Case Study

Financial Services: tangerine


Founded as ING Direct in 1997, Tangerine is a direct bank that delivers “simplified, everyday banking” to Canadians. Boasting more than 1.9 million customers and close to $40 million in total assets, Tangerine offers a range of products and services, such as chequing and savings accounts, GICs, RSPs, TFSAs, mortgages and mutual funds. Although Tangerine is known for its lack of brick-and-mortar branches, its online presence has grown since being acquired by Scotiabank in 2012.


As Tangerine transitioned from a savings-only institution to an everyday bank, marketers understood the need to develop customer insights that would strengthen its growth strategy. Tangerine planned to increase its traditional service offerings—such as high-interest savings, chequing and investments—to include credit cards and other personal finance management tools, which required the bank to increase customer engagement while smoothing the transition. “As an everyday bank, client expectations increase tenfold,” said Nick Nelson, Tangerine’s Managing Director-Client Insights. “We wanted to make sure we anticipated our clients’ needs and exceeded their expectations.”.


To assist Tangerine in understanding its customers, Environics Analytics (EA) analysts turned to four data products: PRIZM, ENVISION, WealthScapes and SocialValues. Using EA’s PRIZM segmentation system, analysts classified Tangerine’s customers into lifestyle types and custom target groups that had the highest growth potential for direct banking services. They used WealthScapes to better understand Tangerine customers’ financial health and needs, and the SocialValues database to look deeper into customer attitudes and mindsets. Once all the data were collected, analysts used PRIZM to identify prospective markets by their potential for the bank to acquire and retaining customers. Similarly, they employed EA’s ENVISION business platform to assess Tangerine’s market penetration versus growth opportunity by target segments. Such information helped Tangerine identify the best markets for growth and the best sites for its occasional pop-up locations.


Tangerine’s new approach to customer engagement had an impact on its internal culture as well as product development and the customer experience. In 2014, marketers reported more than 75 per cent of new clients came from the targeted segments. Household penetration rates also rose by 10 per cent. And when Tangerine began offering chequing accounts, analysts could for the first time track customer spending habits—a capability that will expand with the bank’s plans to offer a credit card in 2016. “We were soon acquiring much more information about our clients than we previously had,” said Nelson, “and we were getting a more holistic view of the client.” But while results have come back positive, Tangerine understands that customer profiles are always evolving and the bank will need to continue analyzing their customers’ behaviours to better serve their needs. As Nelson describes the ongoing efforts to improve customer engagement, “In this competitive marketplace, we have to, and we will.”