In the expanding retail banking sector of the 1990s, companies have to become increasingly customer-focused. Due to intense competition and the rapidity of change in the external environment, strategic planning in the industry has had to focus more directly on the customer, resulting in a 'bottom-up' approach to strategy formulation.Thus, marketing concepts are being depended upon increasingly for the provision of strategic insights. However, formalised, structured approaches to strategic planning are now largely moribund. Information to guide strategic development is crucial, and the development of scanning and analysis tools to track key market conditions is explored. The relevance of tools such as the balanced scorecard and the Business Excellence Model are evaluated for their role in bringing together information, and in recognising what underpins commercial success. The value of gathering internal customer-based, as well as external customer-based, information is assessed, concluding that this gives banks the opportunity to become truly customer focused in their strategy formulation.