Online personalization engages and empowers customers while reinforcing brand messaging.
There are many financial services providers that still talk to customers like the internet doesn’t exist. It’s understandable. It can be hard to let go of the past, when finance companies held all the cards and customers came to them seeking answers. The fact is, though, that the era of information gatekeeping ended with the first commercial web search engine back in 1990. Financial companies that embrace the latest digital trends can operate at a tremendous competitive advantage. Now is an ideal time to develop these advantages because the financial services industry is primed for massive changes.
Financial companies that embrace the latest digital trends can operate at a tremendous competitive advantage.
According to the Millennial Disruption Index, banking is ranked as the industry at the highest risk for disruption. Today, 71 percent of millennials would rather go to a dentist than listen to a message from a bank. Instead, consumers are looking for banking innovations to come from tech companies outside the industry, such as Google, Apple and Square. Those companies excel at online personalization and customer experience–two areas where financial services firms need the most help.
Online Personalization and Customer Experience
Online personalization is the process of producing content that matters to customers and prospects and delivering it at the right time. It engages and empowers customers while reinforcing brand messaging. This kind of customer-first strategy is no longer optional. Gartner reported that 89 percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016.
89 percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016.
The other side of the coin is that a firm without a customer-first marketing strategy will lose out to more responsive competitors with lower overhead. This new breed of financial service providers, many with no physical locations, are engaging customers with targeted messages and more creative financial offerings.
To retain their best customers, financial firms need to both listen more carefully on social media and respond more rapidly. At the same time, customers need reassurances that their private data is secure. Security has become more critical as consumers move more of their lives and private information online.
Mobile and Other Trends
The mobile revolution has also been an important driver of this need for personalization and better customer experience. The Federal Reserve’s 2015 Consumer and Mobile Financial Services Report revealed that 87 percent of U.S. adults use mobile phones and 39 percent prefer mobile banking on their phones. What’s more, 52 percent of mobile phone owners have used mobile banking in the past year. Of those who aren’t using mobile banking currently, 11 percent intend on trying it within the next 12 months
52 percent of mobile phone owners have used mobile banking in the past year
Mobile represents an open field where smart players can establish a first-mover advantage. One of the keys to making mobile strategies work is gaining a better understanding of the target audience, which marketing automation can bring. Along with cross-channel campaign management and web optimization software, marketing automation effectively boosts operational efficiency. These systems are designed to give marketing teams more time to work at the strategic level and shape brand messaging more carefully. They deliver greater brand reach and stronger customer impact without huge increases in headcount or department budgets.
The Perfect Online Filter
Delivering information remains at the heart of financial services, but delivery methods are now radically different. Financial services firms should welcome these changes, starting with more personalization and a better customer experience. These practices tend to move customer qualifying information earlier in the customer lifecycle. Firms are better able to filter audiences and attract the best customers well before the first interaction. In total, these digital trends are giving financial professionals more time to do a better job for all of their customers.