It’s sometimes called Surveillance Capitalism. Social media networks and search engines track our online behaviour and occasionally it seems they know us better than we know ourselves.

The only other industry that knows us in similar detail is the banking industry. Search engines and social media networks monitor what we do online, while banks track our spending behaviour, online and offline.

This digital world is part of what people are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And it holds particular opportunities for the banking industry.

Search engines are good at meeting consumers at what Google calls the “zero moment of truth.” I might visit an online shop and look at a particular golf club, for example. Suddenly, the perfect addition to my golf bag pops up on my radar. The search engine is offering me something I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. That’s the zero moment of truth.

It manages to do this by tracking what I look at online, and comparing that to what other people are doing.

Banks have a unique historical opportunity to do something similar. We call it “Living Banking,” and you can read about it here.

Banks have the ability to create a “market of one,” or what my colleague Haydn Townsend calls Hyper Relevance. They have the ability, as well as the opportunity, to move much faster than they are currently doing.

This graphic sums it up nicely. By providing digital products to customers over digital channels, banks can start positioning themselves in that magical upper-right-hand quadrant.

Why digital channels? It’s much easier to track customers online than if they interact with a call centre or with branch staff. And as the Fourth Industrial Revolution develops, online is where it’s at.

In future blogs I will address some specific strategies banks can take to become more relevant, and I’ll explore the strategic landscape that banks must navigate in order to succeed.