Analytics of consumer payments data has transformed the ways credit card companies understand and engage their customers and prospects.

The ability to market one-to-one at scale is no longer just a competitive advantage; it’s quickly becoming a must. Distributing data across channels and departments with ease to market in a real-time and personalized manner will increase organizational efficiencies tremendously. More importantly, it will have a long-term positive impact on the relationship between your brand and your customers.

So how can they use payment data analytics to drive timely messaging based on the most immediate information available? I recently discussed that issue with executives from Facebook and U.S. Bank, and we came up with several key tips.

Personalized marketing is most effective because it engages the customer, according to Deepanjan De, Client Partner, Financial Services at Facebook. To be relevant, you must first understand your customer. This is where the importance of your data file comes into play. Cultivate the information that your customer has shared to best identify his or her interests and preferences.  For example, if you’re managing a card loyalty program and you notice your target customers annually visit Disney World, highlight travel to Orlando as a points redemption option.

Also look beyond the four walls of your organization and leverage additional data sources. According to James Duncan, senior vice president of Epsilon’s Financial Services Portfolio, third-party data can be used to create a complete 360 degree view of your customers to identify additional messaging and rewards opportunities.

There is a fine line between personalization and invasiveness. Balancing relevance and scaring your customer is vital, as is compliance with regulatory requirements and industry best practices. Deepanjan De of Facebook reminds us that without enabling privacy, you lose trust.

Focus on consumers. Will the campaign you’re about to deploy make them uncomfortable?  While comfort level varies among consumers, most consumers tend to be more open to personalized marketing communications if the value to them is clear and concise or if the offer is helpful to their lives. Bob Daly, senior vice president of FlexPerks Rewards & Loyalty Management at U.S. Bank, suggests marketers  apply the grandmother test. Always ask yourself how your grandmother would feel receiving your marketing communications.  

At the same time, it’s important to remember that customer expectations constantly change. While geo-tracking may have been off-putting to some in the past, it’s now widely embraced with the rise of social check-ins. The key for marketers is to continue to be helpful and relevant as these expectations evolve.

To market quickly and efficiently, consumer data needs to securely flow to and between all customer touchpoints—from your retail branch tellers to your call center representatives.

Jeff Reiser is vice president of industry strategy for financial services at Epsilon. Duncan, De, an Daly discussed payment data analytics at SourceMedia's 2014 Card Forum and Expo.