same thing!

KYC and knowing your customer – not the same thing!

HomeBlogKYC and knowing your customer – not the same thing!

KYC and knowing your customer – not the same thing!

Every operational team, B2C marketer and compliance enforcer in pensions (other financial service products are available) will be all too familiar with the KYC checks that are carried out. If you work for a provider you’ll probably have to do annual regulatory training that reinforces your knowledge.

But when marketers talk about knowing your customers or audience… we really don’t mean name, address and date of birth – although that obviously helps get the message to the right person.


We don’t even mean gender, marital status, level of education or other demographic info. Why? Because that will not help you really understand your customers. And here’s a great, and very famous example of why:

  • White male
  • Born 1948
  • Self-employed
  • High net worth
  • Married and remarried

These characteristics apply to both Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne! I don’t think they’re motivated by the same things… do you? But by traditional segmentation they would be in the same group. That’s where demographics alone can let you down.

So…what do we mean when we say know your customer?

When marketers talk about knowing your customer – what we mean is:

1. Know their pain points

What is the problem you are solving for them? And how? Now, in pensions this is especially tricky as automatic enrolment means you’re not selling anything. So you have customers that never asked to be your customers…so you’re not solving a problem to make a sale.

You’re identifying pain points to make all touch points pain-free! Easier said than done, when awareness is low, systems are archaic, digitalisation is yet to be fully integrated and ops teams are stretched.

2. Know their triggers

What will make them buy? OK, that’s not the goal with either automatically enrolled or defined benefit pensions. So what is the goal? Nominated beneficiaries, activated online account, transferred pots, increased contributions… or just reading about your net zero commitments and understanding their pension can make a difference?

Whatever outcome you want… you need to get under your customers skin to understand the why! What is it that makes them take that action? Is it the risk of paying higher charges on multiple pots, making sure their pension will go to their children, or the thought of their pension being invested in coal, oil or ammunition?

It won’t be the same for everyone – but there will be a handful of motivators that trigger your members to take an action that meets your goals. Focus on getting to know these rather than how much they earn, what they like to do in their spare or what their highest level of education is.

3. Know their hesitations

There’ll also be reasons that they don’t take that action. Or start, but then stop. Find out about these too… and help your members with them. Offer reassurances, nudges and reminders. Give them bitesize pieces of information with one action. Most importantly acknowledge the hesitation, recognise concerns – and give answers to them. Be open, honest and human.

Embedding know your customer (KYC) across marketing and operations

Us marketer types are all about getting the right product (or service) to the right customer at the right time. Sounds just like pension administration – paying the right person, the right amount at the right time!

When the right information is collected and put into the right system pension administration should work seamlessly. The same is true for delivering exceptional marketing. When you understand your customers needs, pains and triggers you can apply a set of sound marketing principles and processes. Because, in case you’ve not heard me mention it before marketing isn’t just the nice words and pretty pictures.

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