In recent years, it has become clear that a traditional, product focus is no longer the ideal formula for banks and other businesses in the financial services industry. Key stakeholders in these industries are beginning to realize that the customer’s experience is just as important as the institution’s offerings. It goes without saying that this is especially true in the digital age, where consumers are becoming increasingly distrustful of the finance industry’s ability to keep their accounts safe.
This has driven many CMOs and CFOs to shift away from a product-focused approach to marketing, and towards customer-centric marketing strategy. By harnessing the right technology and taking a customer-obsessed approach to marketing and operations, financial institutions gain a significant competitive advantage: the customer’s trust.
What is Financial Services Marketing?
Financial services marketing is the use of various strategies, processes, and tools designed to generate brand awareness or drive conversions for organizations in the banking and financial industry. Let’s take a closer look at five key marketing trends that have emerged in the financial services industry, and determine what kinds of marketing technology are necessary to differentiate yourself in this competitive marketplace:
1. Increasing Demand for Cross-Departmental Integration
Organizations in the financial services industry often lack complete visibility of their organization’s data due to the presence of data silos. This is caused by many factors, including an increased number of mergers and acquisitions, varying levels of data authority, and a fundamentally decentralized approach to collecting data. As such, it is very difficult for financial institutions to accurately analyze all of their data. However, precise, centralized data analysis is essential to creating seamless, data-driven marketing campaigns that create positive customer experiences.
CMOs must build cross-departmental bridges across the organization, and link every discipline of their marketing team together to unify information. With a centralized data analytics platform, each team can store important marketing data in a single location. This will link together data across every line of business, breaking down data silos and enabling advanced decision-making that will have an impact on the entire organization’s success.
2. Measuring Campaigns & Marketing ROI
Since digital marketing campaigns create an immense amount of performance-related data, CMOs and CFOs have grown to expect more accountability from marketing teams. So, marketers must link data from multiple campaigns and outline which marketing messages work – and which ones don’t. This often takes place by correlating sales data alongside campaign data using methods like unified marketing measurement.
There are several capabilities that marketers should look for in a marketing analytics platform to ensure their performance is being measured accurately:
- ROI Analysis & Reporting – By integrating your analytics platform with existing financial reporting systems, it’s possible to accurately determine your marketing ROI. This will help demonstrate the real value of your marketing investments to the finance team.
- Online & Offline Optimization – Marketers should optimize all of their media placements and messages, whether they’re placed online or offline. Many marketing analytics platforms can track the performance of digital campaigns, but be sure that your chosen platform can optimize offline media.
- Brand Tracking – By tracking key categories like brand awareness, purchase intent, and customer engagement, you can understand the trajectory of your brand’s image. The right marketing analytics platform has brand tracking built-in through always-on surveys, helping you maximize ROI in the long term.
- Brand & Behavior Linkage – The ideal marketing analytics platform can link brand investments to sales data, spelling out which branding tactics are working, and which are underperforming.
3. Answering Consumer Micro-Moments
Micro-moments occur when a consumer turns to their device to resolve an immediate need. For example, if a customer picks up their phone and searches the web with the intention of learning something, doing something, watching something, or buying something, they’re engaging in a micro-moment. With 96 percent of people reaching for their smartphones when they need knowledge on the spot, this is a significant segment of the population for marketers to tap into. They must anticipate these moments, and have content that’s created with the intention of addressing these micro-moments.
Stakeholders should search for a platform that can predict which messages people are most likely to search in these micro-moments, and allow you to tweak campaigns while they’re in flight. This will allow you to closely adhere to fluctuations in customer inquiries, so your team can tell them exactly what they need to know on any given day on a reasonable budget.
4. Creating Valuable Content for Customers
Content creation is becoming integral to marketing strategies, with 61 percent of financial service marketers reporting that content strategies help to generate traffic and build relationships with customers. However, marketers shouldn’t create a wide range of content based on their idea of what a consumer wants. Instead, they must back their content strategies with data.
Financial services organizations should focus on creating content that offers true value to customers. This can help to drive general awareness of your brand, and keep users moving down the pipeline. The right marketing performance tool can help you identify what type of content is resonating best with customers This is achieved by linking attitudinal survey data to person-level sales behavior data. By observing these correlations, marketers can hone in on exactly which types of content need to be built.
5. Leveraging Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning
Major players in the financial services industry are realizing the power of predictive analytics and machine learning. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) in particular is already commonly used for security, automated processes, and algorithmic trading – but ML is less commonly used in marketing. However, by leveraging predictive analytics and machine learning, marketers can intelligently deliver the right messages to customers at the right time.
Marketers should look for advanced analytics platforms that can accurately predict which messages will be the most successful. For example, tools that leverage intelligent learning frameworks such as Bayesian learning and forgetting enable marketers to make more data-driven decisions about shifts in the market. These tools can help you eliminate wasted ad spend and determine which opportunities are worth pursuing.
6. The Rise of Personalization
The financial services industry is an increasingly competitive market, and personalization offers a way for organizations to differentiate themselves and shift the focus to the customer as opposed to the product. With a more nuanced understanding of their target audience, marketers can create unique customer experiences that are catered to the wants and needs of each user. Teams should consider tools that can take both logical and emotional factors into consideration to determine what messages are or aren’t working, and why. This can help to facilitate personalized relationships and customer loyalty, as well as cut down on long-term costs around your team’s marketing efforts.
As banking and financial services institutions shift from a product-obsessed mindset to a customer-centric mindset, it’s important to ensure that they’re aware of the newest trends among their customer-centric contemporaries. To keep pace with the changes in the industry, marketing teams should look into acquiring the right marketing technology to support their newly crafted marketing initiatives.
With these tools, financial institutions can improve their customer’s experiences and gain their trust through perfect messaging. This will allow your organization to differentiate itself from a deluge of banks and financial institutions – creating a competitive advantage that will create positive results in the long-term.