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28 September, 2022

Legacy customer profiles have historically been created using broad umbrellas to segment and understand customer behavior. Geography, age and income are top-of-mind characteristics that facilitate the way banks and credit unions have historically analyzed and grouped their customers, and dictated the way they expect those individuals to behave.

For example, banks may expect high-income individuals to behave differently than lower earners, and anticipate young consumers to act in a different way with their mobile banking app than their older clientele.

While these types of profiles are useful, they’re often incomplete. In 2022 and beyond, financial institutions should challenge themselves to dig deeper in establishing customer segments based on behavior, rather than demographics. Consider the following data points when working to enrich your customer segments:

Total Assets

Rather than simply analyzing income, creating a more complete picture of your customers’ total financial assets and obligations can help you better interpret their behavior and predict how they will act in the future. For example, a high earner with substantial student loan debt will likely behave differently than their low-debt counterparts. While income is a key piece of their overall profile, assets like houses or vehicles, their various loans, their retirement savings and other types of savings can all combine to create a more holistic picture.

Spending Behavior

Past spending behavior can be an incredibly insightful and overlooked piece of data when trying to understand customer behavior. Learning about their spending patterns helps you understand their priorities and anticipate future behavior in the most direct way possible. This becomes especially important because spending behaviors sometimes don’t align with expected spending behaviors based on things like age and income.


Understanding financial gaps and vulnerabilities of your customers is an incredible way to enhance your relationship with them and serve as a guide to their financial lives. As a financial institution, you have the ability to interpret an individual’s financial situation in the context of thousands of others, enabling you to impose your informed perspective on their unique scenario and inform them of any areas where they may be at risk for over-extending themselves.

In this way, you can present products and services that address these gaps in an informed and timely fashion to better their lives and increase your footprint on their financial lives.

Laid Over Demographics

Finally, demographics are still valuable, and even more so when incorporated with other financial information such as assets, behavior and vulnerabilities. Taking these above factors and combining them with information about their income, family composition and the cost of living in their locality can all paint a holistic and deep picture that truly achieves an intimate customer portrait.