I just flew back from the Lend360 show… and boy are my arms tired! Don’t worry, no more bad jokes – I’m here to talk about all the cool technology and data uses I saw for lenders of all types. Here are my high points:

Online lending is growing at a rapid rate as the need for quick access to funds grows nationwide, and finding the best prospects is more Important than ever. User experience is core to service offerings, as ease of use is expected for all online platforms. A quote that resonated with me at the show was that the Millennial Generation wants to get on the elevator and have results by the time they get off. Using technology and data modeling to get in front of the new generations exactly when they are thinking about the need for your product has become paramount.

Mail is still the workhorse, and core component, of successful data-driven marketing campaigns, and this conference shared a lot of great ideas of how to make mail work harder. Alongside mailings, marketers can time strategic targeted one-to-one emails that correspond with prospects mailed. Also, an emerging strategy is geographically saturated targeted EMAILS utilizing the “birds of a feather” mentality, that correspond with a mailing campaign in the same geo area.

Marketing is not a one trick pony; multichannel is a must, as lenders are using more targeted and relevant communications than ever. Emerging technologies like IP-zone targeting, SMS (text) messaging, targeted mobile display ads (targeted by device ID), and cross-matched social media ads all can coalesce together into a stronger multichannel campaign. Marketing campaigns are becoming ubiquitous, where awareness of your brand and offer can span across numerous channels in tandem, all working together towards a lower cost-per-acquisition.

The other side of the coin is that data science is becoming more advanced (and sometime scary) than ever. A high point of my colleague Sara’s experience was how companies can find unique buckets of new prospects by utilizing alternative data. This can range from utilizing psychographic and behavioral data in the modeling process, building customer profiles around their lifestyle choices, and scraping social media and email data to “qualify” potential applicants based on online behavior. This last part sort of freaked Sara out – where data use is walking a fine line with personal privacy and intrusion.

With the increasingly stringent CFPB regulations, some of the “alternative data” felt a bit risky, as I am a believer in customer intelligence based around profiling, modeling, and segmentation. Some of the approaches highlighted were ones I could relate to, like using niche codes to determine lifestyle choices (Do you give to charity? Are you into hiking?), and weigh those alongside socioeconomic variables and behavioral and demographic data. The mixing bowl of modeling approach has worked extremely well, in my experience.

Overall the show had a great buzz, great networking and idea exchanging. A lot of the information I heard, and talked to other marketers about at the show is in line with my colleague’s webinar in a couple weeks. Hope you can make it, and hope to see you at Lend360 next year.