While Financial Services CEOs and CIOs talk of the importance of digital transformation, many firms have been slower to harness the potential of digital marketing. Whether held back by the regulations governing their activities, or their legacy systems and data, companies understand the importance of digital communication but still find implementation a challenge.
This is a major theme for the Financial Services track at this year’s Enterprise World so I thought I’d write a blog to outline five key areas to consider when moving to digital marketing.
There is one figure that illustrates the gap between the financial services sector and industries when it comes to digital marketing: almost three quarters of retail and consumer goods companies report acquiring a customer through Facebook. This falls to under one third for banks and financial services companies.
Yet digital marketing has proved to be more effective in financial services than elsewhere. Financial services ranks highest in website conversion rates compared to other industries. Sales conversions in financial services are 58% higher on a mobile than a desktop device.
How do financial services firms get the most of their investment in digital marketing? Here are five brief pointers.
Map content to the customer journey
It might come as a surprise to know that research shows that financial services leads the way in content marketing. Research shows that 75% of financial services marketers have separate content strategies in place for each marketing channel, more than any other industry sector. Sadly, few marketers believe their content marketing strategies are as effective they could be though.
The idea of providing useful and relevant content to people as they pass along their customer journey is an easy one but it is very challenging to implement. What channels are they using? What level of detail do they want? What are their personal preferences? What did they do when they consumed a piece of content and how should you respond?
Content marketing is more than creating great content and distributing it properly. It is about being able to use the information you have available to discern the habits of individuals and being able to quickly – sometimes automatically – create communications based on their preferences and real-world behaviors.
A customer communications solution like OpenText™ Exstream moves beyond simple Marketing Automation or Content Marketing solutions to enable you to draw from multiple sources to gain a better picture of the customer and customize communication effectively.
Get personalized content right every time
Customized communications begins with appropriate personalization. Most financial services firms are well aware of the importance of personalization but 60% of marketers admit they struggle to personalize content in real-time.
Financial services marketers are faced with two challenges: they need to access data from a wide range of sources – both internally and externally – to gain the single view of a customer needed to effectively personalize communication. Secondly they need to ensure that they are using the personal data on customers and prospects in ways that comply with industry regulations.
This is why a customer communications solution like Exstream is so important. It can dynamically access data and content from multiple sources – both structured and unstructured data – and deliver fully personalized one-to-one communication to virtually any print or electronic channel.
Deliver the omni-channel customer experience
The Aberdeen Group has found that companies with strong omni-channel capabilities retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to just 33% of companies that are weak in this area. We have moved way beyond the need to be ‘mobile-ready’ or deliver impressive mobile apps – although these are important. This is all about allowing an end-to-end transaction or engagement with customers to happen smoothly on a range of devices.
A customer may want to research on their desktop, talk to an agent in the call center and set up their account administration on their mobile. Each time they interact with your brand, the experience should be seamless with the information available so that your customer can complete their transaction at the earliest point possible.
For this reason you always need to think of omni-channel not as multiple channels but as channel independence. The service has to be delivered as an end-to-end service that the customer can access at any stage – using any device they want – and receive the exact same experience. OpenText Exstream takes this one step further. For on-demand, real-time and structured communications, if the primary delivery channel is unavailable for any reason, the solution sends the communication through secondary channels to minimize service disruption and increase customer satisfaction.
Remember marketing doesn’t just happen in the marketing department
It has been a long time since marketing could be considered a simple exercise in outbound communication that ends the moment the lead passes to sales. We talk about the customer journey and that encompasses pre-sales, sales, support and the development of customers as advocates. Marketers today work in collaboration with other departments – every piece of correspondence is the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. This means knowing the customer as an end-to-end persona across the organization.
Your marketing systems require seamless access to other enterprise systems to achieve this objective. They will need to draw data from ERP, CRM, billing and accounts systems and many others to ensure that the messages being to delivered to individuals are targeted, personalized and delivered at just the right time. A customer communications solution like OpenText Exstream will have a comprehensive range of connectors to seamlessly integrate into your enterprise environment to make enterprise data available to marketing for analysis and campaign development.
Put governance and compliance front and center
The myriad of new social and digital channels offer as great a risk as opportunity for an industry as heavily regulated as the financial services sector. To reap the benefits of digital media means ensuring that personal data and content is protected and used properly in all instances. This requires a customer communications platform that has information governance built-in.
With OpenText Exstream, financial services firms can centralize content control and ensure effective governance is placed upon it. There is opportunity here. By taking such a structured approach about how you work with and control content, you can more effectively and cost-efficiently manage the flow of information across a large array of customer engagement points.
Digital marketing is a major part of the digital transformation programs now underway at most financial services companies. It offers the potential to cost-effectively reach your customers with messages and content that you know will resonate.
During Enterprise World, we’ll be looking at best practices in digital marketing for financial services companies and be hearing from some of the world’s leading financial brands about what they have achieved. It would be great to meet with you there.